5 Best Headless eCommerce Platforms in 2023
10 minute(s) read
Published on: Sep 22, 2023
Updated on: Sep 22, 2023
Add them to the cart, and check out. That’s where you need a content management system (CMS) for managing the store. With all the numerous options out there, it’s easy to get lost.
One thing to keep in mind is whether the system is future-oriented. For instance, among the new concepts emerging in the arena, there is one that stands out from the rest. It’s headless commerce. This term denotes the architectural organization of website components. It challenges a traditional coupled approach and offers an innovative way of front-end and back-end communication.
Why do more and more merchants consider purchasing a headless eCommerce platform now? What vendor should you opt for? In this article, we’ll introduce you to a headless commerce definition and provide an overview of the most popular solutions. Whether you’re just starting or moving from your current platform, get your questions answered in the sections below.
Understanding Headless Commerce: Definition and Significance in the 2020s
Headless commerce denotes separating the front-end from the back-end and introducing APIs for exchanging information between these components. The user-facing side gets decoupled from the business operations side, revamping the shopping and development experience.
Why has it gained such traction? This separation provides remarkable flexibility. Need to roll out a flashy new user interface? Or perhaps adapt to a new sales channel, like smartwatches or IoT devices? You can do it without getting tangled in the complexities of your store’s underlying mechanisms. Among other benefits are as follows:
- Coders can more easily and quickly integrate new technologies, features, and capabilities into the website.
- The changes on the front-end don’t disturb the work of the back-end and vice versa.
- You can craft bespoke user experiences that stand out and resonate with your brand ethos.
Headless commerce platforms ensure such organization. With their help, you don’t have to create a modern website from scratch but can utilize integrated toolkits to roll out the store.
Why Choose a Headless eCommerce Platform?
1. The API-First Approach
According to this principle, developers begin by creating application programming interfaces (APIs) instead of starting with the code. It paves the way for scalability as they don’t have to rewrite the code all the time. They develop an API before moving on to construct the rest of the program. If you further decide to add new features, user interfaces, or apps, you don’t have to begin from the ground up. You can build the rest of the application around the existing infrastructure.
One of the drawbacks of monolithic websites is how tiresome it may be to introduce even minor changes to them. Let’s assume you want a new button color. You can’t just tweak it on the front-end. You may also need to rework the back-end to ensure the store doesn’t crash. With headless websites, you get the freedom of customization thanks to separating the front-end from the back-end. So alterations on one of them won’t affect the other one.
3. Engaging Omnichannel Experiences
As purchase journeys become increasingly fragmented, the need for omnichannel marketing cannot be overstated. One customer may ask for information about your company from a voice speaker, browse goods on wearables, and complete the order on a smartphone. And all of these touchpoints call for an impeccable shopping experience. A headless eCommerce system acknowledges the needs of different venues and allows you to design consistent online storefronts wherever you want.
Thanks to the reliance on APIs, the headless commerce platform can easily integrate with other services and third-party applications, including:
- customer relationship management (CRM);
- product information management (PIM);
- content management system, and other tools.
But think bigger: you may want to introduce even more solutions in the future, like the following:
- AI-enabled software;
- a new payment gateway;
- a groundbreaking AR feature.
While traditional platforms may support integrations with tried-and-tested tools, headless ones can accommodate cutting-edge capabilities without hiccups, ensuring your store always stays ahead of the curve.
5. Elevating Customer Experience
Customers are the heart of your business. Headless commerce platforms aim at user-centric designs. They can support your ideas like predictive shopping baskets or interactive product demos. And by creating tailored experiences, you improve the store’s usability, boost user satisfaction, and, thus, increase sales.
Top 5 Headless-eCommerce Platforms in 2023
Let’s begin with Shopify, one of the giants among the eCommerce CMS providers. It’s been in the market since 2006, ffering a software-as-a-service CMS for stores of various sizes, making it an excellent choice for those looking to
buy a shopify store. It’s a popular choice of emerging online stores due to its SaaS model. Please send me the PayPal invoice with the same details as previously.
Because merchants can access the needed tools without much coding, thinking of hosting, or customizing. You install it, and it just works. Shopify also provides editions for mid- and large-sized companies, packed with more features and capabilities.
If you want to access its headless architecture, you need to purchase Shopify Plus. It comes with GraphQL API and offers benefits such as:
- a user-friendly dashboard with a logical structure that is comprehensible for non-technical users;
- connectivity with a vast array of third-party tools like Google Sheets for inventory management, Slack for team communication, and Mailchimp for marketing efforts;
- robust support from community forums, a help center, and the vendor through phone calls and live chat;
- total creative control across all touchpoints;
- App Store with an impressive number of add-ons.
Limitations to Consider
- No multi-store management under one account.
- Due to its SaaS nature, access to the code is restricted, limiting back-end customizability.
- A standardized checkout process.
- The requirement to pay for the tool every month, with transaction fees when working with payment providers other than Shopify Payments.
The Shopify Plus plan starts at $2,000 per month.
2. Magento (Adobe Commerce)
If we had to describe Magento with one word, the best option would be “adaptability”. Magento, now belonging to Adobe, is presented in three editions:
- free (Magento Open Source);
- paid (Adobe Commerce);
- hosted on the cloud (Adobe Commerce Cloud).
What unites them all is the common engine. So whether you pick an open-source version or a cloud one, you can count on Magento’s flexibility, compatibility with other tools, and robust analytics. However, the CMS is traditionally on the list of the most challenging solutions to set up. So you won’t do much without the help of experienced developers or agencies like Onilab. Keep it in mind while you’re planning your budget. Headless Magento leverages REST and SOAP web API frameworks, enabling the following capabilities: - simple and functional centralized dashboard and sidebar menu;
- custom integrations across an array of third-party tools, from CRM, PIM, and ERP to CMS, inventory management, and accounting platforms;
- while there is no support for the free edition, you can get it from the broad community of Magento-certified developers;
- vendor support when buying the premium version;
- endless scalability opportunities, allowing you to build an eCommerce empire;B2B and B2C features.
Limitations to Consider
- The need for advanced experience and development proficiency.
- The initial setup and launch can be time-consuming and pricier compared to other competitors.
Free. Premium edition pricing is available upon request and depends on the company’s Gross Sales Revenue (GSR). The minimum price is around $22,000 per year.
BigCommerce is another SaaS CMS on the list. It’s praised for its simplicity and customizability, serving stores of various sizes to tailor their content to multiple needs. BigCommerce also offers out-of-the-box back-end solutions for building headless websites. Employing the API-driven approach enables large companies to connect several touchpoints and unleash the full potential of modern architecture.
According to the company’s website, the BigCommerce eCommerce platform is based on a powerful engine for completing tasks, such as:
- launching new products;
- adding new features;
- optimizing websites in real time.
By choosing BigCommerce, you access the following advantages:
- integrating the B2B and B2C sectors;
- compatibility with WordPress, eBay, Google, Stripe, and Adobe Experience Manager;
- sleek and streamlined user interface;
- 24/7 support system.
Limitations to Consider
- Customers may be redirected to a BigCommerce domain at checkout, leading to trust, security, integration, and other issues.
- Initial setting up and troubleshooting require designers and developers to collaborate closely.
BigCommerce is reasonably priced, with plans starting from $29 per month.
Another headless commerce platform to consider is Commercetools. It relies on MACH principles (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless) and over 300 API endpoints. It’s an omnichannel platform with a strong focus on scalability.
Thanks to the microservice architecture, the CMS is very agile, breaking traditionally glued website elements into manageable components. As a result, you can play with them and add and remove the needed solutions without affecting the whole system.
Do you need a more flexible search function? The world is your oyster. Replace the out-of-the-box functionality with the custom-made one.
Commercetools works equally well for B2B and B2C companies, coming with tools for inventory tracking, returns management, and multi-store administration.
Limitations to Consider
- Users are required to have technical expertise to utilize the platform to the fullest extent.
- Not many possibilities for customer service.
You need to contact the sales team to get the pricing information.
5. Salesforce Commerce Cloud
Salesforce Commerce Cloud, formerly known as Demandware for the B2C sector and CloudCraze in B2B, is another well-liked eCommerce system. It provides RESTful API for building storefronts and developing headless eCommerce applications.
As part of the Salesforce ecosystem, Commerce Cloud accesses the company’s innovations and infrastructure. It was created with the intention of fusing customer relationship management with commerce. So, online merchants can not only build websites but tap into CRM data to personalize communications. Other capabilities include:
- artificial intelligence;
- augmented reality systems;
- access to various marketplaces;
- varied support options.
Limitations to Consider
Small to medium enterprises might find the pricing a bit steep and the features overwhelming.
The pricing information is available upon request.
Would you have predicted the rise of augmented reality, say, ten years ago? Or would you have expected some trends to just turn out to be a fad? While you may have this “I knew it all along” feeling about some innovations, the truth is that you can’t know for sure how consumers will shop in three or five years.
It may seem like a distant future. But in reality, you need to be prepared before other competitors steal your clients. That’s what headless commerce can offer. Future-oriented architecture. Flexibility. Development efficiency. So why wait? Consider the headless commerce platforms from the list above and choose your reliable partner to generate revenue and win over customers.Click to audit your website SEO