Web Development

Headless Commerce vs Traditional Commerce: A Comprehensive Guide

The two most important terms of the eCommerce industry are traditional and headless commerce. Traditional eCommerce builds an independent relationship between the website’s back end and front end. It affects the operation as well as customer experience on the site. In headless eCommerce, the developers apply greater flexibility and customization in design by uncoupling the front end and back end. 

Traditional commerce is similar to buying a house where you can only add the final changes to suit your taste. On the other hand, headless commerce is similar to building a house with every feature you want. Let us compare both and explore more about these two approaches in this comprehensive guide. 

What is Traditional eCommerce?

Traditional eCommerce is a way to link the logic of the front and back end of a website. If we make some changes in one part, it can unexpectedly affect the other part. For example, you break back-end functionality like payment processing by changing a design element on the digital storefront. Let’s check out some pros and cons of traditional eCommerce.

Pros of Traditional eCommerce

  • Easy self-creation of your digital storefront

One of the major issues that small businesses face is that they do not have the budget to hire developers to build an eCommerce website. By using various traditional eCommerce platforms, you can create your online store without having any coding skills. 

  • No need to learn web design practices

There are plenty of storefront themes available on traditional eCommerce platforms. These are made using true-and-tried web design practices. Therefore, there is no need to learn the subtleties of web design impacting the user experience. You can provide your customers with a familiar online shopping experience via plug-and-play storefronts. These online stores are static and not personalized but will contain everything you need to make your website functional. 

  • Launch your store quickly

Having templated front-end designs signifies a pre-built website. Various final changes to add are site copy, product photos, and brand colors. You can use the traditional eCommerce platforms to set up and run your website within a couple of hours. 

Cons of Traditional eCommerce 

  • Limited customization

Customizing a traditional eCommerce website is a difficult task. You will have to work around carrying out extensive site testing and make sure that nothing on the website breaks. You will need a professional developer to fix the bugs in your chosen template. You might end up paying high money for what seemed to be a small change. 

  • New software integrations are not easy

New software is released at an astounding pace by tech companies. Integrating the latest technology with traditional eCommerce platforms is not easy and sometimes not even possible.

  • Achieving a rich user experience is not possible.

Due to the limitations of the front end, achieving a rich user experience is not possible on traditional eCommerce platforms. It can be a huge disadvantage to your business as your competitors may create more dynamic websites. 

What is Headless Commerce?

Headless eCommerce is one of the latest eCommerce trends in the eCommerce industry. 

Headless eCommerce decouples the front and back end of a website, thus providing endless options for customization. It meets the ever-growing demands and expectations of customers by providing a personalized user experience. Let’s see what advantages and disadvantages are there in headless eCommerce.

Pros of Headless eCommerce

  • Integrate new technologies as they launch in the market

One of the primary benefits of headless eCommerce is its flexibility to integrate new technologies without any trouble. New software hits the market quite often. So, integrate it as soon as it is out in the market. 

  • Offer a rich user experience

Here, you have to build the website front end from scratch. The potential of providing a better user experience is very high. An innovative experience on the site will be delightful for the customers. Use the customers’ purchase history to recommend the products, use their geography to customize your products, and make online shopping easier for them. It is the best way to stand out in your competition. 

  • Get plenty of customizable options

You can tailor the front end according to the needs of your business as it is not predefined. You can add a countdown timer to carts, choose the background color, translate the site to the user’s local language, change the layout of contents on the web pages, and a lot more on headless commerce platforms. 

  • Compatible on all devices

These websites work perfectly on mobile phones, laptops, iPads, and other devices. There will not be any common issues such as features not displaying or the disappearance of buttons. 

Cons of Headless eCommerce 

  • Expensive 

Creating a website from scratch on headless commerce software is expensive. It is a more costly up-front investment that can be prohibitive for small businesses. 

  • You will need a skilled developer.

We advise you to hire a professional eCommerce developer for the initial build of the site. You and your team can update and manage the web pages with the help of a customized CMS. But it will be good if a skilled professional lays down the initial infrastructure. 

  • Longer time to launch your eCommerce store

You will require more time if you follow a headless commerce approach. You have to write everything in code, unlike a traditional eCommerce solution where you get plug-and-play options. 

Conclusion: Which one is right for your eCommerce business?

Every business is exclusive, and so are its necessities. Something that may be right for one industry may not be best for you. Before you select an eCommerce solution, it is better to analyze your business situation and resources.

Get answers to questions like your budget, what time you want to launch your store, whether you can afford to hire a developer team, how important the incorporation of new technologies in your business, and many more. So review the eCommerce features of both traditional and headless platforms to find the most suitable solution for the unique needs of your business. 

Author Name: John Ahya

Author Bio: John is the President and Co-Founder of WebDesk Solution, LLC. Living the digital agency life for over 10 years, he explores an extensive eCommerce world. He has immense experience in all major e-commerce platforms. Being a nature lover, he likes to breathe the fresh air on the hill stations during vacations.