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What is headless commerce?

Surely you have heard many times that Shopware 6 follows a headless commerce approach. Also, we have mentioned this in our blog articles several times. A headless commerce approach is defined by the ability to flexibly test and develop websites. Well, this is the simple definition of the term. Anyway, let’s go more in-depth in this article. 

Simplified: 

By using headless commerce, your store can look different on every channel. That’ s made possible by the headless commerce approach. In addition, headless commerce offers the possibility to expand stores faster or to adapt new developments. All this makes the store more future-proof. Also, you have the possibility to use the newest technology and features in the frontend.

The exact definition & function of headless commerce

Headless was originally an architectural term from the IT industry. 

An e-commerce store consists on the parts of the backend (code level & logic), the administration area and the frontend ( that what the customer finally sees).

The term headless commerce means that the backend and frontend are separated from each other. 

This allows in practice to use the backend and admin interface of Shopware. On the other hand, it is possible to develop an own solution for the frontend. 

In the beginning, store systems offered the frontend and backend as a single package. This meant a constant coupling. 

By decoupling, headless commerce has many small, individual solutions which function separately from each other. Through API’s (interfaces) the separated front- and backend can still communicate with each other. By the way, you also have the possibility to link third-party systems such as Amazon or SAP with your Shopware store through APIs.

By API’s the data exchange from the front- and backend is regulated. Moreover, both frontend and backend can be developed and tested meanwhile the data connection is maintained. 

That’s the definition. But why is headless commerce exactly useful to you?

A simple visual pic to describe what Headless Commerce works like

Why is the headless commerce approach so popular?

In the early days of online shopping in the 90′ s, companies needed a tightly connected front- & backend. It made sense, because at that time there was only the desktop PC. Since then, technology has evolved rapidly. Today, customers access your online store from desktop, mobile or tablet. (& a few even via their TV). 

Because of this fact, your online store has to be perfectly tailored to the different devices. After all, no one wants to annoy their customers with a bad user experience. Cutting works it best with headless commerce. After all, here you can expect no negative impact on your backend due the decoupling. 

Another advantage of decoupling is that changes can be easily tested in the frontend. This way, changes can be tested to see if they are good and serve a good user experience. While the changes are being tested, there are no negative effects on the backend. As a result, companies are more flexible when it comes to improvements to their own store. In addition, there is no additional work or problems. 

In addition, today no one wants to sell only in one online store. Instead, they want to sell on many different channels (multichannel). In fact, the reason for this is that these marketplaces have a higher traffic than the own online store. By the development of headless commerce the basic idea were to connect such systems easily to their own. 

By doing so, you also ensure that the omnichannel experience of your business improves. Are you not sure what an omnichannel is? Then learn more about the omnichannel approach in this article.

So, now we know why headless commerce is so popular nowadays. But have you ever wondered what the concrete differences are between headless & traditional e-commerce?

The difference between headless commerce & traditional e-commerce

Headless commerce offers you the possibility of absolute flexibility. In contrast, traditional e-commerce platforms only offer a complete package. Because of the rigid structure of traditional e-commerce platforms, changes are usually very difficult. If you want to change something here, you need to adapt the code of the frontend as well as the backend. As a result, all conceivable changes are very time-consuming. 

In headless commerce, you can make changes very easily and quickly. Mostly, you only have to adapt an API. You can even change the complete shopping experience with a new storefront.

What are the specific benefits of headless commerce?

  • The flexibility. Being able to quickly adapt to new conditions is indispensable today
  • With headless commerce you can quickly open up new sales channels
  • The foundation for your omnichannel solution
  • The user experience is better and can always move forward
  • General: You get a clear market advantage with headless commerce

Shopware 6 & headless commerce

Shopware 6 was developed for the need to use e-commerce on every imaginable device. This separation was completely revised in Shopware 6. By the way, Shopware 6 only displays content that is perfectly tailored to the customer and their device. In connection with headless commerce, the term PWA (Progressive Web App) is also frequently used. It is important to note that PWA should not be confused with headless commerce. PWA is just one component of headless commerce.

Anyway, in the end, headless commerce has become an essential part of the modern e-commerce landscape. With Shopware 6, Shopware offers you all the possibilities to make your e-commerce landscape look as modern as possible.