Blogs
Alexandra Barcelona
Director of Marketing

Headless Commerce + Headless CMS: A Marriage Made in Heaven?

May 29, 2019

By: Alexandra Barcelona

There was a time when both B2B and B2C eCommerce brands would conduct their business exclusively through websites accessible through desktops, smartphones, and tablet devices. But today, the average online shopper expects that, and much more.

Whereas a traditional CMS—which tightly intertwined content and products to the front-end delivery layer—used to do the trick, eCommerce brands now need a headless content management solution to reach customers through new channels and touchpoints including digital signage, smart speakers, and kiosks.

Why Is The eCommerce Landscape Changing?

The short answer is: Consumers are demanding more convenience—and the biggest players in the market are meeting that demand.

Thanks to the rapid development of Amazon and its Dash Buttons and Alexa-based ordering, consumers now enjoy the convenience of ordering anything, at any time, and at any place, and through a broadening spectrum of devices and channels.

According to a 2018 report by OC&C Strategy Consultants, it has been predicted that voice commerce alone will be worth over a staggering $40 billion in 2022, up from a $2 billion valuation back in 2018.

This paradigm shift has left many eCommerce brands playing catch-up. The solution? A headless CMS, which is the fuel required to keep pace.

Headless Commerce: The Answer to this Paradigm Shift

For brands to remain competitive, it is imperative for them to be available on the same devices and channels, and more importantly, to ensure that their digital experience is not siloed, and instead draws from a single source of truth to provide a truly omnichannel eCommerce experience.

To achieve the above, brands are turning to headless commerce.

A headless commerce solution brings together a headless CMS and an eCommerce solution via APIs. The headless CMS acts as the centralized content hub, distributing product information, inventory data, documentation, videos, and any other relevant content to any device or touchpoint. The eCommerce solution facilitates shopping cart and checkout functionalities and may act as the front-end delivery layer (or, developers can build their own front-end templates).

Headless Commerce Benefits

The benefits of moving to a headless commerce platform can benefit other branches of the business outside of the IT team. Some of the benefits include:

  • Unrestricted Front-end development: Traditional eCommerce solutions often have restrictions on how developers can make changes. Since the front end and back end are so highly integrated, any change to one forces developers to make changes to the other. In a headless commerce environment, developers can create their own front end from scratch without affecting the back end.
  • Deeper Personalization: Traditional eCommerce platforms also place limits on how users and administrators can personalize content delivery, restricting data-based personalization to whatever data is within the eCommerce platform. When a Headless CMS is in play, customer and product data can be pulled from CRMs, PIMs, and other third-party tools. This allows brands to build a truly personalized and localized eCommerce experience.
  • Future-proof: Traditional eCommerce systems weren’t able to adapt to new technologies and customer demands. With a headless CMS fuelling the experience, the company is ready for any new technology, device, or consumer trend.
  • Consistent Branding and Messaging: The ability to maintain a consistent branding message when moving from the content area of the website to the eCommerce section can help with converting visitors into customers. The flexibility that a headless commerce solution affords in developing a seamless front end experience can give visitors that consistency they need.
  • Lower Development and Maintenance Costs: A headless commerce solution can cost much less than a standard eCommerce platform, and can integrate with third-party systems with minimal effort. With lower development costs, lower maintenance costs, and better documentation, firms that employ headless commerce can often see significant cost savings.
  • Easier Integrations: With APIs at play, brands can seamlessly integrate with third-party tools, MarTech, and analytics engines.

Hybrid Headless Commerce: Headless Commerce 2.0

As we have discussed in our article on pure headless CMS vs Hybrid CMS, a pure headless solution can ask cause as many problems as it solves.

A hybrid CMS, like dotCMS, offers true headless functionality, without hanging marketers out to dry. dotCMS features an intuitive WYSIWYG editor, inline editing, drag-and-drop, as well as Edit Mode Anywhere, enabling marketers and non-technical users to edit content in-line, even when that content is being managed in a headless environment.

dotCMS also offers:

  • GraphQL support for more efficient eCommerce experience management
  • Content types designing
  • Containerization and CI/CD readiness
  • A scriptable API builder that enables brands to create custom endpoints with simple scripting

Recommended: See dotCMS’s Hybrid CMS in action

Survive in a Post-Amazon Landscape by Going Headless

There’s no doubting that Amazon’s ability to reach customers across all major devices and touchpoints is helping to fuel its growth. eCommerce brands stuck using traditional content management systems will, by default, never catch up.

But with a headless commerce solution (and a Hybrid CMS as the core of that solution), your brand can build an omnichannel eCommerce experience that’s worthy of your customer’s time, attention, and money.

With dotCMS’s marketer-friendly and API-first philosophy, brands are taking advantage of commercetools and other integrations to build those experiences.

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