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Headless Commerce Decoded: Everything You Need to Know

 Headless Commerce Decoded: Everything You Need to Know

By Pranu Dhyani

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Headless Commerce Decoded: Everything You Need to Know

Headless commerce is a software architecture that distinctly separates the user interface (frontend) from the operational logic (backend) within a system. These segments communicate via APIs, functioning without rigid dependencies between them.

The essence of headless commerce might seem nebulous without recognizing the pivotal value in separating these system units. It fundamentally empowers unparalleled customization, expedites time-to-market, and allows eCommerce brands to elevate and differentiate the customer journey.

Exploring Headless Commerce Architecture

At its core, headless commerce architecture bifurcates a system into its presentation layer and backend (business logic) components. As a part of the broader composable commerce paradigm, it encompasses varied solutions, including Frontend as a Service (frontend architecture), headless commerce platforms, CMS, and specialized solutions like search and payment systems.

This architecture allows streamlined system construction by assembling loosely coupled elements, likened to digital LEGO blocks. Merchants gain the freedom to compose a bespoke headless stack, tailoring services precisely to their needs. This is made possible through the "headless" API and the core concept of headless commerce integration.

Read How Headless Commerce Works: A Quick Guide

Headless Commerce's Strategic Impact

This approach imbues businesses with agility and adaptability, vital for thriving in the fiercely competitive eCommerce landscape. Unshackled from the confines of predefined frontend technologies, businesses can focus on web performance, mobile optimization, and customer experience without mandatory developer intervention.

Headless eCommerce Benefits

In recent years, headless commerce, also termed as "decoupled commerce," has emerged as an innovative eCommerce approach. This strategy champions unparalleled flexibility, customizability, scalability, and performance enhancement, revolutionizing the customer experience landscape.

Revolutionizing the Presentation Layer

Decoupling the frontend from the backend liberates developers, empowering seamless frontend modifications without impacting backend functionalities. This freedom enables merchants to deploy advanced tools for visually captivating interfaces, swift omnichannel experiences, and swift product launches, unbounded by legacy frontend constraints.

2. Elevating Customer Experience

Empowered by control over the presentation layer, merchants enhance and personalize the customer journey. Coupled with rapid web performance, this directly drives conversions and amplifies revenue, placing paramount importance on delivering an enriched user experience.

3. The Omnichannel Paradigm

Headless commerce unleashes limitless possibilities for omnichannel sales strategies. It liberates marketing experts to swiftly implement website changes sans developer intervention. While omnichannel demands organizational and tech flexibility, the headless approach harmonizes varied touchpoints through headless CMS, disseminating personalized content seamlessly.

4. Accelerating Load Speeds

The headless architecture prioritizes lightning-fast eCommerce sites. Improved site speed impacts SEO, user experience, and conversion rates, positioning it as a pivotal advantage of headless commerce.

5. Rapid Time-to-Market

This approach empowers development teams to independently build, deploy, and scale services, streamlining onboarding and expediting feature rollouts. The segmented structure enables varied development paces, enhancing agility and reducing time-to-market.

6. Unleashing Innovation

With decoupled layers, developers seamlessly introduce, test, and discard features and third-party solutions without system-wide repercussions. This freedom enables independent scaling and swift bug resolution, fostering an environment conducive to innovation and seamless workflow.

Confused between Headless and Composable? Read here 👉 Breaking the Confusion Between Headless and Composable Commerce

Drawbacks of Monolithic Architectures

Traditional or Monolith architectures present several challenges, especially in the eCommerce sector, due to their rigid, interconnected structure. Here are some key drawbacks:

1. Rigid User Experience Design

In the fast-evolving world of eCommerce, staying ahead with the latest user experience (UX) trends is crucial. However, legacy monolithic systems often hinder this agility. Implementing modern JavaScript frameworks for enhanced web performance can be a complex and risky endeavour in these systems because every component is closely interlinked. This rigid structure limits the ability to swiftly adapt to new UX demands.

2. Frontend Development Constraints

In monolithic architectures, frontend developers face significant limitations. Adjusting the frontend to align with new branding or design changes isn't straightforward, as such alterations could inadvertently impact the backend, including the database code. This interdependence restricts creative and technical flexibility.

3. Delayed Market Response

Updating a monolithic system can be a slow and costly process. Even minor changes require extensive testing to avoid system-wide failures, consuming both time and financial resources. This inefficiency leads to slower responses to market demands and opportunities, affecting competitiveness.

4. Limited Customization Options

While monolithic systems initially offer convenience with their all-in-one structure, this benefit can become a drawback as businesses scale. The default features and services of monoliths may not always align with evolving business needs, and the ability to customize or replace these features is often restricted.

5. Challenging Developer Experience

As monolithic systems age, they enter a 'legacy phase' which presents its own set of challenges. Maintaining these systems typically requires a substantial IT team proficient in older programming frameworks (like DB2, C, Pascal, .NET, Java, or Cobol). The focus on maintenance and troubleshooting can detract from the development of new, modern features, ultimately impacting the end-user experience.

6. Scalability Issues

Monoliths often struggle with scalability. As the application grows, the entire system becomes increasingly complex and unwieldy. This can lead to performance issues, especially during high traffic periods, which are common in eCommerce. Scaling a monolith typically means scaling the entire application, even if only one part is under strain, leading to inefficient resource utilization.

7. Difficulty in Integrating New Technologies

The pace of technological advancement is rapid, and integrating new tools or technologies into a monolithic architecture can be a daunting task. The tight coupling of components means that introducing new technologies often requires extensive modifications to the existing system, which can be costly and time-consuming.

Headless commerce vs monolithic commerce

Headless commerce and monolithic commerce architectures represent fundamentally different approaches to building and managing eCommerce platforms. Here's a comparison of the two:

DifferentiatorHeadless CommerceMonolithic Commerce
Architecture and DesignIn a headless commerce architecture, the frontend (the "head") is decoupled from the backend. The backend, where all the commerce functionality resides (like inventory management, payment processing, etc.), communicates with the frontend via APIs. This allows for greater flexibility in how content is presented and managed.Monolithic systems are traditional all-in-one platforms where the frontend and backend are tightly coupled. Changes in the backend can directly affect the frontend, and vice versa, limiting flexibility in design and functionality.
Frontend FlexibilityOffers high flexibility. Businesses can use any technology to build the frontend and can easily change the user interface without impacting the backend systems. This allows for a more tailored user experience and the ability to rapidly adapt to new trends or technologies.Frontend flexibility is limited. Changes to the user interface often require changes to the backend as well, which can be complex and time-consuming.
Integration with Other SystemsEasier to integrate with other systems and services, such as CRM, ERP, or custom applications, thanks to its API-driven nature.Integration can be more challenging and often requires custom development, as the tightly integrated system may not easily accommodate external services or technologies.
ScalabilityMore scalable, as the decoupled nature allows for parts of the system to be scaled independently based on demand.Scaling often means scaling the entire platform, which can be less efficient and more costly.
Speed and PerformanceCan offer better performance, especially in terms of website loading times and dynamic content presentation, as the frontend can be optimized independently of the backend.Performance is dependent on the entire system, which can sometimes lead to slower loading times, especially with complex sites.
Development and MaintenanceAllows for more agile development and easier updates, as changes to the frontend or backend can be made independently. However, it may require more coordination between different teams.Development and maintenance can be simpler in the short term, but making changes or updates can be more cumbersome, as it often impacts the entire system.
CostMight involve higher initial development costs due to the need for separate development of frontend and backend, but can offer cost savings in the long run through efficiency and flexibility.Typically involves lower initial costs but can be more expensive to modify and scale over time.

What is MACH Architecture

MACH architecture represents a modern approach to building technology platforms, characterized by its flexible, scalable, and modular principles. The acronym MACH stands for Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS, and Headless, each representing a key aspect of this architecture:

1. Microservices:

This approach involves developing business functionalities as separate, smaller services. Each service operates independently, with its own development, deployment, and management processes. This segmentation enhances system resilience and facilitates easier updates and maintenance.

2. API-first Design:

In a MACH architecture, every function and service is accessible through APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). This design principle ensures seamless integration of various applications or services, providing a robust foundation for system interoperability and extensibility.

3. Cloud-native SaaS (Software-as-a-Service):

Cloud-native SaaS takes full advantage of cloud computing features, not just for storage and hosting but also for dynamic scaling and resource management. It offers high availability and automatic updates, thereby reducing the need for manual upgrade management and ensuring the latest functionalities are always in use.

4. Headless Architecture:

The headless aspect refers to the separation of the frontend user experience from the backend logic. This decoupling allows unparalleled freedom in designing user interfaces and facilitates easy integration with various channels and devices, such as existing applications, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, augmented reality, vending machines, sensors, and more.

MACH architecture is rapidly gaining traction in the industry for its ability to support a composable enterprise. This means that each component of the system is designed to be plug-and-play, scalable, replaceable, and subject to continuous improvement. Such an architecture empowers businesses to select the best tools available and maintain a flexible system structure that is easy to modify, whether to add, replace, or remove tools as needed. The MACH approach essentially enables businesses to stay agile and responsive to changing technological landscapes and market demands.

Why Storefront APIs are so important in Headless?

In headless commerce architecture, APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) serve as essential conduits, enabling seamless communication between the front-end (the visible part of an application) and back-end services (the operational backend), despite their separation. This decoupled system brings several advantages:

How APIs Work in Headless Architecture:

1. Handling User Requests: When a user interacts with the front-end, such as clicking on a product, the front-end sends an API call to request data. This is the initial point of interaction in a headless setup.

2. Data Retrieval Process: Upon receiving this request, the API communicates with the back-end systems, like databases or services, to gather the required information.

3. Formulating Responses: The back-end systems process and return the data to the API layer, which then formats it into a structured response, usually in formats like JSON or XML. This response is then relayed back to the front-end.

4. Dynamic Presentation on the Front-end: The front-end uses the data received from the API to dynamically update and render the webpage or application interface, enhancing the user experience without needing to reload the entire page.

5. Advantages of a Decoupled Architecture: The separation of front-end and back-end, connected only through APIs, grants developers the freedom to use varied technology stacks on the front-end. This ensures that the development is flexible and tailored to specific needs.

6. Scalability Through Microservices: In headless architectures, the back-end might consist of multiple microservices, each with its own API. This structure further enhances the scalability and allows for independent updating or scaling of different services.

7. Consistent Cross-Platform Experience: Using the same set of APIs, different front-ends (like mobile apps, web applications, etc.) can ensure a consistent user experience across various platforms.

Role of Storefront APIs in Headless Commerce:

1. Independent Operation of Frontend and Backend: Storefront APIs enable the front-end to operate independently from the backend, allowing businesses to update or customize the user interface without affecting backend operations.

2. Omnichannel Consistency: These APIs provide a standard way to access e-commerce functionalities across different platforms, ensuring a uniform and cohesive shopping experience.

3. Improved Performance and Loading Times: By enabling the front-end to request only necessary data, storefront APIs reduce data transfer, thus enhancing the storefront’s performance and loading speed.

4. Personalized User Experiences: They allow real-time backend interactions, enabling the delivery of personalized content and recommendations based on user preferences and behaviour.

5. Facilitating Business Growth: As the business scales up, storefront APIs allow the front-end to independently handle increased traffic and transactions, which is particularly useful during peak times.

6. Encouraging Innovation and Flexibility: These APIs allow the use of modern front-end technologies, fostering rapid innovation and testing of new features or designs.

7. Streamlined Development Process: Providing a clear interface between the front-end and back-end, storefront APIs simplify the development process, supporting parallel development and quicker deployment.

The utilization of APIs in headless commerce architectures empowers businesses to provide dynamic, seamless, and personalized shopping experiences. It aligns with modern consumer expectations while offering the flexibility and scalability businesses need to thrive in the digital marketplace.

Is headless ecommerce for both B2B and B2C Commerce? 

Headless commerce fulfills various capabilities for B2B and B2C businesses by providing a flexible, API-driven architecture. Both B2B and B2C can benefit from Headless Commerce but as there are pros and cons to everything, nothing is perfect. Hence it has some drawbacks too.

Let’s know the distinctions how Headless benefits both the business models.

What is Headless commerce for B2C?

With Headless commerce, B2C companies have the liberty to build their technology stack using the finest eCommerce solutions available, such as headless content management systems (CMS), headless commerce platforms, payment processing services, and advanced search engines. This setup empowers B2C entities to swiftly make adjustments to their frontend, enabling rapid testing and updates to the user interface, all in pursuit of delivering an uninterrupted and engaging shopping journey for customers.

Headless commerce for B2C represents a forward-thinking approach to e-commerce that prioritizes flexibility and customer engagement.

1. Engaging Customer Experiences: The core focus of headless commerce in the B2C sector is on crafting captivating and interactive customer experiences. By decoupling the frontend from the backend, businesses gain the ability to rapidly develop and deploy rich content and interactive elements. This flexibility allows for continual enhancements and quick adaptation to market trends, enabling businesses to keep the user interface fresh, dynamic, and engaging.

2. Personalization of Shopping Journeys: Headless commerce excels in personalization. B2C sites can harness detailed customer data stored in the backend to tailor the shopping experience for each user. This customization can span the entire customer journey, from product discovery based on individual preferences and browsing history to a personalized checkout process. Such personalized experiences are key to capturing and retaining customer attention in the highly competitive B2C market.

3. Adaptability to Diverse Sales Models: The adaptable nature of headless commerce makes it especially suited for various B2C selling strategies. Whether it’s managing time-limited flash sales, offering subscription-based products, or implementing direct-to-consumer sales models, headless commerce provides the necessary flexibility. Each of these sales strategies can be integrated into the e-commerce platform without the need for extensive backend overhauls, allowing businesses to respond quickly to market opportunities and consumer demands.

The headless approach not only caters to the dynamic nature of the B2C market but also aligns with the modern consumer's expectation for engaging, personalized, and varied shopping experiences.

How does it benefit B2C?

1. Personalized Shopping Experiences: B2C businesses thrive on providing personalized content and product recommendations. Headless commerce allows for the use of customer data to tailor the frontend experience without backend dependencies.

2. Rapid Content Delivery: B2C requires quick updates for marketing campaigns and promotions. With headless commerce, content can be pushed rapidly to the frontend without backend overhaul, thus enhancing marketing agility.

3. Omnichannel Customer Journeys: Consumers shop across multiple channels, and headless commerce supports consistent omnichannel experiences by using the same backend services for web, mobile, social media, and more.

4. Scalable Customer Interactions: Headless commerce can handle the high traffic typical of B2C operations, especially during sales or promotional periods, by allowing the frontend to scale independently from the backend.

What is Headless commerce for B2B?

Headless commerce presents a modern approach for B2B enterprises to operate online storefronts without the constraints of conventional, monolithic systems.

The essence of headless commerce lies in its API-centric structure, which grants B2B firms the autonomy to select and integrate specialized technologies that align perfectly with their operational requirements.

In a B2B context, headless commerce systems are equipped with specific features that cater to the unique needs of business customers. These features include:

Account Management: B2B buyers often require personalized experiences with the ability to manage multiple user accounts, each with different roles and permissions. Headless commerce enables businesses to offer such account management capabilities with ease.

Custom Catalogs: Unlike B2C, B2B companies may need to provide tailored catalogs that are specific to individual business customers or customer groups. Headless commerce can facilitate this by allowing the backend to serve custom catalog data to the frontend, where it's presented to the user.

Order Approval Systems: B2B transactions may require several layers of order approvals depending on the company's purchasing hierarchy. Headless commerce systems can integrate complex workflows into the purchasing process, ensuring that all necessary approvals are obtained before an order is finalized.

Bulk Pricing and Tax Exemptions: Businesses purchasing in bulk can benefit from tailored pricing models, which can be complex and varied. Headless commerce systems can integrate with tools that manage these pricing structures and automatically handle tax exemptions where applicable.

Credit Line Management: B2B customers often purchase on credit. A headless commerce system can integrate with credit management tools to offer credit lines to buyers, manage credit limits, and track outstanding balances.

Custom User Interfaces: The decoupled nature of headless commerce allows B2B businesses to design and implement custom user interfaces that meet the specific needs of professional buyers. These interfaces can include specialized dashboards for order tracking, invoice management, and detailed analytics.

Streamlined Purchasing: Professional buyers value efficiency and accuracy in their purchasing processes. Headless commerce enables the creation of streamlined, easy-to-navigate interfaces that can handle complex orders, repeat purchases, and subscription models.

How does it benefit B2B?

1. Complex Pricing and Catalogs: B2B often requires complex pricing structures, including volume discounts, customer-specific pricing, and contract pricing. Headless commerce allows for the creation of dynamic pricing models that can be easily managed and updated through the backend system and delivered via APIs.

2. Custom Ordering Workflows: B2B purchasing often involves approval workflows, PO submissions, and custom invoicing. Headless systems can integrate with workflow management tools to facilitate these complex processes.

3. Bulk Orders and Inventory Management: B2B transactions typically involve large orders. Headless commerce can handle bulk orders and integrate with inventory management systems to ensure stock levels are updated in real-time.

4. Integration with ERP and CRM: B2B commerce requires tight integration with enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Headless commerce platforms can seamlessly connect to these systems to synchronize customer data and business processes.

Headless commerce is versatile enough to manage the distinct requirements of B2B and B2C alike. It allows each business model to innovate and optimize its customer interactions and backend operations according to its unique demands.

Use cases of Headless eCommerce

Headless commerce has endless use cases and empowers businesses to achieve various capabilities with ease. For better understanding of use cases lest narrow them down with specific examples. Let’s give you crisp understanding for a clearer picture of headless commerce’s practical applications.

1. Customized Shopping Apps

Use Case: Develop bespoke mobile shopping apps that offer unique user experiences separate from the web storefront.

Example: A fashion retailer creates a mobile app that uses augmented reality (AR) to let customers try on clothes virtually.

2. Dynamic Pricing and Promotions

Use Case: Implement dynamic pricing strategies that change in real-time based on market demand, inventory levels, or customer behavior.

Example: An online electronics store adjusts prices automatically for flash sales during peak shopping hours.

3. Personalized Marketing

Use Case: Deliver personalized marketing content and product recommendations based on customer data.

Example: A book retailer sends personalized email newsletters featuring book recommendations based on past purchases and browsing history.

4. International eCommerce Sites

Use Case: Create region-specific websites that cater to local languages, currencies, and cultural norms.

Example: A global beauty brand offers different site versions for the U.S., Europe, and Asia, each with region-specific products and content.

5. B2B eCommerce Solutions

Use Case: Develop tailored B2B eCommerce platforms that address specific industry needs, like bulk ordering or custom pricing.

Example: A hardware supplier provides a specialized portal for construction companies to order materials in bulk with custom pricing.

6. Multi-Platform Retail

Use Case: Sell products across multiple platforms (e.g., web, mobile, social media, marketplaces) while managing them from a unified backend.

Example: A sports merchandise store sells products on its website, mobile app, Facebook Shop, and Amazon, managed through a single platform.

7. Subscription Services

Use Case: Offer subscription-based products or services, with flexibility in managing recurring payments and customer accounts.

Example: A gourmet coffee brand provides a subscription model where customers receive different coffee beans each month.

8. Quick Deployment of Microsites

Use Case: Rapidly develop and launch microsites for specific marketing campaigns or product launches.

Example: A movie studio launches a time-limited microsite with exclusive merchandise for a new film release.

Headless commerce use cases are endless and facilitate the most crucial functionalities that a modern retailer or brand needs. In today’s extremely competitive digital commerce landscape headless commerce can truly be your growth innovator.

Pros and Cons of Headless Commerce

Nothing is picture perfect and when it comes to technology, this statement becomes more reinforced as tech might have some of the biggest benefits, but it comes with a cost. So does headless commerce. Below are some of the pros and cons of headless commerce:

When to choose Headless Commerce

Choosing headless commerce is a strategic decision that hinges on specific business needs, growth objectives, and the readiness to manage a more complex technological ecosystem. Here are key factors to consider when determining if headless commerce is the right choice for a business:

 1. High Demand for Customization:

If your business requires a unique, tailored online experience that goes beyond the capabilities of traditional e-commerce templates.

2. Need for Scalability:

If your business is experiencing rapid growth or anticipates a need to scale quickly and efficiently in response to market demands.

3. Omnichannel Strategy:

If you aim to provide a consistent and seamless customer experience across multiple channels (web, mobile, social media, IoT devices).

4. Global Expansion:

If you are expanding into new international markets and need to accommodate various languages, currencies, and cultural preferences.

5. Frequent Updates and Experimentation:

If your business model requires the agility to frequently update and test new features without affecting backend operations.

6. Content and Marketing Focus:

If your marketing strategy relies heavily on rich, dynamic content (like blogs, tutorials, or storytelling) integrated with e-commerce activities.

7. Complex or Unique Business Models:

If your business operates with non-standard workflows, custom pricing models, or has unique product assortments that standard e-commerce platforms cannot easily support.

Looking for the best headless solution? Read here 👉 Headless Commerce Solutions: Finding the Perfect Fit for Your Brand

Headless Commerce is not appropriate for all levels of businesses. Before going headless it’s important for businesses to analyse and make an informed decision considering various aspects like above. Some other reasons to go headless can be

  • When your standard platform is limiting growth
  • When the business needs to leverage cutting edge technology
  • When businesses need to enhance speed and user experience
  • When businesses need data-driven personalization

Headless commerce is appropriate for businesses that are facing growth and scalability challenges with traditional e-commerce platforms, those needing high levels of customization, and companies willing to invest in a more advanced, flexible, and future-proof digital commerce infrastructure.

Top Headless Commerce Platforms for 2024 

1. BetterCommerce

BetterCommerce presents itself as a comprehensive and adaptable commerce solution, particularly aimed at mid-sized to large businesses. Its foundation is built on an API-first methodology, which significantly enhances its ability to quickly adapt and scale, fostering rapid innovation.

The core of BetterCommerce is its suite of e-commerce solutions, structured in a modular fashion. This suite encompasses modules like Product Information Management (PIM), e-commerce functionalities, Content Management System (CMS), Order Management System (OMS), Analytics, and customer engagement tools (Engage).

Key Features

  • Visual Merchandising: Aids in creating visually appealing product displays.
  • Multilingual, Multipayment, and Multibrand Support: Ensuring broad market reach.
  • Omnichannel Fulfillment Options: Like Buy Online, Pick Up In Store (BOPIS), shipfromstore, and endless aisle.
  • Integrated PIM & CMS within a Digital Experience Platform (DXP).
  • Centralized Data Platform (CDP) for unified data management.
  • Subscription and Membership Commerce Models.
  • Comprehensive B2B Commerce Solutions.
  • Loyalty and Membership Program Management.
  • Realtime and Retail Analytics for data-driven insights.
  • Product Syndication: Extends reach to multiple channels.

Why choose BetterCommerce

  • The modular architecture coupled with extensive features allows businesses to quickly innovate and market products, maintaining a lower total cost of ownership.
  • The headless architecture facilitates both B2B and B2C commerce.
  • Includes specialized modules like headless PIM and CMS.
  • Supports subscription models, membership programs, and crossborder commerce.
  • Offers capabilities for multibrand retailing and marketplace integration.



  • Technical Expertise Required: To fully leverage its customization capabilities, a certain level of technical know-how is necessary.
  • Custom Pricing Structure: This might pose challenges in budget planning.
  • Feature Complexity: The wide array of features might be overwhelming for beginners or smaller teams.

2. CommerceTools

A robust SaaS platform, hosted on Google Cloud and AWS, offering B2B, B2C, and Frontend solutions with functional addons.

Key Features

  • Modularity: Features a modular architecture, enabling customization and scalability for specific ecommerce needs.
  • Flexible Data Model: Provides a versatile data model to adapt and extend business functionalities.
  • Decoupled Front End: Supports a variety of storefront implementations, from native to custom-built, ensuring a tailored customer experience.

Why Choose Commercetools?

  • Modular Agility: Allows businesses to innovate and adapt quickly, creating bespoke ecommerce experiences.
  • Global Enterprise Focus: Ideal for large organizations, offering substantial support for high Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) enterprises.
  • Worldwide Reach: With a global presence, commercetools supports largescale enterprise operations.


  • No Inbuilt Frontend: As a headless platform, it lacks a built-in storefront, requiring external solutions.
  • Geared Towards Larger Businesses: More suitable for large, complex businesses with the necessary budget and expertise.
  • B2B Functionality Gaps: While it supports B2B and B2C, some specific B2B features like customerspecific catalogs are not as robust.

3.  Bigcommerce

Serves both B2B and B2C markets on a single platform. The B2B Edition addon enhances enterprise functionality with advanced features such as account management and quote management.

BigCommerce is key player in enterprise ecommerce, providing essential digital marketplace tools.

Key Features

  • Comprehensive online store with multicurrency support.
  • Intuitive Page Builder and diverse sales channels integration (eBay, Amazon, POS).
  • Promotions including coupons, discounts, and gift cards.
  • Realtime shipping quotes and fully customizable checkout.
  • Headless commerce capabilities with extensive integrations.
  • MultiStorefront feature and a rich App Marketplace.
  • Features like abandoned cart saver, customer segmentation, and Google Customer Reviews.
  • Advanced product filtering with custom facets.
  • Unlimited API calls for extensive customization.

Why Opt for BigCommerce?

  • Headless Flexibility: Offers a headless architecture for custom storefronts.
  • Enhanced Channel Integration: PostFeedonomics acquisition, it boasts improved multichannel operations.
  • Dual Market Support: Unique in handling both B2B and B2C on one platform.
  • Continuous Growth: Reflects a commitment to innovation and staying ahead in the market.
  • Robust Ecosystem: Access to a broad range of third-party apps for operational enhancement.

BigCommerce Limitations

  • Imposes annual sales limits across plans, leading to enforced upgrades upon exceeding limits.
  • Presents a steep learning curve, particularly for eCommerce novices.
  • Some users report slow performance with large catalogs or high traffic.
  • Occasional slow and less helpful customer support experiences.

4.     Spryker

Spryker, tailored for sophisticated transactional enterprises, stands out with its headless, API-first, composable architecture. Serving over 150 global companies, including notable brands like ALDI and Siemens, it's a leader in Enterprise Marketplaces, B2B, D2C, and Thing Commerce.

Key Features

  • Composable Architecture: Offers flexibility and agility to adapt in a dynamic market, accelerating digital growth.
  • Headless Design: Separates frontend and backend, enhancing flexibility in multichannel customer experience design.
  • API-first Approach: Facilitates easy integration with external systems and custom frontend application development.
  • Packaged Business Capabilities (PBCs): Provides a modular feature assembly for streamlined decision-making in software utilization.
  • Composable Value Services: A toolkit of resources and expert support for faster ROI and business outcome realization.
  • App Composition Platform: Enables secure and efficient experimentation with third-party services in Spryker Cloud.

Why Choose Spryker?

  • Efficiency in Complex Transactions: Ideal for sophisticated business models like B2B Commerce and Enterprise Marketplaces.
  • Composability and Flexibility: Adapts swiftly to market changes, aiding in digital transformation.
  • Robust Ecosystem and Community Support: Benefits from a wide ranging community and expert assistance for current and future business objectives.
  • Active Community Platform: CommerceQuest, a community for shared knowledge and mutual benefit.


  • Documentation and Support: Some users note gaps in documentation and support.
  • Complexity for Smaller Businesses: Its powerful features come with a steep learning curve, posing challenges for smaller teams or those with limited technical expertise.

5.     VTEX

VTEX excels globally in digital commerce, offering a unique and comprehensive solution for over 2,500 customers in 38 countries. Its Composable and Complete VTEX Commerce Platform, highly praised in Gartner's 2023 Critical Capabilities for Digital Commerce report, caters to both B2C and B2B sectors.

Key Features

B2C and B2B Digital Commerce: Provides versatile solutions for both consumer and business markets.

VTEX IO Development Platform: Facilitates efficient and innovative development processes.

Experience Management: Enhances customer interaction and user experience.

Order and Marketplace Management: Streamlines order processing and marketplace operations.

Why Opt for VTEX?

  • Features an API-first approach with a headless CMS and low-code development.
  • Offers robust functionalities for retailers and manufacturers, including sophisticated promotions and marketplace management.
  • Includes a wide range of integrations with third-party applications.
  • Lower overall ownership and maintenance expenses.

Limitations of VTEX

  • Storefront Personalization: Compared to competitors, VTEX offers limited customization in its storefront personalization.
  • B2B Features: While it includes B2B functionalities, they are not as comprehensive as other platforms.
  • Customization Options: Provides a broad range of features, but with limited scope for customization.


Shopify Plus

Shopify stands out in the eCommerce industry with its extensive range of offerings, from payment solutions to social and marketplace integration. Its self-hosted platform, particularly the Shopify Plus version, is tailored for midsize to large businesses, mainly in North America.

  • Integrated Payment System: Simplifies transaction processes for both customers and businesses.
  • Headless Commerce: Offers a robust platform for a customizable, headless shopping experience.
  • Social Commerce Features: Enables easy integration with social media channels.
  • Frontend Development Tools: Provides frameworks and SDKs for creating brand-centric online storefronts.

Why Opt for Shopify Plus?

  • Unified Ecosystem: Brings together integrated tools for a streamlined ecommerce journey.
  • EnterpriseLevel Solutions: Recent upgrades position Shopify Plus as a strong option for larger businesses, with B2B capabilities and enhanced flexibility.
  • Continuous Innovation: Backed by significant R&D investment, Shopify consistently updates and improves its platform.

Limitations of Shopify Plus

  • Cost Considerations: Shopify Plus can be costly, starting at a monthly fee of $2,000, plus additional charges for various features.
  • Customization Limits: While offering several customization options, it has constraints, particularly in the checkout process.
  • Marketplace Integration: Lacks a native marketplace platform, requiring third-party solutions for marketplace sales

Salesforce commerce cloud

Salesforce Commerce, encompassing B2C Commerce Cloud, B2B Commerce, and D2C, offers a comprehensive suite of eCommerce solutions for various business models. Its licensing flexibility allows for individual or bundled product access under the Salesforce Commerce umbrella.

Supplementary Offerings

Additional Salesforce products enhance the eCommerce experience, including the Customer Data Platform (CDP), Order Management System (OMS), Sales Force Automation (SFA), B2B marketing automation, and CRM solutions.

Key Features

  • Social Media Integration: Easily connect with social channels to broaden market reach.
  • Phased Headless Implementation: Gradual transition to modern PWAs from traditional storefronts.
  • Page Designer Support: Enables easy customization and composition of storefronts.
  • Store Fulfillment App: Streamlines online store order fulfillment processes.

Why Choose Salesforce?

  • Rapid Product Development: Consistently delivers new features and enhancements across platforms.
  • Advanced Personalization: Offers powerful personalization tools in B2B and B2C, utilizing comprehensive Salesforce data.
  • Headless Commerce Enablement: Smoothly transitions B2C platforms to headless commerce, allowing for a more flexible and contemporary shopping experience.


  • Cost Factor: The premium nature of the platform may be a constraint for smaller businesses.
  • Complexity in Usage and Implementation: Requires significant technical expertise to effectively implement and manage.
  • Customization Constraints: As a SaaS platform, it offers limited customization compared to some other eCommerce solutions.
  • Integration Challenges: Integrating with external systems can sometimes present difficulties.

Top Frontend Technologies for Storefront

Before we understand the top frontend technologies let us quickly see how you can build your frontend storefront. Here are the options:

1. Frontend as a Service (FEaaS)

FEaaS is a modern service that allows businesses to build and design features like grid layouts and carousels with minimal coding. It's ideal for those who prefer agency or FEaaS team assistance for initial setup, enabling nontechnical teams (like marketers and merchandisers) to easily update and innovate post-setup.

Suitable for businesses managing one or two stores, it's perfect for those wanting to innovate rapidly and deploy across various channels with minimal reliance on inhouse technical resources. FEaaS is less focused on extensive analytics and is more about flexibility and ease of use.

2. Digital Experience Platform (DXP)

DXPs offer advanced, integrated solutions to manage and deliver digital experiences across various customer journeys, evolving from traditional CMS to ensure more cohesive experiences for both internal teams and consumers. Ideal for larger businesses with multiple stores in different regions, DXPs facilitate rapid innovation and the management of extensive asset repositories. They support multichannel deployment (including voice, vending, POS) and require an agency or a dedicated inhouse team for implementation and management.

Read why retailers need multichannel management for ecommerce success.

Experience Manager, are suited for businesses needing strong centralized brand control with the flexibility of local customization, robust analytics, and A/B testing capabilities. They are perfect for those who can invest in managing complex, large-scale digital environments.

3. Custom Build

Custombuilt frontends are developed from scratch using frameworks like React, Angular JS, or VueJS, aligning with the JAMStack philosophy. This approach requires an inhouse development team or an external agency for creation and ongoing management. It's generally recommended for businesses that are small or newly established, with limited product assortments and simple digital storefront needs (like PDP, PLP, and a homepage).

This option is best suited for companies not requiring frequent updates or multichannel, multiregional deployment. For businesses needing asset and content management without the complexity of a DXP, integrating a Content Management System (CMS) is advisable for enhanced functionality.

Let us now talk about the top frontend technologies:

1. Hydrogen

Hydrogen is a Reactbased framework developed by Shopify for building custom storefronts. It's designed specifically for headless commerce, allowing developers to create fast, reactive, and unique ecommerce experiences.

It offers a set of tools and components optimized for Shopify, serverside rendering (SSR) capabilities for performance, and seamless integration with Shopify's backend.

2. Oxygen

Oxygen is Shopify's hosting solution, tailored for Hydrogenbuilt storefronts. It's a serverless platform that enables developers to deploy their Hydrogen applications with ease.

It provides a scalable, fast, and secure environment for hosting ecommerce sites, ensuring optimal performance and reliability.

3. Vuestorefront

Vue Storefront is an open-source frontend framework for headless commerce. It's based on Vue.js and allows the creation of progressive web apps (PWAs) that are highly responsive and user-friendly.

It supports a variety of backends, including Magento, Shopify, and BigCommerce, and emphasizes mobilefirst experiences, offline mode, and improved performance.

4. Next.js

Next.js is a popular React framework that enables developers to build serverrendered applications and static websites. It's known for its simplicity, performance, and scalability.

It offers features like filesystem routing, automatic code splitting, and serverside rendering, making it a versatile choice for a range of web applications.

5. Gatsby

Gatsby is a modern web framework based on React and GraphQL. It's primarily used for building static websites and PWAs with a focus on performance, SEO, and scalability.

It integrates with a vast ecosystem of plugins, provides excellent image handling capabilities, and ensures fast site loading speeds, making it ideal for contentheavy sites.

6. Astro

Astro is a relatively new static site generator that allows developers to build fast and modern websites using less clientside JavaScript.

It supports various frontend frameworks (like React, Vue, and Svelte) within the same project, enabling developers to choose the best tool for each component or page, with a focus on performance and leaner websites.

Each of these technologies offers unique advantages, catering to different aspects of modern web development. From building scalable ecommerce sites with Hydrogen and Oxygen to creating fast, SEO friendly static sites with Gatsby and Astro, these tools provide developers with a range of options to match their specific project requirements.

How to get Started with Headless Architecture

Headless Commerce represents a paradigm shift in ecommerce, offering unparalleled flexibility and customization. This guide helps you evaluate if Headless Commerce is the right fit for your business and guides you through the steps to implement it effectively.

Step 1: Evaluating Headless Commerce for Your Business

To determine if Headless Commerce aligns with your business needs, consider the following points. If at least three, including the first two, resonate with you, Headless Commerce might be your next best step.

Customized Customer Experience Over Templates:

Willingness to forego prebuilt storefronts for unique, tailored customer experiences.

Technical Team Readiness:

Availability of an in-house technical team or willingness to collaborate with external agencies for development.

Frequent FrontEnd Design Changes:

Desire to continuously update and modify the frontend design.

Adaptability Across Multiple Customer Touchpoints:

Ambition to expand sales channels (web, mobile, in-store, self-checkout, AR/VR, etc.) for enhanced customer engagement.

Support for Complex Business Models:

Need to accommodate diverse business models, regulated products, and bespoke pricing and product configurations.

Reduced Downtime and Enhanced Performance:

Aim to minimize updaterelated downtime and improve website performance.

Flexible Development Environment:

Preference for a developerfriendly environment supporting various languages and frameworks.

Advanced Functionality Beyond Plugins:

Requirement for sophisticated features that standard plugins cannot support without extensive customization.

Step 2: Understanding Headless Commerce Architecture

Headless Commerce fundamentally decouples the frontend “head” from the backend commerce functionality. This separation allows for greater design flexibility and the ability to iterate unique customer experiences across various touchpoints.

It’s important to understand the difference between headless commerce and traditional commerce before a business decides to go headless. The differences are explained in depth in the above section.

  • Unlike traditional all-in-one platforms, Headless Commerce separates the website front end from core commerce functionalities like inventory and checkout, connected via APIs.
  • This architecture empowers marketing and merchandising teams to create engaging, brand-centric experiences, leading to higher conversion rates and revenue growth.

Step 3: Exploring Frontend Storefront Options

The selection of a frontend solution depends on several factors:

• Business size

• Inhouse resource availability

• Development team skill set

• Number of operational stores and sales channels

• Product complexity

• Marketing and merchandising team size

• Desired level of innovation

Choosing the Right “Head” is the most crucial decision a business needs to make, and the above factors help decisionmaking be easier for businesses. Of course, there might be some other requirements of businesses that may impact the decisionmaking process.

Headless eCommerce FAQs

1. Is headless CMS the same as Headless eCommerce?

No, they are not the same. A Headless CMS (Content Management System) focuses on managing and delivering content without a frontend delivery layer, typically used for websites, blogs, and articles. Headless eCommerce, on the other hand, refers to separating the frontend user interface from the backend ecommerce functionality, primarily used for online stores and shopping experiences. While both are 'headless', they serve different purposes.

2. Do you need Headless CMS for Headless eCommerce?

Not necessarily, but it can be beneficial. A headless CMS can manage the content aspect of an online store, such as product descriptions, blogs, and customer reviews, while the headless eCommerce platform manages the transactional components. Using a headless CMS in conjunction with headless eCommerce can offer greater flexibility and control over both content and commerce.

3. Do all growing brands & retailers need headless solutions?

Not necessarily. While a headless solution offers scalability, flexibility, and customization, it may not be necessary for all growing brands and retailers. The decision depends on specific business needs, such as the level of desired customization, the need to integrate with various touchpoints, and the complexity of the business operations. For some, a traditional eCommerce platform may be sufficient and more cost-effective.

4. Is in house development team necessary for headless solution?

Having an inhouse development team can be advantageous for a headless solution, but it's not always necessary. An inhouse team allows for more control and quicker updates to the eCommerce platform. However, businesses can also partner with agencies or use external developers experienced in headless solutions. The choice depends on the company’s resources, expertise, and the complexity of the headless implementation required.

Still have questions around Headless Commerce?

Read Your Go-To FAQs Handbook for Headless Commerce

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In the current commerce market, customers are hungry about the product information when making buying decisions. Thus, it becomes important to provide a better and accurate product information to your customers.


In the current commerce market, customers are hungry about the product information when making buying decisions.


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Quickstart Guide

Headless Commerce Decoded: Everything You Need to Know

Headless commerce is a software architecture that distinctly separates the user interface (frontend) from the operational logic (backend) within a system. These segments communicate via APIs, functioning without rigid dependencies between them.

The Ultimate Guide to Product Information Management (PIM)

Businesses must create, modify, manage, and distribute this information regularly and they choose to do it in various ways using different software. The most common are CRM, ERP, and so on, but not all tools have the same functionalities and capabilities

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