What is Headless E-commerce?

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The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how customers buy products and shop online. For your online business to survive, it must be able to adapt to changes in customer expectations and needs.

Keeping up with the changing e-commerce landscape means having a headless e-commerce structure. But what exactly does headless e-commerce mean? Let’s find out in this blog!


Meaning of Headless E-commerce

Headless e-commerce is that buzzword everyone has heard but rarely understands. Fortunately, we have in this article an easily understandable explanation for what headless e-commerce means.

At its most basic, a headless e-commerce architecture is one where the front-end and back-end are separated. The ‘head’ is the front-end or interface that customers interact with; it’s responsible for the overall user experience (UX).

On the other hand, the back-end is the part that drives the functionality of the e-commerce platform. It refers to the database, application and server that are responsible for the operation of the e-commerce site.

In traditional e-commerce software, the front end and the back end are coupled together. Before you can change anything on the front end, you have to change the back end first.

A coupled e-commerce structure places limits on creativity because businesses cannot improve user experience easily or implement faster changes. Each time, they want to tweak the user side of the e-commerce platform, they have to hire a developer to write new code.

Headless e-commerce excises the head (front-end) from the back-end, which explains the ‘headless’ moniker. Hence, you can adjust the front end without needing to tweak the back-end programming.

With headless e-commerce, companies have full control over the front end and can implement design changes faster. Changing anything on the front end is easier and doesn’t require complex code rewrites.

The biggest advantage of having a headless e-commerce platform is the flexibility it gives to improve user experience. When designing their e-commerce platforms, many businesses will place user experience at the bottom of the list of considerations.

This is a huge mistake.

You may be unaware, but the user experience is central to e-commerce success. Nowadays, customers want a rich, smooth experience while shopping online. If your e-commerce site fails on the UX front, sales will suffer.

However, headless e-commerce offers more benefits beyond improvements than a better user experience. The subsequent paragraphs will cover some of the benefits of headless e-commerce for your business.


Benefits of Headless E-commerce

From what you’ve heard, you know headless e-commerce is great. But what are the benefits of headless e-commerce for your site? Here’s a rundown of the advantages of using a headless e-commerce architecture:

  • Increases flexibility
    A headless e-commerce structure gives you more flexibility when it comes to tweaking the front end of your online e-commerce site. The developer can modify the front end without affecting the back-end code.
    This flexibility also allows for more creativity when designing the front end. The developer can do things like changing layouts, adding properties, etc, all without touching the back end.
  • Better site safety
    Under a traditional e-commerce structure, the front-end and back-end are linked. If malicious individuals access the front end, they can easily breach the back end and take over the entire site.
    A headless e-commerce operation separates the front end and the back end. They still work together, but each is independent of the other.
    As such, hackers cannot breach the back end even if they breach the front end. This reduces the likelihood of the entire platform falling under the control of malicious individuals.
  • Quicker delivery of content
    Headless e-commerce allows developers to use API to pull information stored in the back-end and send it anywhere — and rapidly, too. The API is a self-contained software that isn’t limited by external frameworks, processes, and systems.
    This means the API can deliver content at a rapid rate compared to traditional variants. It also lets e-commerce platforms deliver content to more custom delivery channels
  • Faster speed to market
    Today’s e-commerce industry is ever-changing. In particular, trends relating to the user experience are evolving; your online business will have to react to these changes quickly to survive.
    But that’s impossible with traditional e-commerce software. These software models require complex back-end development before you can adjust the front-end.
    Headless e-commerce promotes faster changes to the front end and allows you to introduce new features quickly. This is good, as greater speed to market is important in e-commerce.
  • Reaches customers via multiple channels
    In the past, customers made purchases through their PCs. Things are different now; people shop through smartphones, tablets and other Internet-of-things (IoT) devices.
    Most traditional e-commerce software is suited to delivering content only to websites. This can severely limit your online business’s ability to put products in front of more people.
    Headless e-commerce software can deliver content to multiple channels through APIs. So the user experience will be optimal whether the customer is accessing your platform via a PC, tablet, mobile phone, or ‘smart’ device.


What are the Disadvantages of Headless E-commerce?

We’re not going to pretend that headless e-commerce is a magic pill with no side effects. Like everything, headless e-commerce has a few of its advantages. Here are some:

  • Higher cost of adoption
    A headless solution is great for e-commerce because it lacks a preset front-end layer. Rather, developers will have to build it to adapt to each device.
    This improves user experience, as the content delivery can be tailored to suit customer needs. However, the process can take time to implement and run up your development costs.
  • Increased complexity
    Headless e-commerce software uses APIs to retrieve information from the back end of the site. Naturally, this makes for faster and more seamless delivery of content.
    The problem with APIs is that you’ll need an experienced developer to set it up for you. You could do it yourself, but only if you are a master software programmer.
  • Limited marketing friendliness
    Headless e-commerce architecture has no front-end presentation layer. This can be problematic when trying to develop your e-commerce platform.
    To start with, previewing content to see how it’ll look on devices used by customers will be difficult. Also, creating and publishing content can be difficult, as you have to depend on another department.
  • Increased cost of ownership
    Building a headless e-commerce site usually requires more development than your average Shopify or WooCommerce store. This often means more money is spent on hiring developers to get the platform running.


Common Features of Headless E-commerce

There are many headless e-commerce solutions available. Here are the basic things a good headless e-commerce software should help you do:

  • It should manage inventory
  • It should manage orders
  • It should be able to manage shipping costs
  • It should be able to process payments
  • It should be able to generate analytical reports


Best Headless E-commerce Software 2020

With so many options claiming headless e-commerce capabilities, it can be difficult to decide what’s best for you. Still confused? Look through our overview of the best headless e-commerce software:

  • Shopify Plus
    You probably know Shopify, the uber-popular e-commerce platform for small to medium-sized businesses. But you may not know Shopify Plus, which is essentially Shopify for large enterprises.
    Unlike its regular sibling, Shopify has more e-commerce capabilities. Plus, it adopts a headless approach that provides a richer experience for end users.
  • Magento
    An open-source e-commerce software, Magento provides you with a highly dynamic shopping cart. It also gives you greater control over the site’s functionalities, content, and design.
  • BigCommerce
    BigCommerce is one of the most popular services for running e-commerce sites. It is quite great for large enterprises, with its advanced built-in functionality, data resources, and customization.
    Also, BigCommerce operates a headless system — it decouples the front-end presentation layer from the back-end commerce engine. Its headless solution helps brands have more flexibility to stay ahead of the competition.
  • ElasticPath
    ElasticPath is billed as a headless e-commerce software that facilitates the integration of e-commerce into enterprise ERP systems. This is one of the headless e-commerce platforms that uses API to increase functionality.
  • Daalder
    Daalder is a Laravel-based e-commerce solution that takes a headless approach to building e-commerce platforms. It grants you flexibility as regards choosing whatever framework you want for your back-end or front-end.
    Daalder uses Laravel for the back end but allows you to choose any framework for your front end. You can choose WordPress CMS framework for the front-end or even React or Vue.JS — the possibilities are infinite!
    Daalder realized early on that business owners and developers often want different things. Business owners want an easy way to manage content on the front end. Developers want a back-end solution that is easy to set up, scalable and provides optimal documentation.
    Daalder creates headless e-commerce platforms that provide the best of both worlds. All you have to do is feed the API to take full advantage of the solution’s headless capabilities.



Running your e-commerce platform using a headless approach can do wonders for your sales and conversions. Especially if you have an enterprise-level online business, a headless e-commerce solution like Daalder is advisable.

Using the Laravel framework, Daalder builds e-commerce solutions that are headless, scalable, and flexible. Want a demo? Drop a message for us today!

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