The Benefits of Headless Commerce: Why You Should Consider It

The Benefits of Headless Commerce: Why You Should Consider It

Let's start by the Headless commerce definition: an eCommerce solution that stores, manages, and delivers content without a front-end delivery layer, allowing for greater flexibility and customization.

This type of architecture allows businesses to create a more personalized and tailored user experience optimized for different devices and channels, such as mobile apps, social media, and voice assistants. With headless commerce, eCommerce businesses can integrate various tools and technologies more easily, improving their overall e-commerce capabilities and performance.

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From the rise of mobile shopping apps to the growth of social commerce and augmented reality experiences, there are many different ways that people shop today.

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    Understanding the headless architecture

    A headless CMS architecture delivers a platform via a RESTful API comprising a back-end data model and a cloud-based infrastructure. Basically, all functional elements (such as forms, blogs, banners, products, etc.) of the system can be programmatically managed. 

    This includes the creation and management of the content components. Since the platform is not tightly coupled with the back end, an eCommerce business can deliver content, products, and payment gateways to smartwatches, kiosk screens, Alexa Skills, and everything in between.

    Headless eCommerce Benefits

    eCommerce is showing no signs of slowing down, with more than half of all internet users making an online purchase every week. As businesses look for ways to accommodate customer expectations and buying habits, billions of dollars are being invested in headless eCommerce solutions every year.

    More retailers are trying to replicate what Amazon has spent years perfecting and turning to headless eCommerce platforms to avoid the frustration of dealing with legacy eCommerce platforms. Here are a few ways B2B and B2C retailers alike are benefiting from headless eCommerce solutions:

    - Create Omnichannel Experiences

    The demand for omnichannel customer experiences makes deploying a headless eCommerce solution a must. A headless content management system will help propel your content anywhere and everywhere. That means delivering your products, product videos, or blog posts to any channel, whether it exists now or down the line. By using APIs to connect to various digital channels, businesses can ensure a seamless and consistent customer shopping experience.

    - Improved Performance

    Headless eCommerce can improve website performance by reducing the number of requests made to the server. Since the front-end and back-end are separate, the server only needs to process the front-end API requests, resulting in faster load times.

    - Enjoy Superior Customization 

    Decoupling the front-end from your back-end architecture makes it easier – and less risky – to make changes to the front-end experience. You don't have to worry about interrupting the underlying infrastructure and architecture when you make changes. This means you can actually listen to your buyers' demands and deliver the customized and personalized experiences they expect, a feature that is particularly important for a B2B company's eCommerce store.  

    - Be Innovative 

    With better and faster integration capabilities, you can experiment with delivering content to new technologies and channels, such as AR/VR, AI, and voice commerce. Should a new digital sales channel enter the market, a headless eCommerce platform gives you the flexibility required to add it to your content strategy.

    - Remain Competitive

    Headless eCommerce means your front-end system is not tightly coupled to the back-end. This structure allows you to roll out updates to part of your system rather than the whole thing. Easily change your front end to coincide with the speed of consumer technology and continue delivering the experience your audience wants. If you can provide a faster, more targeted experience to your customers, it will ensure you maintain a competitive edge.

    - Achieve Marketing Success 

    In the age of omnichannel, headless platforms are the key to designing high-quality customer experiences. Marketing teams can roll out multiple sites across different brands, divisions, and portfolios in days rather than months.

    - Make Personalization a Reality

    If the last few years have taught us anything, it's that despite changes to customers' buying habits, personalization is crucial to retention. Just because new platforms and channels are constantly emerging doesn't mean consumer expectations are any lower; they want consistent customer experience across every touchpoint. With a headless commerce approach, your back end has all your customer data, giving you the power to personalize content across your web, mobile apps, and social channels.

    Overall, there are many headless eCommerce benefits. This type of solution makes it so eCommerce brands can match customers' needs while improving website performance and enabling consistent experiences across multiple channels.

    Headless Commerce: The Ultimate Guide

    To stay competitive in today market, an omnichannel experience is mandatory and can only be achieved with a headless platform. With Core dna decoupled solution, you get the best of both worlds: A headless commerce  with content preview and templates for a faster time to market.

    Why would you use a headless CMS?

    More businesses are turning to headless CMS because it's the best option for delivering content in the digital age. With the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT), developers want a system that allows them to use APIs to deliver things like products, blog posts or customer reviews to any screen or device. With a headless CMS, developers can do this and present content using any framework they desire.

    The benefits of a headless CMS

    Businesses use a headless content management system (CMS) for several reasons, including:

    • Flexibility: The front-end presentation layer is decoupled from the back-end content management system so businesses can easily create and manage content for multiple channels and devices.
    • Front-end agnostic: A headless or decoupled CMS is front-end framework agnostic. You can publish content on any device or channel via API calls. Plus, frontend developers are free to use their favorite frameworks and tools.
    • APIs: Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) enable two technologies to speak to each other. Both use APIs to connect and communicate with other software and channels, allowing for content delivery. But that’s not all. APIs can also be used to send data from those channels, devices, and touchpoints back for processing, analysis, and re-distribution.
    • Customizable: A headless CMS provides more flexibility to customize the front-end presentation layer, allowing businesses to create unique and personalized user experiences for their customers.
    • Speed: A headless CMS can improve the speed of content delivery by removing the need for a monolithic platform that has to serve both the front-end and back-end content.
    • Scalability: Scale your front-end and back-end independently, which provides greater flexibility in handling traffic spikes and changes in business requirements.
    • System Integrations: A headless CMS can integrate easily with other systems and tools, such as analytics, e-commerce platforms, and marketing automation software, enabling businesses to enhance their overall digital capabilities and improve customer experience.
    • Future-proof: APIs aren’t just ready to talk to any existing software or device; they’re prepared to speak to any new device or channel that changes how customers interact with brands. Using a headless solution allows businesses to future-proof their content and prepare for the next emerging technologies.

    Overall, businesses turn to a headless solution when they need greater flexibility, customization, and speed in their content management and delivery processes while improving their digital capabilities and customer experience.

    Headless Commerce vs. Traditional eCommerce platforms

    Although these platform types have many differences, they both serve similar functions. They each offer essential eCommerce features such as product management, inventory management, and payment processing. 

    Both help businesses sell products online, whether it's through a pre-built storefront or a custom-built front-end, and require integration with third-party tools and services, such as payment gateways and shipping providers. 

    Any good headless eCommerce solution has analytics and reporting capabilities so businesses can track their performance and make data-driven decisions, just as any traditional system would.

    So, while much is the same about these approaches to eCommerce architecture, there are fundamental differences you should know.

    Traditional eCommerce platforms

    Unlike headless platforms, a traditional CMS, such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, connects the front-end and back-end of a website. This structure links the templates users use to build their site to the back-end administration and databases. These platforms make it easier to manage and edit web content without any technical knowledge but lack the flexibility of a headless structure.

    Headless eCommerce Platforms

    Headless eCommerce platforms such as Contentful, Core DNA, and Contentstack don't have a default front-end system. Instead, they let users choose how to present content instead of relying on a templating system. Because your content is raw, you can publish it anywhere through any framework, which is helpful for omnichannel content efforts.

    Businesses typically turn to headless systems for a few reasons, including:

    • Creating content stores for multiple systems

    • Sharing content with applications on mobile or IoT devices or touchscreens that don't have a browser interface.

    • Have complex data merging or data enrichment needs that require real-time information updates

    Here are some key differences between a headless commerce approach and traditional platforms:

    Front-end flexibility

    Headless commerce platforms allow enhanced flexibility in the front-end technology used to build the user interface. On the other hand, traditional platforms typically have a pre-built front end that may not be customizable.


    Headless platforms are highly scalable and can handle high traffic volumes and complex functionality more effectively. Traditional platforms may struggle to operate smoothly as traffic increases and functionality becomes more complicated.

    Development time

    Headless technology needs more development time because they require businesses to build their own front end. Meanwhile, traditional systems provide a pre-built front end, making it faster to develop and deploy.

    eCommerce Comparison

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    Benefits of headless commerce platform vs traditional commerce platform

    If you’re new to the world of headless commerce or are simply more experienced with traditional systems, you may still be wondering about the tangible benefits of switching to a headless commerce solution. Here are a few key headless commerce benefits:

    Flexibility and Personalization of headless commerce solutions

    • Traditional: Legacy platforms that tightly couple the front end with the back end's coding and infrastructure leaves little or no room for flexibility and subsequent customizations. Any customization requires developers to edit multiple layers of coding in the database layer buried in the back end.
    • Headless: The beauty of decoupling these layers is that it opens up endless possibilities for customization. Changes, big and small, are very straightforward for developers to execute with a headless commerce architecture.
    • Traditional: System equipped with a predefined experience for your customer and administrative user. But these platforms lack customization or personalization options. It's not uncommon for developers to feel constrained by traditional commerce platforms when trying to create a quality user experience. 
    • Headless: With no frontend presentation layer, developers can create their own seamless user experience from scratch. You have more control over the look and feel of your headless commerce architecture, and you also have control over the user experience for both your customer and your admin users.

    Consider the complexity of the headless eCommerce platform

    • Traditional: Front-end developers working on a traditional commerce system are no strangers to design constraints. Any attempt to implement changes demands edits to the database, code, and the front-end platform. Even if they can do that, there are potential limits to what they can update lest they risk voiding a warranty or preventing any future upgrades.
    • Headless: Without the predefined front-end platform, developers can design and create a user experience to their heart's content, building just what their core business needs from scratch. Although developers and marketers don't have templates for product or landing pages, they have more control over the design of their content.

    Headless Commerce Solution Examples

    If you’ve been in the world of retail and eCommerce for a while, there’s a good chance you’ve used a traditional platform like WordPress before. Let’s look at a few examples of headless technologies on the market today.


    As one of the biggest names today in eCommerce, Shopify is a stable and secure platform with a huge app store. After many years as a traditional eCommerce platform, Shopify embraced headless commerce through Shopify Plus.


    BigCommerce is an eCommerce platform that offers headless commerce functionality popular with B2B and B2C companies alike. Customers can decouple from its customer-facing user interface to run multiple stores across many different channels from one central location.

    Salesforce Commerce Cloud

    Originally known as Demandware, Salesforce Commerce Cloud is an eCommerce solution created by the leading CRM company Salesforce. Not only can you integrate with various marketplaces and augmented reality systems, but Salesforce Commerce Cloud also connects your store with your CRM. This feature makes it easy to integrate all your data and create a personalized customer experience and increase revenue.


    Swell developed an easy-to-operate headless commerce solution for both B2C and B2B brands. The company’s API-first approach to back-end management is designed for businesses of all sizes, whether you’re a budding eCommerce company or a giant enterprise.

    Adobe Commerce

    This highly customizable headless commerce platform enables web developers to create custom applications that fit the needs of their customers. Adobe Commerce (formerly Magneto) uses AI and advanced data-sharing capabilities to create end-to-end personalized B2C and B2B commerce experiences from a single eCommerce platform.

    Core dna

    Core dna has been developed from the ground up to be flexible for developers and easy to use for marketers. Headless as its core with hybrid tools to make development fast. We’ve created the most flexible developer ecosystem on the market so you can create experiences and customizations for users and admins alike. With our decoupled environment, your eCommerce business can create rich omnichannel experiences that are proven to drive revenue.  Omnichannel experiences graph showing content delivered on every platform via API

    Brands that leveraged headless storefront solutions to solve their business problems

    Now that we’ve discussed some of the headless commerce benefits, you’re probably wondering how eCommerce brands put it into action. Here’s are just a few notable brands that have turned to a headless solution so solve their eCommerce needs:

    • Nike

    • Venus

    • Recess

    • Staples

    • Casper

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    Unlocking Flexibility: Examples of Headless Commerce in Action

    Today, customers are doing their online shopping from all kinds of devices and channels, including smartphones, tablets, Amazon Echo, Instagram, Apple Watch, and, of course, their computers. Brands that have turned to headless commerce have done so to reach customers across every possible touchpoint and create a personalized user experience in the process.

    Here are a few examples of businesses that are benefitting from headless commerce:


    Perhaps the best-known brand to embrace headless solutions is Nike. With so many customers buying Nike’s gear from their phones, the athletic retail giant wanted to build a mobile-first eCommerce website. By using React SPA in conjunction with with Node.js backend for frontend (BFF), they were able to optimize all their web content for mobile devices, from the images to the checkout experience.


    Any eCommerce business attempting to eat into Amazon’s market share has its work cut out. For Target, the answer for increasing conversions came after they discovered that most of their customers began shopping on one device and finished on another. The retailer switched to a headless storefront model so they could ensure a seamless experience for customers, no matter what device they used. Customers loved how easy it was to shop across devices, and conversions on Target’s website increased as a result.

    Annie Selke

    Any eCommerce company knows that slow website load times are the fastest way to lose customers. Annie Selke, a home decor brand, prioritized creating a quick and engaging experience for customers shopping online by turning to headless commerce. The company deployed a combination of PWA & AMP technologies and server-side rendering, achieving first page load time of a lightning-fast 0.74 seconds across all channels. As a result, they saw their traffic spike and leads increase by nearly half.

    How Headless Commerce Supports Omnichannel Retail

    The digital age is forcing traditional retail to evolve and embrace an omnichannel approach. Customers want the option to shop online, through their social media channels, or via a favorite brand’s mobile app. For most retailers, trying to exist on physical brick-and-mortar locations alone isn’t possible. Instead, brick-and-mortar locations are now just one step in the buying process.

    Innovative brands are quickly realizing that headless commerce is the key to bridging their eCommerce stores with the in-person shopping experience. Customers are increasingly using stores to test out and try on products before ultimately buying online. With a headless architecture, brands have a lot more options for engaging customers, no matter where they’re shopping.

    Let’s examine several ways headless commerce architecture benefits omnichannel retail efforts

    Location-based ads and product recommendations

    Are you a clothing brand operating in a coastal area? You probably want the option to recommend beachwear to customers in the summer. Do you sell agricultural supplies to farmers in rural areas?

    Headless commerce gives you the ability to integrate with mobile ad networks and platforms that support geo-targeting. These integration capabilities allow retailers to use location data to deliver targeted ads to customers when they are in the vicinity of a physical store. Likewise, brick-and-mortar stores can use beacons to detect when a customer enters a store and offer them personalized deals and promotions based on their location within the store.

    Click-and-collect and store locations

    For customers that don’t want to wait for retailers to deliver online orders, headless commerce architecture gives them the option to buy online and pick up their purchases at the closest store. If you’re a customer that prefers to shop in person, you also want the ability to find a brick and mortar near you. Headless commerce platforms can integrate customer data with all channels and devices, so brands can quickly and easily point customers to the nearest store.

    Personalize Customer Experiences

    Brands and customers alike benefit from a decoupled headless commerce platform. Headless commerce has made it much easier for retailers to create a personalized user experience by combining customer data across channels, from marketing to loyalty to sales. Retailers can create a truly omnichannel strategy by using these insights to create customized digital experiences that transcend in-store or online shopping.

    Omnichannel retail can only succeed if your brand has one source of truth for all digital activities. With the ability to integrate with all digital channels, eCommerce APIs, every device on the market, and IoT devices, headless commerce is the solution to ensuring the flow of data is seamless throughout this ecosystem. With access to all your business and customer data in one place, you can create hyper-targeted experiences for all your customers, no matter how they prefer to shop.

    Digital Experience Platform (DXP)

    A digital experience platform (DXP) is enterprise software that helps companies deliver optimal customer

    experience. DXPs can have various forms depending on the objective and functional complexity required, from a single solution to a combination of solutions working in tandem. DXPs unify content, data, and applications, so organizations can deliver a seamless, consistent, and engaging experience to customers, employees, partners, and other stakeholders.

    A DXP typically includes several core components, such as a content management system (CMS), digital asset management (DAM), customer data management (CDM), marketing automation, analytics and reporting, and integration with third-party systems and services. It also supports various delivery channels like websites, mobile apps, social media, email, chat, voice, and IoT devices.

    In short, a digital experience platform is the foundation of a company's digitization endeavors and is an essential tool for ensuring digital transformation success.

    Digital Experience Platform (DXP) vs CMS

    Digital Experience Platform helps you increase your customers' satisfaction. Offering an omnichannel experience is mandatory to ensure your customers can interact with your brand wherever they are. 


    Is headless CMS the same as headless commerce?

    Headless CMS and headless commerce are related concepts, but they are not the same thing. Headless commerce is the overall architecture an eCommerce business uses to digitize its operation. Headless CMS refers to the software used for running an online store's content creation and delivery. Let’s dig in a bit further:

    Headless CMS is a content management system that provides an API for content delivery, allowing developers to deliver content to any channel or device. By separating the content creation and management from the presentation layer, you can feed content to any customer touchpoint, such as websites, mobile apps, chatbots, and IoT devices. Headless CMS enables marketers to focus on content creation, while developers can focus on building experiences and integrations.

    Headless commerce, on the other hand, is an eCommerce architecture that decouples the eCommerce platform from the website or mobile app. With a headless commerce approach, developers build custom front ends using frameworks such as React or Angular, while the back end handles the commerce logic, such as inventory management, payment processing, and order fulfillment. By structuring your tech stack this way, retailers can deliver personalized, seamless, and consistent shopping experiences across all channels and touchpoints.

    Is headless commerce worth it?

    Whether or not headless commerce is worth it depends on your business needs. Headless commerce requires more technical knowledge, so marketers and developers need to work in tandem to be successful. Legacy platforms are easier to set up and use if you don’t have the technical skills, but are more rigid and will limit you as your business grows.

    If you have the resources and are truly committed to building an omnichannel retail strategy that delivers a personalized customer experience, headless commerce is absolutely worth it.

    Is headless CMS the future?

    As more customers shop online and new digital resources emerge, retailers will be under more pressure to deliver a seamless customer experience at every touchpoint. Traditional CMS platforms are already struggling to keep pace, frustrating markets, and developers as they work to provide cohesive content throughout the business ecosystem. Headless content management systems will only become more popular as eCommerce businesses find ways to future-proof their business and increase customer satisfaction.

    Core dna team
    Core dna team

    Articles written by various members of our team.

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