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SellerChamp

SellerChamp is a cloud-based eCommerce solution that enables businesses to streamline processes related to product repricing, cross-selling, shipping, inventory management and more. It facilitates integration with ShipStation for ...Read more about SellerChamp

4.3 (93 reviews)

3 recommendations

Drupal Commerce

Drupal Commerce is an open-source eCommerce platform built by merchants, developers, and site builders for everyone. It is a flexible eCommerce platform for creating any kind of online store. With Drupal Commerce, merchants can se...Read more about Drupal Commerce

4.3 (14 reviews)

2 recommendations

Lightspeed Retail

Lightspeed Retail is a cloud-based POS solution that is suitable for retailers in industries such as apparel, footwear, bike, jewelry, pet, sporting goods and home decor. The solution offers retailers tools including inventory man...Read more about Lightspeed Retail

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is a cloud-based online design platform that provides solutions to e-commerce entrepreneurs with website customization, shipment management, transactions as well as listing products on Amazon, eBay and Facebook. The so...Read more about BigCommerce

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Finale Inventory

Finale Inventory helps to optimize inventory and warehouse workflows for growing sellers. Our software is Intuitive so that anyone can use it and cloud-based so reporting can be seen in real-time whenever you're on the go. Customi...Read more about Finale Inventory

Lucky Orange

Lucky Orange is a suite of conversion optimization tools designed to help businesses track and engage with visitors using heatmaps, dashboards, live chat, polls and more. Administrators can gain insights into problematic areas wit...Read more about Lucky Orange

Rain POS

Rain is an all-in-one point-of-sale, website, and marketing system for small to midsized retailers. Music, dive, sporting goods, paddle, craft, sewing, quilting, and clothing boutiques will find Rain is an excellent fit for their...Read more about Rain POS

ikas

Ikas is an e-commerce platform that caters to small and medium-sized online retailers looking to scale operations. The platform helps businesses manage orders and stocks, transfer products to company websites, track profit margins...Read more about ikas

Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus is a cloud-based eCommerce platform, which enables large retailers to process international orders and handle high-volume traffic of visitors. Features include customer segmentation, loyalty points, inventory manageme...Read more about Shopify Plus

Sana Commerce

Sana Commerce Cloud is an e-commerce platform for companies that run their business using Microsoft Dynamics or SAP ERP systems. Sana’s real-time integration eliminates system siloes and data inaccuracies caused by traditional e-c...Read more about Sana Commerce

Algolia

Algolia is a search and discovery API platform for building powerful and composable experiences while solving for relevance with AI and configurable rules. Algolia Search enables our customers to design and implement unique searc...Read more about Algolia

Pepperi

Pepperi is a cloud-based mobile sales and customer relationship management (CRM) solution that serves businesses of all sizes in industries such as fashion, food and beverage, sporting goods, home accessories and beauty. Primary f...Read more about Pepperi

Bloomreach

We want to help you to make full use of our tools so that you're set up for winning from day zero. Bloomreach connects the dots between the core parts of the commerce experience to engage, inspire, and convert your customers for ...Read more about Bloomreach

Centra

Centra is the only e-commerce platform built specifically for global fashion and lifestyle brands. With built-in core functionality including, DTC and wholesale modules, Centra enables brands to create the best local shopping exp...Read more about Centra

Elastic Enterprise Search

Elastic Enterprise Search is Elasticsearch, with a complete set of specialized tools and extensible APIs that make it easy to build search solutions and give users the best answers, every time. Monitor performance with robust anal...Read more about Elastic Enterprise Search

Webgility

Webgility is flexible, powerful ecommerce automation software that connects your ecommerce apps to your accounting solution. Connect QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop to ecommerce stores, marketplaces, and point-of-sale syst...Read more about Webgility

Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Salesforce B2C Commerce is a cloud-based order management solution that enables businesses to streamline processes related to marketing campaigns, merchandising, order fulfillment and more. Professionals can improve social outreac...Read more about Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Bolt

With Bolt’s One Click checkout you can boost sales and delight your shoppers with a better checkout experience you can turn on in minutes. Upgrade your checkout process with one-click checkout, 100% fraud chargeback guarantee, acc...Read more about Bolt

LogiCommerce

LogiCommerce is a headless eCommerce platform providing cutting-edge technology to growing businesses and large enterprises of all sectors, with high efficiency and full scalability for B2C & B2B. LogiCommerce empowers businesse...Read more about LogiCommerce

Shopware

Shopware is an eCommerce software that helps businesses manage products and multiple sales channels. The platform enables managers to set up custom rules and execute brand strategies to deliver customer experiences. Administrator...Read more about Shopware

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 16, 2023

The variety of places that customers can shop online is difficult for any company to keep up with. Due to this difficulty, a new type of software is required to effectively manage both the front end that the customer sees and the back end that fuels inventory and transactions.

Headless ecommerce tools are solving this problem for today’s companies—by separating the front end and back end of the system, so the engine of the software can deliver the right product data and content on the optimal platform through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs).

This offers businesses the flexibility to connect with customers in a variety of ways without the need for extensive back-end customization.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is headless e-commerce software?

A headless ecommerce system includes core functionalities such as inventory, product management, and a shopping cart, but allows those features to be deployed quickly and easily to multiple platforms, such as a brand’s website, Facebook, Amazon, and any other place online where customers can make purchases.

The headless system separates the front end (the site or app the customer views) from the back end (where the product management and payment processing happens) to make this agility possible.

In the past, customers would typically go to a physical store or visit an online store on their desktop computer to order a product. But today, consumers expect a more flexible shopping experience: people enjoy shopping on their mobile devices while commuting to work, using an IoT-enabled Amazon Dash button to quickly reorder items, or even finalizing transactions through text.

The headless ecommerce system helps companies manage this by using APIs to push consistent copy, images, and layouts from a single back-end system to each platform. This way, they don’t need to reconfigure their branding manually as they reach out to customers across the web. Beyond that, the system allows transactions to take place wherever the customer may be, leading to a more organic experience and more conversions.

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A view of incoming orders in Shopify, which offers a headless system.

Common features of headless ecommerce software

Shopping cart

Allows customers to add and edit items as they shop, then complete the purchase. Many shopping cart tools will remember the items someone saved before bouncing from the online store.

Inventory management

Manages the volume and types of items in a store’s inventory and can be used to optimize automatic reorder levels.

CRM

Stores the contact information for customers and potential customers to be used for marketing initiatives or to identify valuable trends in sales or buyer behavior.

Order management

Manages the incoming orders from an online store to help coordinate the inventory and supply chain and deliver items in a timely fashion.

Shipping management

Generates shipping and handling costs during the transaction and delivers details to the customer and any third-party shipping partners.

Payment processing

Processes the transactions online. With a headless ecommerce system, the transaction can be completed on various platforms via APIs that call back to the back-end system, where this functionality lives.

Reporting and analysis

Generates reports and raw data about sales, buyer behavior, inventory metrics, revenue and profits, and more.

What type of buyer are you?

Headless ecommerce software represents how brands are adapting to the modern marketplace—these systems are the future of online shopping. But certain types of businesses will find immediate value from a headless ecommerce strategy.

  • Luxury and experience-based brands: Companies that focus on providing a unique experience for customers can create compelling designs on various platforms, without the need of coding expertise. This allows IT teams to focus on the back-end system, while marketers can push their crafted experiences to websites, mobile devices, and more.

  • International brands: For companies with several brands that span the globe, a headless system allows users to create multiple unique sites that deliver customized experiences to customers in various countries. However, every site leverages the product and inventory data from a single back-end system.

  • Niche brands with a dedicated platform: Some businesses have cultivated a loyal following of customers on specific platforms, such as Instagram or Etsy. Depending on their size and aspirations, these companies may decide that a headless ecommerce system isn’t relevant to their needs until they decide to expand their channels.

Benefits and potential issues

  • Increased agility for marketing: With the front and back end separated in a headless ecommerce system, marketing teams can focus on providing a great customer experience, no matter the platform.

  • More secure than traditional ecommerce: Because the back end of the system is decoupled from the front end, it makes it more difficult for malicious programs or hackers to access sensitive information.

  • Increased complexity: Using a headless system requires the use of APIs to "call" for information from the back-end system, then deliver to a specific platform. These APIs provide a streamlined transfer of data, but require an IT team to set up from the beginning.

  • Costs and return on investment can vary: The sophistication of a company’s brand and marketing can indicate how soon a headless system can return value. Upfront costs will likely include customizations for APIs, but companies can also avoid costs related to managing channels separately and paying subscription fees for additional software needed to provide a real omni-channel experience.

Market trends to understand

  • Growth of omni-channel marketing: Gartner research shows that 61% of site traffic from consumers is generated by mobile users, but 69% of purchases occur on a desktop computer. Factoring in social media, internet of thing (IoT) devices, and even video game consoles, buyers have dozens of platforms to evaluate products and make purchases—the headless ecommerce architecture enables companies to engage customers on each of these channels with ease.

  • A shift to a direct-to-consumer model: Research predicts the growth of direct-to-consumer models in the U.S. will grow by 25% through the end of 2020. Gartner explains that selling wholesale through a third-party retailer robs businesses of the valuable buyer behavior data used to make improvements. The headless ecommerce system streamlines the marketing needs for such a shift.

  • International, multi-currency e-commerce is now standard: Ordering products online from other countries is a daily occurrence for many, so it’s important to customize websites for each location and currency. Using a headless ecommerce platform helps manage multiple variations of a website, with unique branding, can be deployed with little coding requirements.

Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.