5 tips for a successful transition to Headless

Iñaki BarturenMarch 28, 2022

As e-commerce grows, so does the headless architecture approach that allows us to overcome the shortcomings of traditional commerce and gain full control of online store management—a huge potential. This is why investors are increasingly funding the technologies that make it possible.

5 tips for a successful transition to Headless

Why has headless positioned itself as the best alternative?

Headless Commerce is, in simple and technical words, a web architecture model that separates the frontend, with which customers interact, and the backend; systems that perform data queries or also execute business operations. The best part is that it can also be used for platforms other than eCommerce, one of its main uses.

This integration feature facilitates the custom platforms’ development. An example of the flexibility of headless is that it empowers content teams to publish without coding or being constrained by a set of design templates. This helps to unleash teams’ creativity by easily manipulating the store’s frontend without compromising the backend.

There are several benefits that add value to your online store when it goes headless:

  • Facilitates the implementation of an omnichannel strategy that optimizes customer interaction and generates loyalty. It even integrates cutting-edge channels such as social networks, AR, virtual assistants, smart devices, and IoT.
  • Integrates payment systems that allow managing different currencies or international sales.
  • It customizes interfaces, generating unique experiences by creating design systems tailored to the company’s needs.
  • By outsourcing part of the functionalities, like payment systems, the backend is simplified, allowing greater operational efficiency.
  • The content is distributed through a global nodes’ network, enabling lower latency uploads closer to the requesting customer.
  • Implement cyber security updates quickly and optimize PCI DSS. Each vendor is responsible for maintaining security standards and data protection.
  • Optimizes store scalability.
    • Quite attractive benefits, aren't they? It is an ideal approach for large brands that process high volumes of transactions, have catalogs of hundreds of pages that see in the customer experience’ optimization a competitive differential, and have the financial capacity to invest in a solid, scalable, and long-term eCommerce project.

      The standard transition from the traditional model is easy, although you will have to overcome some challenges if you do so within the framework of a legacy/monolith mentality.

      1. Total platform rebuild and disruption to customer experience

      When you have only worked with a monolithic or head-end architecture, you think that migrating from one architecture to another means replacing the platform entirely. We understand it used to be like that, with the consequent disruption of core business activities and impact on the user experience.

      If you thought so too, here we explain why it is not so: the Headless model allows you to make the migration in phases, replacing small functionalities progressively. You can start by integrating a headless CMS, keeping all the rest of the architecture while managing your content separately.

      Then, if you so decide, it continues to add a search system such as Algolia, or a payment gateway like Commerce Layer, gradually respecting each company’s timing and without generating shortcomings in the customer experience.

      As an additional tip: try to start with key but simple areas, such as mobile content. Along with your progression, you will realize that headless gives you the freedom to choose which parts to replace and which to keep. You will be adjusting your platform, and before you know it, you will be migrating the more complex functionalities to cloud-based services.

      2. Alignment between commercial and IT teams

      It is essential that these teams work hand in hand and are oriented to the common goal of developing the best online store for your brand’s objectives. This depends on the precise identification and prioritization of the features and functionalities to be migrated.

      The teams will work on the same project, but each will have autonomy in developing its objectives, allowing synergy between parties.

      3. Orchestrate solutions and APIs seamlessly

      The headless architecture approach lets you build your online store with the best features from multiple vendors. And while that possibility is an advantage, it also brings overwhelming responsibility: to put those services together in the right way, i.e., to enable the development of a quality frontend.

      Ideally, it is best to choose vendors with proven track records and functionalities, preferably under an expert’s advice in e-commerce and headless technology.

      4. Integrate an expert to the team

      Migrating to headless commerce will undoubtedly require some quick definitions. It is important to have a subject matter expert accompanying you throughout the process while, of course, respecting the project’s higher-level objectives. In fact, the role of the technology partner is vital to the success of the project.

      5. Optimize communication channels

      Throughout the migration, you will have to work with several teams, as building the best architectures involves collaborating with various solution vendors.

      Exciting. Although the effectiveness of that collaboration will depend on the implementation of real-time and deferred communication channels to avoid slowdowns or out-of-sync between members of different teams.

5 tips for a successful transition to Headless- 2

Commerce Layer: a powerful alternative for eCommerce

It is a headless commerce service for payment and purchase processing. Commerce Layer stands out because it was designed natively for the most advanced development workflows, such as JAMstack. It allows you to create websites from scratch, incorporate ready-to-operate business functionalities, or migrate your old system to a headless one quickly, correctly, flexibly, and globally scalable. For instance, you can adapt your store interfaces to the multiple cultures and regulations of the countries where they operate.

Contentful: an ally in content management

Contentful is a unique, flexible content management platform with a seamless API infrastructure to facilitate collaboration between marketing developers to create cutting-edge omnichannel sites and experiences simultaneously.

At Reign, we are experts in migrating to Headless because we develop a strategy for each challenge, allowing companies to adopt the new technologies. We are partners of Commerce Layer and Contentful, and we have a team of experts that will provide you with quality advice in the execution of any type of project. That is why we are the strategic ally for your store’s migration to the eCommerce of the future.

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