The term “headless eCommerce” is gaining widespread in the online retail sector. Having said that, there is a lot of confusion around this term.
In fact, a headless eCommerce platform is a perfect answer for online store businesses to keep up with the newest developing technology and connect with their ever-evolving touchpoints.
A growing number of online businesses are using headless eCommerce systems as a crucial component in order to take advantage of this new trend.
In light of this, this piece will define “headless eCommerce platform”, explain their benefits, and list the best headless eCommerce platforms that can give your company long-term scalability and flexibility.
- What is a headless eCommerce platform?
- Why small businesses choose headless eCommerce platforms
- Here are the top 15 headless eCommerce platforms in 2022
- FAQs about headless eCommerce
- Wrapping Up
What is a headless eCommerce platform?
What is headless eCommerce? What does headless eCommerce mean? Some newbies will be strange to this term. Then, let us explain it to you. Headless eCommerce, as the name suggests, is simply “eCommerce that runs without a head” by separating the storefront layer (or the “head”) from the eCommerce platform itself.
In such cases, the headless eCommerce frontend layers are separated from the eCommerce functionality on the backend.
The headless eCommerce platform provides you with an unparalleled amount of flexibility to build a unique and customized customer experience on the front end by allowing two independent layers to operate independently and interact through APIs. All of the eCommerce backend functionality is still active and functioning in the meantime.
This lets the developers, including those from an IoT development company, create content—such as goods, blog entries, user reviews, pricing, etc.
Briefly mentioned, headless eCommerce stores are designed for the Internet of Things (IoT) era in which the API can create content for the store in accordance with the needs of the target device notwithstanding the front end.
As a result, it helps store owners to design more adaptable eCommerce businesses and connect with clients via numerous touchpoints. Store owners are able to create platforms-focused stores thanks to it.
For example, a headless eCommerce platform can function smoothly on a variety of devices, including mobile phones, tablets, kiosk screens, and almost everything else. To take advantage of the best of both worlds, you can also integrate any frontend system and third-party extensions of your choosing with its commerce backend, such as CMS, CRM, ERP, ORM, and so on.
Why small businesses choose headless eCommerce platforms
Now that you are well-versed in the definition of a headless commerce platform, it is time to go into some of its outstanding features. What are the features of headless commerce that distinguish it from traditional commerce?
Your choice may not always be easy as there are so many headless commerce systems available. It would be simple to fall for the marketing gimmick surrounding these eCommerce systems, invest in one, and then realize that it falls short of your expectations.
So, before you take cash out of your wallet, ensure to take into account all features of the headless eCommerce platform you choose.
A headless eCommerce API-first approach prioritizes the creation of the Application Programming Interface (API) before implementation.
This differs from the conventional strategy that is focused on code. With the code-first approach, every change necessitates a significant amount of rewriting, lengthy delays, and infinite labor for your development team. The expenses soon mount up.
The team uses an API-first approach, where they first build the application interface and then use it to build the remainder of the program. The remainder of the application can be put together with any future apps by adding additional features as a separate service accessed through API.
An API-first approach in a cloud-based infrastructure can assist you in managing the complexity of cloud computing. Exploring the advantages of ERP systems reveals their potential to streamline business processes and enhance operational efficiency, a key aspect for modern enterprises seeking technological advancement. Especially as more businesses adopt mobile app for business solutions, an API-first strategy built on cloud infrastructure provides flexibility to integrate mobile functionality.
You have limitless customization options to develop your online store since a headless eCommerce platform separates the front and backend into 2 different layers.
You can choose an eCommerce platform that efficiently handles all business-related functions while integrating your preferred front-end solution, such as a CMS, CRM, or bespoke solution.
It is simple for you to fully design your business site thanks to the ability to mix the finest frontend and backend layer solutions, which is difficult to achieve with a conventional eCommerce platform.
Because headless commerce enables you to provide a smooth buying experience regardless of how clients contact your organization, omnichannel and headless commerce go along perfectly.
This gives business owners the chance to connect with online customers at different points in the purchasing process.
A headless eCommerce platform can help you build an online store that offers an exceptional shopping experience across a larger range of devices, whether your customers are looking at your goods on their mobile phone or comparing it to another product on their desktop.
Can you quickly link your headless commerce platform to other systems you use every day? It should be able to link to your customer relationship management (CRM) and product information management (PIM) tools, in which all of your customer and product data is kept, at the very least.
Greater Customer Experience
How does headless commerce impact your customers? Platforms for headless eCommerce are quite flexible and may be tailored to specific needs. The demands of the customers are always changing, and so is the eCommerce industry. The top Headless eCommerce solutions can build customer-focused stores that improve the shopping experience and can be modified over time.
The headless API-based eCommerce allows for the creation of seamless storefronts and may be customized to meet the needs of the end user. They enable the creation of smart storefronts, which can increase client loyalty to your business.
Here are the top 15 headless eCommerce platforms in 2022
The Adobe product line includes Adobe Commerce, formerly known as Magento.
On the list of the most popular eCommerce websites worldwide, Magento is now rated third. It is one of the greatest open-source eCommerce systems. The robust built-in capabilities, excellent customizability, and multi-channel commerce experiences offered by this platform are frequently lauded.
The analytics capabilities of Magento are also renowned for their improved data visualization. Insights into lifetime value, retention rates, and average order value over a selected period can be found in your data, which is readily exported directly to an inbox.
Last but not least, with the REST and SOAP web API frameworks, Magento supports custom integrations. You can build connectors for accounting, marketing, ERP, PIM, CRM, CMS, and inventory management, to mention a few.
The headless connects with other Adobe technologies and third-party frontends to create integrated, rich, and universally accessible commerce ventures.
- Prices begin at $22,000 per year depending on the company’s revenue.
- You can access the service’s essential features using Magento’s simple user interface, which includes a sidebar menu and a central dashboard.
- Complete freedom to create any unique front-end experience with any technology.
- Create progressive web applications using the readily available PWA Studio.
- Build and maintain a Magento headless site, both of which require in-depth technical expertise.
- Pricey and slow to market.
2. Shopify Plus
The world’s most innovative brands choose Shopify Plus as one of the top headless eCommerce platforms for their businesses.
This enables you to deploy to any channel and turn each device into a platform for your brand by separating your front-end design from your back-end infrastructure.
To give a seamless consumer experience across all touchpoints, the headless commerce capability offers complete creative flexibility. A web app that behaves like a native mobile app can also aid in speeding up the performance of your website.
In addition, you can integrate all of the business platforms you use, including design frameworks, ERP, PIM, CRM, and CRM.
Plus, the SaaS for Shopify Plus is renowned for its dependability. A simplified content management system is included with a user-friendly interface.
When it comes to Shopify Plus, it’s a full, affordable solution for large and medium-sized businesses that have cutting-edge commerce features and countless built-in eCommerce automation tools and possibilities.
- Shopify provides a free trial, and standard subscriptions start at $29 per month. The Shopify Plus SaaS enterprise-level service costs $2,000 per month.
- Shopify Plus’s backend is driven by fast performance, automated business operations, omnichannel selling, scalability, and other features.
- Integrate with the current content management system to rapidly change and publish storefront content.
- Lack of support for multiple stores: You cannot manage several brands from the same account.
- Limitations as compared to other open source platforms in terms of backend setup.
- Unable to manage the checkout.
In the competitiveness of eCommerce systems, BigCommerce is another well-known name.
BigCommerce offers enterprise-level capability, excellent speed, and a striking app-based architecture. Both B2B and B2C industries make use of it. Businesses can expand at the rate they want thanks to the system’s ability to scale them.
It comes with adaptable APIs and a multi-storefront option, which enables businesses to expand into new markets or introduce new brands.
With a variety of ready-to-use headless solutions including CMS, front-end frameworks, and digital experience platforms, BigCommerce helps you start quickly and customize with ease without requiring extensive coding.
The ability to avoid starting from scratch is a key component of how BigCommerce headless is designed for developers and business owners.
Overall, with maximum customizability and versatility, this headless eCommerce platform is perfect for fusing content and commerce.
- Available upon request.
- Advanced API structure to provide bespoke solutions for demanding front-end needs.
- Incredibly quick web performance. Speed to market due to server-side rendering and static site generation.
- 600 SKUs or more per product.
- The checkout continued to use the BigCommerce domain, which might lead to authentication and security problems.
- Require the collaboration of designers and developers to build the site initially.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC), as its name implies, is one of the best headless eCommerce platforms appropriate for mid to enterprise-level business owners.
The greatest flexibility and customizable shop design throughout the storefronts are guaranteed by its cutting-edge, highly adjustable, and reliable APIs.
With the aid of Commerce Cloud, you have access to a flexible platform with improved security that can expand and salesforce your business. You can interface with several markets and augmented reality platforms thanks to the partner app ecosystem that is also available.
Moreover, you can connect your shop and CRM in an effortless manner because they were both developed by CRM companies. By consolidating your data, you can use this to optimize customer interactions. Revenue growth across all channels may follow from this.
- $4 per order. Depending on your company model—B2B, B2C, or B2B2C—the cost will change.
- With the help of toolkits and templates for commerce developers, storefronts may be easily customized.
- Web application firewall, security monitoring, and headless content delivery network all bundled.
- Handle millions of SKUs and hundreds of shops from a single backend.
- Salesforce Commerce Cloud is not a good option for SMEs because of its expensive pricing and technology’s focus on enterprise-level firms.
B2B companies frequently use the free headless commerce platform OroCommerce. You can trust that it is being developed by top-notch minds since it was really founded by the same executive team that developed Magento.
It is perfect for medium-sized to large-scale online enterprises that prioritize top performance and customer experience.
Plus, it is constructed using PHP and Symphony, which enables the development of strong and highly adaptable eCommerce stores with strong APIs that can be displayed flawlessly over a variety of devices and customer touchpoints.
With OroCommerce, you can develop the specific shop you want by selecting between a headless commerce platform and a traditional eCommerce platform.
- Available upon request
- Manage several stores from a single interface.
- EDI, PIM, ERP, and other third-party programs can all be integrated to improve business operations.
- A 360-degree perspective of the business and the customers is provided by the integrated multi-channel customer relationship management system.
- An active group of almost 20,000 registered developers.
- Since the platform configuration necessitates challenging programming activities, coding expertise is required.
- Only a few add-on extensions are available. The built-in features of OroCommerce account for the majority of its operations.
With the help of the headless commerce platform Nacelle, you will be able to build a headless architecture with your current tech stack. This means that for it to function, no migration is necessary.
In order to accomplish this, it gathers information from your system and joins it with your content and storage in a way that is ideal for headless development.
Other platforms like SalesForce, NetSuite, Magento, and Shopify can provide data for it. Additionally, this applies to various CMS, PIM, and OMS systems. Data from platforms that have been specifically designed can also be collected.
With Sanity and Contentful, Nacelle provides pre-built connectors. Although these are built-in integrations, you are not limited to them. Any CMS of the developer’s choosing may be integrated with Nacelle.
- Available upon request. They also offer a free demo
- Nacelle fits into an existing tech stack and provides a high degree of usability.
- You might require the assistance of the development team if you are a little less technical because the product is still very new and has only been around for a few years.
This list of the top headless eCommerce platforms also includes SpreeCommerce, another well-known open-source platform that excels at providing B2B commerce solutions. The most customizable and flexible headless technique available supports the development of dynamic shops by multi-currency and multi-language international businesses.
Being a headless eCommerce platform open source, SpreeCommerce calls for developers to have strong coding skills and technical proficiency in order to grow and customize this platform to its utmost potential.
If you want to manage your business without having to perform complicated development tasks, Spree offers Spree as a Service, which combines all open-source functions and SaaS advantages.
- Spree Open-Source: Anyone can download and use Spree’s free source code, which is available on GitHub.
- Spree as a Service: Available upon request
- A headless eCommerce platform that is totally free for developers with excellent coding abilities.
- Support for a variety of payment providers, including Stripe and Authorize.
- Seamless interfaces with third-party applications and headless shops.
- Poor documentation for more recent issues and regulations.
- Need the development of excellent technical abilities.
- When using its open-source, there is no support.
A top-tier e-commerce platform developed utilizing MACH principles is called CommerceTools.
The MACH architecture, a best-of-breed strategy, and composable commerce are all ways that Commercetools attempts to set itself apart from older suites.
In addition, CommerceTools provides pre-built tools for developing online stores so that users may scale up or customize their infrastructure. Further, you can link CommerceTools’ backend to any frontend and third-party app using the API-first strategy to achieve unparalleled levels of flexibility.
- Available upon request
- Ready-made building pieces for commerce that you may use to design your own backend system.
- Utilize a user-friendly corporate interface to manage all sales channels.
- Exceptionally adaptable and scalable e-commerce systems.
- 60-day free trials. Credit cards are not needed.
- Lack of some enterprise-level capabilities including full-level security, synchronization, and promotion of configuration across environments.
- A small group of developers. Finding assistance or solutions to some problems might be challenging.
9. Elastic Path
Elastic Path is a leading headless eCommerce platform open source for enterprise-size businesses.
It helps businesses to roll out and deploy digital commerce solutions across several touchpoints and marketplaces. Elastic Path facilitates omnichannel commerce, which enables the seamless integration of the customer experience across all touchpoints.
The platform can also link to additional tools in the commerce tech stack, including as ERP systems, search and merchandising tools, and others, using APIs.
- Available upon request.
- Adapted to omnichannel interactions.
- Integrate easily with the current front-end systems, including POS, CRM, and ERP.
- Flexible deployment choices that are independent of the cloud: install through private cloud or on-premises.
- Customizing certain business rules takes time.
- For newcomers to get started, the documentation and guidelines are not sufficiently thorough.
Spryker is one of the most popular open-source eCommerce platforms that aims to offer top-notch business solutions for mid-sized and large companies.
More than 900 API modules are used, and it touts itself as a platform-as-a-service solution. Enterprise-level businesses are starting to use this cloud-enabled service in growing numbers. Without stressing about technological restrictions, you may utilize them to grow your business.
Large corporations like Toyota, Prym, and Lekkerland rely on it because they know it can be trusted. Spryker’s online shops may be created entirely from scratch. To assist you with this from start to finish, it even offers professional advice.
Additionally, the Spryker GLUE API is used to power their headless commerce platform. You have the choice to merge cutting-edge technology and substantial older platforms.
- Available upon request.
- Flexible headless architecture with ready API for bespoke solutions and front-end connectors.
- Fast deployment: It is still possible for large and complicated corporate sites to go online quickly.
- Specialized technology to improve organizational effectiveness.
- The boot camp for developers and the documentation are both quite outdated.
The headless commerce platform Swell is situated in the US and focuses on creating distinctive consumer experiences.
Swell was founded with the primary objective of developing a user-friendly headless commerce solution.
Swell uses cutting-edge development tools to ensure organizations are future-proof by prioritizing APIs in back-end management.
This platform is available to small and medium-sized firms and could also be a great choice for massive industrial organizations.
- Community: Free + 2% of sales.
- Standard: $299 per month.
- Enterprise: Start from $2,000 per month depending on the annual order volume,
- Admins and users can both utilize the intuitive dashboard.
- Ready-made themes for attractive headless stores.
- Time to market is short. Scale with ease with the global CDN and autoscaling servers of Swell.
- Lack of instructions and documentation on how to resolve difficult issues.
- Don’t support many locations because Swell was designed primarily for small and mid-sized businesses.
12. Commerce Layer
Commerce Layer is a headless commerce platform from Italia.
You can quickly include it in websites, chatbots, mobile application development, and IoT devices to offer services for international commerce. The headless eCommerce solutions provided by this business are easy to use even for beginners.
Furthermore, it is simple to integrate this architecture into your shop because Commerce Layer is made to be headless right out of the box. In order to do this, it uses omnichannel experiences, personalized interfaces, a centralized market center, and a user-friendly API microservices architecture.
- Limited free plan
- Growth plan: $649 per month
- Utilize over 300 API endpoints and has a 99.99% uptime guarantee.
- The user interface for Commerce Layer is straightforward and user-friendly.
- Support can be only contacted through email.
13. Acro Media
Acro Media is a company that develops eCommerce platforms and employs Drupal technology to plan, create, and distribute eCommerce goods. It assists in the formation of agile partnership collaborations.
The team can assist you in developing headless eCommerce systems with over 10 years of expertise in open-source eCommerce that simplify workflows, interface with third-party providers, and enhance the customer experience.
In addition to an API and experience-led architecture, the agency employs more than 50 full-time, dedicated Drupal developers.
- Pricing is determined by your specific needs.
- Model takes into account the greatest adaptability and the potential to reach the market more quickly.
- Upgrades will take place once requests change.
- A few things need to be improved, such as client venture planning, analyzing your competitor’s plan, availability, and a flexible plan
Saleor is an open-source eCommerce platform with a focus on GraphQL that was created with developers in mind.
With the goal of creating a fully omnichannel experience for online retailers, Saleor uses headless technology to give a carefully developed, adaptable, and all-inclusive commerce solution.
Saleor is built for the transition and is powered by a GraphQL server on top of a Django 2 and Python 3 framework. It uses an open-source platform that is easier to extend and adapt to individual business needs to automate activities like shipping, ordering, and payment.
Besides that, there is a tonne of potential for invention and experimentation since you can develop and test new concepts safely in their sandboxes.
- Saleor Open-source: You can download this version and utilize it for free.
- Saleor Cloud: The pricing is based on your monthly orders.
- GraphQL API enables management of several stores, applications, and devices from a single back-end.
- Support multiple warehouses, multiple channels, multiple currencies, multiple languages, and multiple accounts.
- No maintenance: The infrastructure is scaled, updated, and secured by Saleor.
- Strong coding skills are needed because this platform is designed with developers in mind.
- lack of extensions that are ready to use.
It is completely customizable and developer-focused. Moreover, it is open source and free, and many eCommerce business owners are utilizing it.
Besides, it offers a simple method for integrating the online store with the desired framework or CMS for web developers and website designers. Deploying the online shop across devices can be done much more quickly as a result. Additionally, it makes hassle-free content distribution between the touchpoints possible.
Strapi is, after all, a top option for store owners searching for the best open-source headless eCommerce platform.
- Bronze plan: $9 per month
- Silver plan: $29 per month
- Gold plan: Available upon request
- Strapi has a simple database configuration and offers a wide range of options.
- Strapi is really flexible and will save you a tonne of time.
- Setting it up is complex, and some users may find it challenging to convert from a headless CMS to a traditional CMS.
FAQs about headless eCommerce
1. Is headless commerce fit for all eCommerce stores?
No. Not all eCommerce stores are a good fit for the headless concept.
It might not be worthwhile to invest in a headless commerce platform if your company is doing successfully with traditional architecture. However, if you want to offer a more customized and distinctive customer experience while also allowing for more flexible growth, it can be ideal for your company.
2. How does headless commerce impact your customers?
Will headless commerce, your customers can:
- Receive personalized content
- Load the website faster
- Get omnichannel experience
3. How do you get started with headless commerce?
- Find a trustworthy SaaS vendor that offers an appropriate headless solution.
- Make your APIs and the headless CMS you’ve chosen sync.
- On top of your present platform, integrate pieces at a time.
- Give your customers satisfying shopping experiences.
4. How many are there types of headless architecture?
A headless architecture generally consists of three layers: channel head (frontend), service API, and headless services (backend).
5. Is Headless CMS good for eCommerce?
Yes. A headless CMS is the best choice for eCommerce businesses that wish to be future-proof because it supports new developing technologies. Additionally, it provides teams with the resources they need to quickly adapt marketing campaigns for certain events and easily design and deliver customer experiences.
6. Is headless good for SEO?
Yes. Based on performance, content, and optimization for various devices, a Headless CMS may offer a greater level of SEO readiness.
The headless eCommerce platforms we’ve discussed today provide great value, eCommerce features, and optimization potential that can support you in creating the best eCommerce digital experience.
No matter what your business model is, there’s a headless commerce solution that will fit your business demands.