5 Tips for Transitioning to Headless Technology

Thought Leadership

By Iñaki Barturen | March 28, 2022
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As the eCommerce industry grows, so does the demand for site architecture that enables peak flexibility and control. Headless site architecture provides these benefits and addresses some of the shortcomings of traditional commerce technologies.

Headless technologies allow your site to integrate easily with new tools, and help your team move from design to launch faster. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the merits of headless technologies, and how you can benefit from them. 

Why is headless commerce a great option?

The term headless commerce refers to an approach to building your site architecture that separates the front-end from the back-end. So as your customers are interacting with the front-end of your product, you can easily make changes to data queries or operations in the back-end. Headless technologies can be used to support eCommerce as well as any digital asset experience.

One example of the flexibility that a headless approach provides is how much it equips and empowers teams. Team members can go ahead and publish content without having advanced coding knowledge, removing friction during build processes, and empowering the creativity of individual team contributors. 

There are several benefits that headless technology provides for your eCommerce store:

  • Omnichannel management: It facilitates the implementation of an omnichannel strategy, optimizing customer interaction and generating loyalty. It enables you to integrate cutting-edge tools across social media, AR, virtual assistants, smart devices, and IoT technologies.

  • Payment systems: You can integrate payment systems that handle transactions in different currencies during international transactions.

  • Customized experiences: It enables you to fully customize your site interface and generate unique experiences for target customer demographics.

  • Simplified tech stack: By outsourcing part of your site functionality to other tools that you integrate with (like payment systems), your tech stack and maintenance requirements are simplified. This creates greater operational efficiency.

  • Site speed: Your content is distributed through a global network of nodes. This lowers latency, providing a better experience for your customer.

  • Site security: You can Implement cyber security updates quickly and optimize PCI DSS. Each vendor that you involve in your tech stack is responsible for maintaining security standards and data protection.

  • Scalability:  Headless technology helps optimize your store scalability since you can plug tools in and out as you wish.

Looking at these benefits, headless technology is ideal for large brands trying to maintain a handful of web properties that process a high volume of transactions. When you have hundreds of product pages, you need a scalable set of tools to ensure your customer experience is optimized in a competitive environment.

Making the switch to headless technology

If you are on a traditional (monolithic) site architecture, here are some things to be aware of when considering the switch to headless technologies. 

1. Impacts on customer experience

One great thing about headless technologies is that you can adopt the system as fast or slow as you’d like, without causing disruptions to your customer service experience.

If you’ve only worked with monolithic, or head-end architecture, you may be under the impression that migrating from one system to another means you’re replacing your platform entirely. With headless technologies, this is not the case.

Headless architecture enables you to migrate your content and systems in phases. You can progressively replace functionality starting with your biggest priorities, and keep the rest of your site intact. 

One tip when beginning is to choose an area that is critical but has a small surface area. Maybe for your business, this could be all mobile content. As you progress in implementing headless, you will start to experience the benefits and freedom it provides. You’ll start to see which parts of your site you want to replace, and which you want to keep as is. Over time, you can migrate more complex functions as you see fit.

2. Alignment between commerce and IT teams

Your commerce and IT teams will need to work hand in hand to begin the transition to a headless approach. If your goal is to create the best online store experience for your customers, you’ll need alignment on the priority of features and functions to migrate. 

While these teams may be used to working autonomously, developing shared objectives will be key to finding synergy in an integrated headless environment. 

3. Execute solutions and APIs seamlessly

Headless architecture enables you to build your site leveraging the best features from multiple technology vendors. And while this brings great possibilities, it can also seem overwhelming. You’ll need to do an audit on which tools you actually need, and how you’ll thread them together in the right way to get the maximum value out of them. 

It’s best to choose vendors that have a proven track record. If you’re in the eCommerce space, you’ll want to connect with an expert on how to integrate the technology into your platform.

4. Leverage a technology partner

Migrating to a headless commerce platform will require up-front knowledge to get implementation started. It’s helpful to have a subject matter expert who can guide you through the process to best reach your objectives. 

5. Optimize team communication

During the migration, you’ll have to engage several teams: design, development, and experts from the technology vendors you choose. The effectiveness of your migration will depend on how in sync the stakeholders on your project are.

At Apply Digital, we often help our clients migrate to a headless platform, as we believe it is one of the best ways to set your business up for success in the future. We have a team of experts ready to provide you with seasoned advice for projects large and small. If you would like to explore migrating to a headless platform or would like help with the process, reach out to someone on our team today.