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The best headless commerce platforms in 2024

Headless commerce is an ecommerce approach that has been rapidly adopted by many companies within the industry. Mainly, due to the need to adapt their services to different users through all channels (for example, mobile phones), while maintaining the same level of service for all their brands' products.

To achieve this, it is necessary to select a headless commerce platform that offers all the capabilities that today's digital consumers demand from businesses. But... which one to choose? 

In this article, we have compiled some of the best headless commerce platforms in 2024. Adding some suggestions on critical aspects, such as what to look for in the so-called best headless commerce platforms? What to know and what to consider before choosing a headless platform in 2024?

Whatever the scenario in which your company finds itself, choosing a platform for headless commerce is a critical step to consider carefully, for which we hope to be very helpful with the ideas below.

Let's get started!

headless commerce platforms 2024

What is a headless platform in ecommerce?

A headless platform is software that fits the approach of headless commerce. It is a modern and efficient software that works as a decoupled system. The architecture of a headless platform separates the presentation layer from the trading engine, so communication between platform instances is fast. Headless platforms use APIs for data orchestration, and as a result, each deployment moves faster and the entire system runs more responsively.

The industry evolves, as do headless platforms

And it is happening fast, even ultra-fast. So, it's no surprise that there is so much "buzz" around the word headless, and that the word itself is overused. But continuing with the idea, we can say that headless commerce became an answer to the current market challenges and the burdens that monolithic ecommerce platforms caused to businesses, such as:

  • delivery time
  • a high risk of failure when applying even a small change
  • high dependency
  • tedious and repetitive work
  • difficulties climbing
  • performance

The immediate need for efficient development and implementation led to a change in the approach to ecommerce from a technological perspective. And this point is often overlooked. The best headless commerce platforms are designed to drive and facilitate technological implementations, for commercial benefits. In addition, headless platforms provide flexibility on the technical side. Since focus influences development, business strategy receives a truly tangible boost.

The best headless commerce platforms align business and technology

Like it or not, customers quickly became accustomed to consuming content across multiple touchpoints. More than a decade ago we were aligned with the web vision. However, since the mobile emergence, many things have changed. The website is not the only market to sell, omnichannel took over and the old way of doing business online became a tedious activity for both developers and for marketers.

That's one of the reasons headless commerce became a sweet, quick escape from the burdens caused by docked systems. With the increasing popularity of headless solutions, many platforms have emerged and numerous vendors offer various headless features. There are already suppliers of CMS headless, headless commerce platforms and headless storefronts. And they vary from being open source to vendor dependent. Some remain monoliths with headless gateway functions, others provide a purely headless experience.

It's no wonder that when we start looking for verified information, it's hard to separate truth from fantasy. So, with the basic question – how to choose the best headless trading platform – in mind, we prepared some tips on what to do before betting on “the right platform”. To make the decision (at least a little) easier, we highlight some of the best headless trading platforms for various market sizes.

How to choose the best Headless Commerce Platform?

As is often the case, the answer can be brief: it depends, or more exhaustive. Making a big decision requires a lot of research, consideration and hours dedicated to consultation, since each case is individual. Below, we share the steps you should take before choosing the best headless commerce platform for your business.

1. Have a conversation: business and technology together

The initial phase of considering replatforming or choosing that best headless trading platform should be a conversation. The business and technology teams should meet to discuss the needs they have.

Companies often make a mistake by excluding one or another part at this stage of wanting to go towards the headless approach. It is important to learn to listen to the requirements that each area has. This will save a lot of time and help shape a clearer view of what the company needs on the technology and business side. And it's not about understanding each part 100%.

The objective is to solve the problems that each interested party in the project wants to overcome. Additionally, this will help understand dependencies, map out workflow, and help get consensus faster. This will not only help determine the best headless commerce platform for a particular case, but will also facilitate the digital headless transition.

2. Determine the level of digital maturity

In other words, don't sink in your ambitions. Keep in mind that your goals must be realistic and feasible. To accurately address business and technical needs, it's a good idea to determine the digital maturity level of your business.

Which is it? Simply put, it is the company's ability to respond quickly or take advantage of opportunities in the market based on the current technology stack, human resources and technology. It is the domain of an organization to embrace digital transformation beyond digital. It is also a process of complex and accurate understanding of the entire organization, including employees, work environment and organizational policies to intelligently drive business results.

Although it may all sound a little overwhelming, in the case of determining the digital maturity of an ecommerce, the process can be executed internally. Here we present the high-level definition of digital maturity specification, which applies to the digital transformation of any organization and industry. Due to the online nature of ecommerce, it does not require much effort. It is more of a relatively quick strategy adjustment and optimization of operations.

However, why is it worth spending time clarifying digital maturity? To exclude high-cost, low-value decisions. Choosing the best headless trading platform is a years-long binding decision-making process. Therefore, it is worth taking time at the beginning to reexamine business strategy to better shape future operations. The more careful the environment, the better the chances of avoiding initiatives that the technology will not support.

There are several frameworks in the market provided by consulting companies. You can support your initiative with predefined tips and advice. However, when it comes to choosing the best headless commerce platform (and going headless in general), it all comes down to which IT solutions provider will best match your organizational needs.

3. Set goals

Having determined the requirements on the technical and business side, as well as the level of digital maturity itself, it is now time to set the objectives. Going through the first two stages of the process of choosing the best headless trading platform will help set realistic goals for further growth.

It is vital to confront business ambitions and technological capabilities again and clarify upcoming changes. Having your specific needs categorized and listed will help with the next step: searching and researching. There is already a wide range of headless commerce solutions; It is important to keep it under control.

4. Do your own research

After holding the conversations and outlining, comes the next step, getting you closer to finding the best headless trading platform. You may already have a shortlist. List them, try to match them with your requirements and then discuss them with the other parties involved in the process. Stay aligned at every stage of your search for the best headless trading platform. This is never a single person's decision. Keep in mind that the software you choose will be responsible for driving revenue and shaping your workflow for the next (probably) couple of years.

5. And have a conversation, again

This time with possible suppliers. The true technology partner won't try to rush you into a decision. Instead, it will provide you with detailed and complete information. Before the big conversation, he suggests inviting business and IT representatives to the table. Selling any software, especially one that is expected to boost your income, must be accompanied by the right recommendation. You should try to match your technology stack with your goals, capabilities, and additional support.

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The best headless commerce platforms for 2024

And beyond. But it's true, choosing the best headless commerce platform is not an easy task. It's a multi-step process that requires some collaboration and strategic (or at least tactical) thinking. It requires a realistic view of the market position and an assessment of opportunities. Knowing that will help you choose the best headless trading platform that will drive ROI in 2024 and beyond.

Below we share some of our recommendations of the best headless commerce platforms, trying to identify the relationship with the stage in which your ecommerce business may currently be.

  1. BigCommerce
  2. HCl Commerce Cloud
  3. Adobe Commerce
  4. Salesforce Commerce Cloud
  5. Magento 2
  6. Fabric
  7. Vendure
  8. Elastic Path 
  9. Commercetools

1. BigCommerce

BigCommerce is a SaaS eCommerce platform that gives merchants the flexibility to build and grow their online stores. It offers enterprise-grade functionality, with ease of use and can be customized to suit. BigCommerce is a headless platform that can use any interface to create content-rich experiences.

Additionally, it includes flexible APIs and a multi-storefront option that allows companies to grow their business across multiple regions or launch multiple brands. While BigCommerce comes with all the features an eCommerce platform could need, it can sometimes be a challenge to integrate it with the necessary tools.

Definitely, the platform is an excellent solution to help merchants sell more at every stage of business growth. Supporting compliance and risk management, as well as autonomously driving innovation.

2. HCL Commerce Cloud

HCL Commerce Cloud is an all-in-one enterprise ecommerce platform, delivering powerful customer experiences across B2C, B2B, B2B2B, B2B2C and marketplace models, especially for businesses with complex and large-scale needs.

In addition to a renewed headless approach, with HCL Commerce Cloud can scale to the highest levels of transaction volumes, take advantage of the capacity for very high levels of customization, flexibility to manage the product catalog in diverse storefronts by brands, countries and currencies. All this is based on industry best practices such as SPA, RWD and PWA.

After the alliance between HCL Commerce and Google Cloud, the platform now has the full capacity of the public cloud available on a global scale, with a secure and elastic infrastructure. Although it is still compatible and certified with other cloud platforms such as: Amazon AWS, MS Azure, IBM Cloud and IBM/Redhat OpenShift. This is for the cases of companies that are using them or wish to implement them in the future. If you are large and a leader in your market, without a doubt this may be your best option.

3. Adobe Commerce

Previously known as Magento, the platform is now part of the giant Adobe's suite of products. Adobe Commerce allows you to create multi-channel commerce experiences for any business. With native integrations with other parts of the Adobe Suite, including Analytics, Experience Manager, and Creative Cloud, Adobe Commerce provides a solid foundation for creating personalized shopping experiences.

A fully scalable and extensible platform, Adobe Commerce makes it possible to incorporate new technologies into your eCommerce store, even if they haven't been invented yet. However, a major drawback of the platform is the high total cost of ownership that comes with using a suite eCommerce system.

4. Salesforce Commerce Cloud

The power of Salesforce Commerce Cloud can be confirmed by numerous B2B and B2C brands who have trusted the business solution. SCC is a cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) commerce platform for creating intelligent, unified shopping experiences across mobile, social, web, and in-store.

SCC is aimed at brands and retailers who require B2C functionality and want to focus on commerce, not development.

5. Magento 2

You can choose Magento 2 Open SourceMagento 2 Commerce or Magento 2 Commerce Cloud. Each solution is designed to meet the broad needs of ecommerce owners. Commerce and Commerce Cloud are designed with the needs of B2B and larger businesses in mind, to handle high customer traffic, large product catalogs, a broad global presence, or high business complexity.

Combined with a headless storefront, Magento 2 provides excellent frontend and UX performance for high-traffic enterprise eCommerce players. Magento 2 extension development or API modification usually requires specialized Magento developers.

6. Fabric

The Seattle-based startup offers a headless commerce platform designed specifically for growth. Provides back-end infrastructure for online shopping. Fabric's open, modular design enables B2B and direct-to-consumer businesses to be up and running in weeks, replacing expensive and complex legacy platforms that hold back performance and growth.

Beyond being an order management and product information management system, Fabric offers membership and offers management, subscriptions and marketplace integrations.

7. Vendure

A dark horse that could soon become the next headless unicorn. Vendure can be described as an alternative for those who have outgrown Shopify, as it offers a modern, headless GraphQL framework that runs ecommerce. Easy to configure and navigate with its captivating and intuitive administration interface. Vendure connects with storefronts available for Next and Vue.

Vendure is open source and based on Node.js, TypeScript and GraphQL. They do not offer an interface: they focus exclusively on their API framework.

8. Elastic Path

Complex API-based solution that meets the fundamental requirements of ecommerce business. Elastic Path provides strong customer service and support, making it a considerable option for ecommerce. Headless architecture enables the creation of internal and operational efficiencies and improves the agility of business processes.

9. Commercetools

This solution is described as the world's leading platform for next-generation B2C and B2B headless commerce. Although this sounds a bit exaggerated. Commercetools offers a purely headless experience with over 300 API endpoints. This cloud-native, multi-tenant SaaS commerce platform provides the commerce layer and partners with the best headless solutions to lead the market.

Now is your turn!

Well, after having taken this tour of what are very possibly the best headless commerce platforms on the market, what's next?

When you are in the process of making a decision, it's a good idea to think again. This time about the range of possibilities that you have opened. And what you can do to provide even greater opportunities. Headless commerce provides great flexibility to the commercial and technical part.

The best headless trading platforms, even when they are not 100% perfect, offersolutions composable. Many headless solution providers partner with multiple vendors to ensure a composable stack.

You can choose the perfect storefront to shape experiences even better, add a headless CMS to intelligently deliver content, and enjoy enhanced revenue-generating capabilities. After all, headless commerce is all about breaking up and playing with third-party composable applications. This is the key to everything.

The freedom of choice between development tools and flexibility at the front is one of the decisive factors that play in favor of headless systems on the board of directors of thousands of companies around the world.

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