Making the decision, within the wide range of headless ecommerce platforms that exist, is not an easy exercise. Perhaps your company right now is planning to launch into new markets or perhaps dealing with growing pains. Whatever the scenario, choosing a headless commerce platform is a critical step in brand evolution.
Today's online consumers demand faster experiences, across a broader range of touchpoints, and over time those demands are likely to increase as technology and ecommerce expand. In fact, by 2025, according to eMarketer, ecommerce sales are expected to account for 23.6% of all global retail sales, roughly $7.3 trillion.
This is why the leading ecommerce brands have a responsibility to meet these consumer expectations. Adopting a headless ecommerce platform is an essential first step.
Keeping this in mind, in this article we share 9 headless ecommerce platforms worth checking out.
On each of these platforms, we provide an overview and even highlight some of the relevant pros or cons from customers who already use them to help you select the best option for your business.
What is headless commerce?
In a previous article, we discussed in more detail that headless commerce is an architecture that offers an ecommerce solution that stores, manages, and delivers content by separating the site's front-end from its back-end commerce functionality.
Headless architecture gives retailers greater freedom to customize and build the type of store they want. Updating the front-end without the need to touch the back-end. On the other hand, the headless architecture also gives flexibility to create new user experiences for shoppers. And thus better serve, what we discussed earlier, those demands for a better shopping experience in a new and wide range of contact points.
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Why choose a headless eCommerce platform?
For the customization possibilities
As a headless ecommerce platform separates frontend and backend into two layers, it opens up endless customization capabilities to design your online business. You can opt for the trading platform that effectively executes all the functionality while using your preferred user interface solution, be it a CMS, CRM or a custom solution.
The power of combining the best solution for frontend and backend layers makes it very convenient to customize your business site to its fullest potential, which could hardly be done with a traditional eCommerce platform.
Every eCommerce business owner dreams of making it big one day. Choosing a headless eCommerce platform will future-proof your brand, as the APIs allow you to adjust the visual interface without having to reconfigure the platform when it reaches its limitations.
With API-powered ecommerce platforms, there is no need to create a new site from scratch. It's entirely possible to replace outdated features and integrate new features as your site and business grow.
A personalized ecommerce experience
Personalized commerce is the key to winning the hearts of customers, in the fierce competition that exists in the ecommerce industry.
Following the headless approach helps to personalize a fluid, dynamic and personalized shopping experience for your consumers. You have full control over store layout and content management thanks to the flexibility of the interface while enjoying fast loading speeds and consistent backend performance depending on your chosen platform.
Really go omnichannel
Omnichannel and headless commerce are an ideal combination. Since the headless approach allows you to offer a seamless shopping experience, regardless of how customers communicate with your company.
A headless CMS can optimize content for any IoT (Internet of Things) connected device, such as a smartwatch or voice shopping. The experience remains the same without interruption, and customers can enjoy your business on their favorite shopping channels.
Do you want to add rich features to your current eCommerce store? API-centric eCommerce platforms provide endless integration opportunities to create an out-of-the-box shopping experience.
9 Headless eCommerce Platforms You Can Consider
1. B2BStore - The B2B headless platform.
Specially developed for companies that operate B2B models, B2BStore is a headless ecommerce platform, based on Magento Open Source and PWA Studio (React frontend), which makes it easy for B2B retailers and manufacturers —from any industry— not only to sell online, but also: implement best-in-class ecommerce technologies, create custom features that help them achieve business goals, and get to market quickly with an easy store setup process and low development cost.
In addition to the headless approach, B2BStore is positioned as a high-performance composable architecture platform that allows companies not only to connect various technologies, but also to take advantage of all the advantages of the AWS cloud. Additionally, if you are looking to scale from a B2B model to a B2B2C model, with total flexibility and customization, this platform may be your best cost-value option.
2. HCL Commerce
HCL Commerce is an all-in-one enterprise ecommerce platform, offering powerful customer experiences across B2C, B2B, B2B2B, B2B2C and marketplace models, especially for businesses with large-scale and complex needs.
In addition to a renewed headless approach, with HCL Commerce it is possible to 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 various storefronts by brand, country and currency. All this is based on the best industry practices such as SPA, RWD and PWA.
Following 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.
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 fit. 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.
4. Adobe Commerce
Formerly known as Magento, the platform is now part of the product giant Adobe's suite. Adobe Commerce enables 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 strong foundation for building personalized shopping experiences.
A fully scalable and extensible platform, Adobe Commerce allows you 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.
5. Shopify Plus
Hugely popular, Shopify is a cloud-based commerce platform for small and medium-sized businesses. Shopify Plus, meanwhile, is the version for high-growth business customers that offers a headless commerce approach. Shopify Plus allows you to transform any device into a potential sales channel and offers unlimited extensibility with a large number of integrations.
Developers are free to choose the frontend frameworks that work best for a particular channel and can also integrate third-party tools and systems. Established businesses will find Shopify Plus pricing to be the best for them, but growing brands between traditional Shopify and Shopify Plus may find it expensive.
6. Salesforce Commerce Cloud
Salesforce Commerce Cloud is part of the Salesforce suite of products. It provides an agile commerce platform on top of Salesforce CRM, which means connecting to other products within the suite is easy. Salesforce Commerce enables you to adopt API-first commerce to enhance your customers' shopping experience.
Additionally, ecommerce stores can take advantage of Salesforce's library of pre-built integrations to further enhance their websites and even develop mobile apps. While Salesforce Commerce Cloud is great for connecting a powerful suite, it can create challenges integrating tools outside of the suite and maintaining a light technology stack that allows eCommerce stores to remain flexible and adaptable.
Commercetools is a leading commerce platform built on MACH principles. The Microservices-based, API-first, Cloud-based, and Headless-based solution enables ecommerce stores to tailor customer experiences to their needs.
At Commercetools they seek to differentiate themselves from legacy suites through the use of the MACH architecture and the adoption of a "best in class" and composable commerce approach. While Commercetools advocates headless commerce, it does so in a way that can be difficult for some eCommerce stores to comprehend. Since it is necessary to code and integrate additional tools and functions to take full advantage of the platform.
8. Kibo Commerce
It's a cloud-based ecommerce platform that enables you to launch personalized commerce experiences on a modular, future-proof architecture. Kibo Commerce's API-first and microservices-based architecture aligns with modern headless commerce platforms and can help businesses meet customer demand while staying agile.
Kibo also includes additional solutions as part of a suite of products, including order management and point of sale. The platform is also highly extensible and supports various customizations for any business. While Kibo offers many features, it may also require extensive developer support and customization to get the most out of the platform.
9. Elastic Path
It is a composable and API-first headless ecommerce solution. It enables brands to launch and deliver digital commerce experiences across multiple touchpoints and markets. Elastic Path supports omnichannel commerce that seamlessly unifies the shopping journey across any touchpoint.
With APIs, the platform can also connect to other tools within the trading technology stack, including ERP systems, search and trading tools, and more. As a modern tool that highlights the benefits of autonomous trading, Elastic Path offers several advantages, but may lack ease of use and have a steep learning curve for business customers.
10. Spryker Commerce Cloud
It is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution that uses an API-based, composite architecture. This allows developers to use Spryker's Glue API to connect to any interface and create a unique headless experience. It is possible to connect to a voice assistant or smart shelf that detects when a product has left the shelf using sensors.
Spryker has a steep learning curve for those unfamiliar with the platform, which can lengthen deployment times.
Now is your turn!
What is the best platform? The answer has to do with the particular characteristics of your business. All the platforms that we have mentioned in this article have a headless approach to commerce, with the best possibilities for the future of online stores, which seek to offer shopping experiences on any device.
However, headless trading can still be difficult for some companies to understand. And surely, most solutions will need the support of an experienced technology partner specialized in ecommerce. To help you establish a smooth technology strategy and implementation, without risk to the business.