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Unlock the Power of Headless Commerce

Learn how headless commerce can bring your unique commerce vision to life.


What is headless commerce?

Headless commerce is an eCommerce architecture in which the front-end and back-end are decoupled. The front-end of your eCommerce experience is customer-facing. It’s the user interface customers engage with on your website, app, or another medium. The back-end of your eCommerce operation is the business logic layer – your site’s structure, systems, data, and logic. At the center of a decoupled, headless commerce architecture are headless commerce APIs. These APIs are software interfaces that help your front-end and back-end talk to each other. With headless commerce, your brand can deliver unique customer experiences from best-of-breed business solutions.

Breaking down headless commerce architecture

A headless architecture is when the presentation layer of an application is separated from back-end services. Headless architecture is achieved by adding application programming interfaces (APIs), allowing commerce functions to be accessed by any front end. Front-end developers can use these APIs to deliver customer experiences to any screen or connected device with any technology or customer experience platform they desire.

A headless architecture puts the creative and innovation power back in the hands of those responsible for the customer experience by enabling front-end developers to continuously iterate and evolve the customer experience without any dependency or impact on the back-end commerce platform.

This means faster release cycles with less regression testing and minimal risk of changes having disastrous, unintended consequences. Conversely, enhancements to back-end commerce functions can be deployed without fear of “breaking” the customer experience.

How does headless commerce work?

A headless commerce platform provides all the commerce services an organization needs to commerce-enable any application or customer experience. However, organizations must decide how they will build and deliver those customer experiences. Fortunately, a headless architecture provides the flexibility to use any application, such as a CMS (Content Management System), DXP (Digital Experience Platform) or, use any technology like Angular or React front-end frameworks to create compelling experiences.

The front-end application or technology of your choice will communicate with the headless Commerce platform through its APIs to access commerce data and services such as catalog content, pricing, and customer profile information.

Organizations using headless commerce aren’t forced into a single front-end approach and can instead select the best customer experience application or technology based on the experience they want to deliver and their organizational capabilities. For example, to create and deliver an online store, your mobile application team may choose to use React Native while the web team may opt to use a CMS application.

Headless commerce features

Headless commerce provides a variety of features and capabilities to decision-makers in your business. Learn how headless commerce unlocks your team’s skills and creativity:

Headless Commerce Benefits

Learn about the benefits of headless commerce for brands that sell online.


Headless commerce architecture fosters flexibility. Your front-end and back-end work independently at their own pace to create new user experiences and maintain the best existing user experiences.

Accelerated Innovation

Accelerate your team’s innovation and experiment with new ideas and touchpoints. Meet customer expectations without disrupting your IT team or compromising your back-end technology.

Personalized Customer Experience

Leverage customer information – such as past purchase data – to enable a personalized customer experience. Feature promotions, offers, and browsing capabilities relevant to every customer.

Unified Commerce Experience

Power all customer touchpoints in a single platform. Create a unified commerce experience that allows customers to begin a purchase journey on one channel and finish it later on another.

Headless Commerce Challenges

Learn about the challenges of a headless commerce approach.

Development Resource Requirements

A headless commerce architecture requires the front-end presentation layer and back-end functionality layer to be separated. To do that, you may need to hire additional resources to customize and manage each layer according to your business requirements. So, rather than working with your all-in-one platform’s support team, you will most likely have to hire both front-end and back-end developers if you don’t already have those resources in-house.

Orchestrating a headless commerce solution

Instead of having your platform provide you with a pre-built, all-in-one solution for your business, your teams will have to design and configure your solution from scratch. Headless commerce takes more time and money upfront to customize a unique solution.

Headless commerce vs. traditional commerce

When eCommerce was born, most customers browsed and placed orders online through a desktop browser experience. Then came the explosion of smartphones, which forced organizations to find workarounds to deliver buying experiences through these new mobile devices. The trouble was, the all-in-one commerce platforms they were using were built specifically for the web.

Fast forward a decade and this same challenge continues to play out as organizations struggle to keep up with all the channels and touchpoints their customers use. Since traditional monolithic commerce platforms were built with a specific channel in mind, customer experiences are tightly coupled to back-end commerce functions. This makes it difficult for organizations to create the social, voice, or chatbot-based buying experiences their customers want today. Now, it’s like the launch of the smartphone is happening regularly.

With Headless Commerce, organizations aren’t limited to any one channel. They can easily commerce enable any experience and, since all customer experiences leverage the same back-end commerce services and customer data, they are seamless as customers traverse touchpoints.

To put it simply, Headless Commerce makes the customer experience fluid between any channel, device or touchpoint.

Want to learn more about the difference between headless commerce and traditional commerce? Read about the difference between headless and traditional to decide which approach is right for your business.

Headless Commerce FAQs

How to get started with headless commerce

Ready to give headless commerce a try?

You don’t have to buy. Elastic Path offers a headless commerce demo.

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