The Expansion of Headless Commerce: Guest Blog by JetRails
Wednesday, January 30, 2019Lauren Macdonald
For many years, merchants have been forced to choose between a powerful eCommerce platform like Magento and a flexible Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress. While you could create a corporate site in Wordpress and a subdomain like “shop.” or “store.” for your eCommerce store, having two separate sites is not ideal. With your eCommerce website hosted on a subdomain, it’s more difficult to earn top search engine rankings as well as to maintain continuity between the sites. You end up managing two hosting environments, two themes and potentially require two admins to maintain two distinctive websites.
In walks Headless Commerce, the answer to years of being boxed into a single platform. While the term “headless” may sound a bit reminiscent of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, it’s simply meant to signify that an eCommerce platform is being used for its backend capabilities, while a CMS platform is managing the frontend of the website.
Headless Commerce use cases can vary greatly. Most often, the pages that shoppers visit within the website, such as the homepage, category, product, and other navigable pages, are not managed from the eCommerce software platform. The frontend experience is managed from a different, more flexible CMS. In this scenario, information like product, customer, and order data is managed and accessed from the database of your eCommerce platform, like Magento, but theme files and static content are not.
So how is Headless Commerce impacting merchants? The average person starting an eCommerce site from the comfort of their kitchen table or their garage won’t likely be impacted. For an unfunded startup that doesn’t have a web developer on staff, it will still make the most sense to build a site using the native frontend CMS capabilities of said platform, whether it be Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, or another platform.
On the other hand, for more established SMB, mid-market, and enterprise merchants, Headless Commerce is much more likely to impact how they build the next iterations of their websites. Major brands like Wilson Sporting Goods already use a mashup of Magento and Drupal to gain more flexibility in creating content and custom layouts. Furthermore, Magento 2.3 includes new enhancements which make Magento a stronger option for Headless Commerce, while also offering more functionality than ever to encourage users to use Magento as an all-in-one solution for both frontend and backend needs.
Additionally, BigCommerce has brought their own WordPress plugin to market. While this offering competes directly with WooCommerce, it also has great appeal as an overall eCommerce platform strategy. There are many merchants that want a design-heavy frontend that will be flexible and user-friendly enough to meet the needs of their marketing while having a top-notch shopping cart.
When planning out these types of mashups, there are two very important factors. The first, as you’d imagine, is identifying the platforms that you’d like to leverage. The second is putting together a robust maintenance plan to upkeep your frontend and backend platforms. This includes relevant services for frontend platforms like WordPress, Drupal, and Craft CMS, as well as eCommerce platforms like Magento. These services include any security patching and software updating, as well as procuring properly configured and optimized mission-critical hosting.
With any eCommerce site, factors like security, loading speeds, scalability, uptime, proactive monitoring, and support response times become crucial. You need your entire online shopping apparatus to be well managed in order to enjoy eCommerce stability and success.
- Robert Rand, Director of Partnerships & Alliances, JetRails
Robert has over a decade of experience in helping merchants benefit from sound E-commerce and Digital Marketing strategies. He’s highly experienced at harnessing the power of E-commerce technologies and solutions to help businesses of all types and sizes grow and succeed and has earned numerous distinctions and accolades from his work with merchants and partner organizations. Robert is the head of partnerships for JetRails, a fully-managed white-glove eCommerce hosting service.