Back to Blog

Headless eCommerce implementation

clock-iconJuly 20, 2020

For starters, what is headless eCommerce

A headless commerce architecture describes the decoupling of the presentation layer of a website from the eCommerce functionality. Developers can utilize their frontend technology of choice to deliver high-quality content experiences and plug in an eCommerce solution on the back end that manages all commerce functionality.

Ecommerce platforms in this model serve up PCI compliance, security, fraud management, and inventory management that can also connect to more extensive critical infrastructures points such as ERPs, PIMs, OMS, and POS.

It's easy for brands to see how headless commerce can provide more options when it comes to eCommerce platforms. For experience-focused brands like lifestyle products, direct to consumer (DTC) brands, and brands relying heavily on influencer and native advertising, a content-led or experience-led strategy like headless commerce is a no-brainer.

The most significant trend in eCommerce for the next few years - dealing with rising Customer Acquisition costs

Retail Dive surveyed 106 eCommerce executives and marketing managers globally and found that customer acquisition costs rose for the vast majority of those surveyed. More than half of the participants reported an increase of more than 20%.

These are not new trends. Research shows that it has increased by nearly 50% over the last five years. What’s the reason for these rising costs? The cost of ad placements in paid media is increasing, just as their effectiveness is decreasing. Businesses choose to diversify their marketing to draw in organic traffic through creative content that captures the attention of potential customers.

Form a monolithic eCommerce model to an experience-led eCommerce model

Until recently, most eCommerce implementations were either monolithic or at best commerce led, basically focused on the checkout process and the integration with backend ERP systems.

The experience led eCommerce implementations to decouple the eCommerce platform from the presentation layer. You can use popular CMS solutions like WordPress, DXPs like Drupal, PWAs (progressive web apps), or custom frontend solutions, like Gatsby for unparalleled experiences that increase brand value perception and drive to checkout. In this model, the eCommerce platform provides PCI compliance and inventory management, though it can connect to new systems like ERPs, PIMs, or OMS tools via APIs.

Why Headless eCommerce

1. More customization and personalization.

A headless commerce platform and approach best service brands looking to drive increased engagement on their sites through content experiences .Add to this, the flexibility of a Headless CMS approach such as Sanity or Drupal with the security of an eCommerce platform like BigCommerce, which manages PCI compliance and checkout uptime, among other aspects.

2. Marketing effectiveness for innovation.

The keys to growing eCommerce revenue month-over-month is innovation at speed and cost. Agencies and eCommerce marketing teams need to get programs and campaigns up quickly, A/B test them and then double down on what is working and get rid of what isn't. A headless commerce platform approach can make this easy for everyone. Working within a headless CMS speeds up productivity while maintaining the security, inventory syncing, and data orchestration needed for the larger organization.

3. Lower cost of acquisition

Headless is an effective way of reducing these costs because your brand can use a content- or experience-led strategy to draw in organic traffic instead of relying on paid advertising. Dynamic and smooth customer experiences also help increase conversion rates.

4. Better organic traffic to the website and the eCommerce website

With the possibility of creating original content published on various web and social media channels, the brand can expand its scope and reach, resulting in better organic ranking for essential keywords and better organic traffic to the platform. eCommerce is not only about selling but about educating and guiding your existing and potential new customers.

Technology trends in headless eCommerce - Progressive web apps

Progressive web apps (PWA) are web applications that use the latest web capabilities to deliver a native app-like experience to users. PWAs are web applications that are regular web pages or websites but can appear to the user like traditional applications or native mobile applications. PWAs combine the capabilities of websites and mobile software to create an immersive user experience that can lead to higher conversion rates and more time spent on site.


These technologies are becoming more valuable for businesses to have as more and more customers are shopping on mobile devices. By 2020, 50% of online sales will be on mobile, according to research by eMarketer Inc. Big brands from AirBnB and Twitter to BMW and Starbucks are already using PWAs and seeing big results.

Here are a few ways brands can leverage PWAs on the frontend in a headless implementation.

Vue Storefront: Vue Storefront allows merchants to build engaging user experiences across all devices. It easily connects to all primary eCommerce backends, including BigCommerce. The solution uses PWAs to power the rest of the experience and allows brands to improve their UX without making changes to the back end.

Gatsby: Gatsby is a static site generator popular with developers for creating blazing fast, modern apps, and React websites. Gatsby can be used in a headless implementation to create PWAs by tying into the BigCommerce APIs. Here's an example Gatsby, BigCommerce, and Netlify CMS project meant to jump-start JAMStack eCommerce sites.

Traditional versus headless eCommerce for Swampfox optics - SWAMPFOXOPTICS


Swampfox optics is convinced that headless was the way to is mainly due to their desire to create and publish original content on the various digital channels owned by the brand.

For WebriQ, having done hundreds of Jamstack content implementations, the choice of Sanity CMS combined with Gatsby was an easy one. With Bigcommerce as a headless eCommerce platform, we decoupled the transactional part of the platform and the content part of the frontend. All content is prerendered and published on a high-availability and ultra-redundant CDN.

The future is headless.

For any merchant out there that is serious about lowering the customer acquisition cost, and improving the customer experience, a content-led or experience-led HEADLESS ECOMMERCE EBOOK model is the way forward. And headless CMS and headless eCommerce is the answer.