Ecommerce Options Available
Traditionally e-commerce websites have been created using well-established frameworks like Shopify, Magento & WooCommerce. More recently these have been joined by the likes of BigCommerce, Squarespace & Wix, all of which provide a quick and easy way of starting to sell online.
What all of the aforementioned e-commerce platforms have in common is that they are tightly coupled with the storefront that the customer sees. Both website and admin backend are running together on the same server and it is that server which creates the e-commerce website. In addition to this, there are limitations in terms of developing the site exactly as you want it. The design of the site is constrained by the platform itself, and the more flexible a platform is in the design options, the more expensive it becomes to develop.
A more recent addition to the e-commerce space has been the headless e-commerce framework. Headless simply refers to the fact that the framework itself doesn't have a storefront, it simply implements the e-commerce backend functionality whilst leaving you free to create, design and customise your online shop using any technology you like. The website (or App...or both) then makes API calls to the e-commerce backend to display to the user and facilitate the sales.
The headless e-commerce space has become very busy very quickly with frameworks like Elasticpath, Vendure and Open Source Sylius whilst the likes of Magento, BigCommerce and Shopify have created Headless versions of their frameworks.
Using a headless e-commerce architecture opens up a wide variety of additional sales channels and routes to market. A headless e-commerce solution can not only allow sales through a website but also provides e-commerce functionality to Mobile Apps, IoT devices and in-person Point of Sale devices.
With this level of decoupling of the front and backend of an e-commerce framework, you achieve total freedom to create a unique and fast shopping experience for the user and a faster time to market. It also allows you to easily change your storefront website in the future, whether that be design or underlying technology, without touching any of the e-commerce backend code.
Many large multi-national businesses' have embraced this new architecture to improve their customer's shopping experience, including Nike, Under Armour, Target & Debenhams.
Taking Headless Ecommerce Static
Due to the nature of modern static site generators and website build tools, headless e-commerce can fit perfectly into this architecture. Communication is made to the headless API during the build process and creates a static website that can be hosted on any server at a minimal cost.
Realtime interactions with the backend, such as authentication, inventory queries and sales, can be handled using API requests whilst the user interacts with the site.
For those on an ultra-low budget, products like Snipcart enable e-commerce functionality to be added to any static website with little more than adding a snippet of code to the site.
There are many e-commerce solutions available and the ideal solution will depend on a business' requirements and budget.
We continue to promote a headless approach to developing e-commerce websites and would welcome a no-obligation chat about what solution would be the best fit.
If you would like to discuss your e-commerce project please do get in touch.