Headless Commerce Platforms: Which One Will Give Your Business the Edge?
- DATE PUBLISHED (17/4/2023)
- READ TIME (5MIN)
Headless commerce platforms offer unparalleled scalability and flexibility, allowing businesses to create a truly unique shopping experience for their customers. With APIs, businesses can interact with customers on multiple touchpoints and easily integrate third-party tools and services to personalize the experience.
In this article, we'll compare the top 5 headless commerce platforms and provide insights into the pros and cons of each platform.
On this page -
How to Get Started with Headless Commerce?
Comparison of Popular Headless Commerce Platforms - Table View
Top 5 Headless Commerce Platforms in 2023
How to Get Started with Headless Commerce?
If you're still here, you know the importance of keeping your eCommerce team agile and your customers happy. But how do you achieve both of these goals simultaneously?
Well, there are two ways to go about it. The first is to build the front end from scratch. Now, this is an option that's best suited for those with a large development team. But let's be honest here, building everything from scratch can be a pain.
After all, you still need to buy various foundational pieces for the build and sew them all together to build a perfectly tailored and functional eCommerce platform.
It's a lot to handle. It's like trying to build a house from the ground up with a blueprint that looks like a jumbo puzzle.
And let's not forget about the responsibility of managing these services. You have to select third-party APIs and middleware, which is overwhelming. If you're up for the challenge, then go for it. But for most of us, hiring a trustworthy eCommerce agency specializing in headless commerce development is best.
Now, the second option is a bit more exciting, in my opinion.
You can build with a front-end service provider like Vue Storefront. This is ideal for those who want to focus on revenue-building activities instead of building software. I mean, who wouldn't want to do that?
Front-end providers eliminate the complexities of selecting middleware, hosting, rendering, and APIs by bundling everything together.
With an expert by your side, you can focus on creating quality content, enhancing user experience, and keeping your customers satisfied.
So, there you have two options to achieve the same goal.
It's essential to remember that by taking advantage of the right tools and services, you can stay ahead of the game and keep your customers coming back for more.
Here’s a quick look at what the process will look like -
Determine whether you should keep or switch your commerce platform. You may add APIs to the existing commerce platform (like Shopify). If you are doing business at the enterprise level, switch to a SaaS solution for more scalability and flexibility.
Pick a headless CMS if you're working to deliver content to visitors on multiple channels. The same rule applies - pick open source if you've resources to build and deploy it or go for a SaaS solution if you want to get started quicker and leaner.
Sync your CMS and APIs to integrate your front-end and backend. Experts recommend syncing APIs to smaller sections is the best way to move forward, primarily if you work independently. Test, optimize, and then scale up.
Comparing the Top Headless Commerce Platforms
Top 5 Headless Commerce Platforms in 2023
Although the regular Shopify plan can work for headless commerce, it may come with some challenges. For instance, you may have to rely heavily on third-party apps for headless functionality. On the other hand, Shopify Plus is a more comprehensive solution with headless commerce capabilities built-in.
Its headless stack is built on React-based Hydrogen, which comes pre-built with valuable components, hooks, and utilities. The platform also offers extensive API documentation, which can help your team to integrate and get started quickly.
Pros of Using Shopify for Headless Commerce -
Increased site speed and conversion rates
Better user experience
Added SEO value
With headless, merchants don't have to worry about losing customers over slow site speed because it's only the storefront that shoppers need to access the store. With snappy page loads and instant transitions, Shopify's new Hydrogen built with Remix gives a better user experience.
Since URL structures play a big part in how customers will find you on the web, Shopify Plus also allows you to customize your URL structure fully. A big plus if you're migrating from another. Shopify's built-in globally distributed hosting platform, Oxygen, is the fastest way to deploy Hydrogen and accelerate development workflows.
Shopify's Hydrogen is optimized for headless commerce and is designed to offer high performance. It includes features like-
Optimistic UI, which reduces load times and provides near-instant transitions between pages.
Nested routes allow merchants to group related products or collections together, making it easier for customers to navigate through the store.
Advancements like streaming SSR that can improve the user experience by reducing load times and providing seamless transitions between pages.
These features make the storefront fast and efficient, which is crucial in today's fast-paced eCommerce industry, where customers expect quick and seamless browsing experiences.
And for those operating stores through mobile apps and web stores, Shopify's headless framework is a blessing as the mobile and web teams can work on a single system architecture, design documentation, and share their learnings.
Cons of Using Shopify for Headless Commerce -
No more Shopify's theme editor
Dependency on developers
Full customization will require developer support
You can no longer use Shopify's built-in design features, including themes, templates, or other design elements. Instead, you must design your frontend and its design elements from scratch.
Or you can choose to start with the hydrogen demo store, which is more suitable for base-level eCommerce services.
Full customization will require developer support, and managing multiple frontends can sometimes be difficult for inexperienced or understaffed development teams.
2. Adobe Commerce
Adobe's headless platform is designed for high-volume and enterprise businesses.
One of the unique capabilities of Adobe Commerce is its platform flexibility, which offers a variety of storefronts, including coupled, PWA, and Adobe Experience Manager. This feature allows merchants to create an app-like shopping experience across multiple touchpoints, including augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), resulting in faster page loading times and happier shoppers.
Pros of using Adobe Commerce for headless eCommerce -
Unlimited customization options for your storefront
Faster page loading times
Improved customer experience
Support for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)
With Adobe Commerce, you have unlimited customization options for your storefront, which means you can tailor the shopping experience to match your brand and meet your customers' needs.
The platform's headless architecture allows for faster page loading times, which can significantly impact conversion rates. Faster page loading times can improve customer experience, making happier shoppers more likely to purchase. And with support for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), Adobe Commerce can offer your customers a truly immersive shopping experience.
Cons to using Adobe for headless eCommerce-
A high budget is required for best-in-class experiences.
While Adobe Commerce offers unlimited customization options and support for advanced features like AR and VR, it's important to note that you'll need a significant budget to match the best-in-class experiences. As a result, this platform may not be the best choice for small businesses or startups just starting with headless eCommerce.
So, that's Adobe Commerce for you! If you're interested in exploring the platform further, check out this blog on What is Adobe Commerce for more information.
3. Big Commerce
BigCommerce is another popular headless eCommerce platform known for its user-friendly interface and robust features. Let's dive into the pros and cons of using BigCommerce for headless eCommerce.
Pros of using BigCommerce for headless eCommerce -
Flexible and customizable API-based approach to commerce services
Integrations available for digital experience platforms, CMS, and popular frontend frameworks
Multi-site management capabilities
BigCommerce offers an easy-to-use interface for building and managing your eCommerce store, making it an excellent choice for businesses looking to get up and running quickly.
It offers a flexible and customizable API-based approach to commerce services, allowing greater flexibility and customization. With integrations available for digital experience platforms, CMS, and popular frontend frameworks, BigCommerce offers excellent flexibility and versatility.
The platform also provides multi-site management capabilities, which means you can manage all your store operations from a single view of inventory and stock.
Cons of using BigCommerce for headless eCommerce -
Limited customization options compared to some other platforms
Checkout forms managed by BigCommerce
Higher transaction fees for some payment gateways
While BigCommerce offers many benefits, its customization options are somewhat limited compared to other headless eCommerce platforms.
Additionally, BigCommerce manages the checkout forms for your customers, which can be a convenient feature for some, but others may prefer to provide a more personalized experience for returning customers.
Some payment gateways on BigCommerce may charge higher transaction fees than other platforms, impacting your overall profitability.
4. Salesforce Commerce Cloud
Commerce Cloud, Salesforce's cloud-based headless eCommerce platform, is a popular choice among businesses of all sizes.
Pros of using Salesforce Commerce Cloud for headless eCommerce -
Template-based model enriched with the right tools.
Supported by some of the best eCommerce development experts in the industry.
Salesforce PWA kit with Commerce Managed Runtime.
Range of integrations with popular technologies and platforms
Highly customizable platform
Commerce Cloud offers a template-based model enriched with the right tools, making it easy for businesses to set up and manage their headless eCommerce store. The platform is also supported by some of the industry's best eCommerce development experts, ensuring you have access to top-notch support and guidance.
One of the standout features of Commerce Cloud is the Salesforce PWA (Progressive Web App) kit, which comes with the Commerce Managed Runtime, covering all your security, hosting, and scalability needs. You can focus less on operational tasks and more on innovation and business growth.
Additionally, Commerce Cloud offers a range of integrations with popular technologies and platforms, making it easy to connect with other tools you may already be using. The platform is also highly customizable, allowing you to tailor the experience to your business needs.
Cons of using Salesforce Commerce Cloud for headless eCommerce -
Higher pricing compared to some other platforms.
The steep learning curve for less tech-savvy users
While Commerce Cloud offers many benefits, it's also important to consider its cons. The platform's pricing is higher than other headless eCommerce platforms, which may not be feasible for small businesses. Additionally, Commerce Cloud may have a steep learning curve for less tech-savvy users, making setting up and managing your headless eCommerce store challenging.
Our final platform is Fabric, a flexible headless eCommerce architecture that promises to give you the power to create your own unique eCommerce platform without worrying about re-platforming.
Pros of using Fabric for headless eCommerce -
Flexible headless architecture
Ability to use the whole platform or select specific elements
Connect headless APIs with any backend system
Fabric offers a flexible headless architecture that allows businesses to create a tailor-made customer experience. You can use the whole platform commerce solution or select specific elements like an order management system or experience management platforms to meet your business needs.
One of the standout features of Fabric is the ability for developers to connect headless APIs with any backend system, giving you the freedom to unleash your creativity and build the eCommerce platform of your dreams.
Cons of using Fabric for headless eCommerce -
Limited integrations compared to some other platforms
It may require significant development resources to set up and manage.
While Fabric offers a flexible headless architecture, it has some cons. For example, the platform may have limited integrations compared to other headless eCommerce platforms, limiting your ability to connect with other tools you may already be using.
Additionally, setting up and managing Fabric may require significant development resources, which can be challenging for smaller businesses or those with limited technical expertise.
Ready to go headless?
And that's it! Now you have a good understanding of what headless commerce is and why it's gaining traction.
If you're ready to take your eCommerce game to the next level and go headless, our team at Coderapper is here to help. We specialize in headless commerce development and can provide you with the expertise and support you need to make the transition as smooth as possible.
So, what are you waiting for? Let's make some magic happen!
Is Magento a Headless CMS?
Yes, Magento is capable of being used as a headless CMS by utilizing its APIs. Magento PWA Studio is a suite of tools designed to create headless storefronts for Magento.
Is Salesforce B2B Commerce Headless?
Yes, Salesforce B2B Commerce offers headless commerce capabilities through its Commerce API, which allows for easy integration with third-party systems.
Is Oracle Commerce Headless?
Yes, Oracle Commerce provides headless commerce capabilities for businesses through its Commerce Cloud platform. The platform allows for seamless integration with front-end applications and other services.
Is Shopify a Headless Commerce Platform?
Yes, Shopify offers a headless commerce solution through Shopify Plus, which includes APIs and tools for building custom storefronts and integrating them with other services.
Is SAP Commerce Cloud Headless?
Yes, SAP Commerce Cloud offers headless commerce capabilities through its REST APIs and GraphQL API. The platform allows for flexible integration with front-end applications and third-party services.
Is Headless CMS the Same as Headless Commerce?
No, headless CMS refers to a content management system that separates the content creation and presentation layers, while headless commerce platforms refer to eCommerce platforms that separate the frontend presentation layer from the backend eCommerce functionality.