What do you get when you take an eCommerce platform, remove the front-end checkout and create a fully scalable solution that can grow your business? You get a headless eCommerce platform. With the rise of platforms like Shopify Plus, BigCommerce, etc., and the many features they offer, more businesses are turning to them as the base platform for their eCommerce solution.
Headless eCommerce platforms help online businesses save on development time and maintenance costs. However, not all headless platforms will be right for you. It depends largely on what you need to achieve and how much you are willing to spend.
To ensure the right choice one needs to analyze to following:
- Best headless eCommerce platforms
- What makes them so unique?
- What are the benefits and drawbacks of each option?
This headless eCommerce platforms guide will answer these questions and more to help you find the best platform for your business needs.
So, Let’s start with the basics first:
Table of Contents
What Are Headless eCommerce Platforms?
Headless eCommerce platforms are open-source eCommerce platforms that allow businesses to build and customize their online stores. These platforms provide the flexibility and scalability needed to grow an online business.
The front end of these platforms is decoupled from the back end, eliminating the need for any developer. In a headless approach, layers stay separated so one can have unprecedented flexibility to customize and individualize the customer experience. In the meantime, the backend eCommerce features continue to function without complications.
So, you can experiment with the front-end at zero additional cost or detailed knowledge of technical know-how. It’s like buying a plug-and-play car that engineers have customized for your needs.
Note: The front-end is what customers see and interact with when they visit your online store. It’s essential to have a well-designed front-end that is easy to use and provides a good user experience. A dynamic front-end is crucial for eCommerce as it helps you achieve your business goals by boosting sales, providing excellent customer service, and increasing conversion rates.
The following is a list of the ten best headless eCommerce platforms that lets you experiment with the front-end:
- Shopify Plus
- Adobe Commerce
- Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC)
These eCommerce platforms help you make the most of your online presence with minimal effort. However, that’s not the only feature of headless platforms. Choosing a headless eCommerce platform enables you to make the most of your business with seamless integration, customization, and scalability.
Following is the List of Critical Features of Headless eCommerce Platforms
- Omnichannel Presence: The platform lets users have a similar experience on different devices, whether smartphones, desktops, etc. So, one can sell their products via different channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest easily and conveniently.
- Brand-Product Relationship is Stronger: Headless eCommerce platforms give a much stronger relationship between brands and products. It also helps in creating uniformity across different devices or channels.
- Updates are Easier: It is easier for headless eCommerce platforms to get updates because they are not attached to a front-end framework. The headless architecture allows different team members to access and use the same codebase simultaneously.
- High Scalability Ensures Uninhibited Performance: Headless solutions allow companies to have uninhibited scalability. A website can grow from 1 million transactions per month to 100 million transactions per month without difficulty.
- API-based Architecture Facilitates Seamless Integration: APIs help access and create applications that easily interact, making integration work seamlessly. So, you can integrate multiple platforms without going through a long development process.
The 10 Best Headless eCommerce Platforms
#1. Shopify Plus – Significant Level of Task Automation
Shopify Plus is counted among the best headless eCommerce platforms available out there. It comes with unlimited bandwidth, a robust search engine, and features that allow you to create an eye-catching storefront in no time at all. With this powerful platform at your disposal, it’s easy to see why Shopify Plus is one of the best headless eCommerce platforms on the market today.
Compared to others on this list, Shopify Plus has higher automation capabilities. It allows users with varying skill levels to set up their stores without hiring a developer or programmer. Shopify Plus can benefit new sellers because it doesn’t require HTML knowledge or coding skills to set up online shops.
Benefits of Shopify Plus:
- High Reliability
- Significant Levels of Customization
- Optimum Traffic Optimization
- App Integration
- Payment Integration Options
- Improves Wholesale Management
- Lacks Multistore Architecture
- Limited SEO Capabilities
Examples of Shopify Plus Websites:
- Touchland – Deals on pocket-sized hand sanitizer sprays
- Dossier – Designs top-quality perfumes in an affordable range
#2. BigCommerce – Single-Page Checkout
BigCommerce lets you manage website content and processes from a remote web-based dashboard. Notably, it comes with various features, including integrations with Google Analytics, PayPal, Facebook Pixel, MailChimp, etc.
BigCommerce provides users with advanced store management & social media marketing features too. The platform standouts in terms of free essential design tools letting you create custom themes or templates for your store.
Benefits of BigCommerce:
- Unlimited Products
- High Bandwidth
- Single-Page Checkout
- Less Downtime
- Coupons & Gift Certificates
- Product Videos
- No Shipping Discount
- Limited Free Themes
Examples of Big Commerce Websites:
- SkullCandy – Audio lifestyle brand
- Solo Stove – Deals on the simple outdoor cooking stove
#3. Adobe Commerce – Advanced Analytics & Reporting
Formerly known as Magento Commerce, Adobe Commerce offers all the features you need for creating advanced online stores. Built on top of AngularJS and Node.js, this open-source platform is highly customizable with an easy-to-use dashboard. Adobe Commerce provides an intuitive analytics dashboard. It allows you to track important metrics like conversion, cart abandonment, new visitor rates, etc.
You can also create personalized coupons using the reporting dashboard that makes your customers feel appreciated. Adobe lets you access a personalized social media feed that updates every time a new sale or promotion occurs in the store. So, customers never miss out on anything they might be interested in.
Benefits of Adobe Commerce:
- Flexible in Use
- Mobile Optimization
- SEO Friendly
- Optimal Scalability
- Multiple Customization Options
- Large Community Support
- Lacks Intuitive Interface
Examples of Websites Using Adobe Commerce:
- Paul Smith – British fashion designer
- Land Rover – SUV brand
#4. Volusion – Social Media Sharing and Integrations
Volusion is an open-source eCommerce platform that one can customize according to the business needs. It is scalable, fast, and has a low learning curve. One can use this headless CMS software with any programming language. With many features, including an SEO module and high fidelity content management system (CMS), Volusion is a must-have for serious online retailers.
The customization options are extensive but easy enough for anyone to follow. One will have the opportunity to include or exclude any modules, ensuring that the site will function exactly how they want it to!
Benefits of Volusion:
- Secure Hosting
- Built-in SEO
- Free Slideshow
- Process Returns & Refunds
- Abandoned Cart Reports
- Third-Party Integrations
- Lacks Blogging Capabilities
- Limited Community Support
Examples of Websites Using Volusion:
- All Dog Boots – Sells special dog footwear
- Hot Miami Styles – Deals in nightclub dresses and other outfits
#5. OpenCart – Easy to Handle Dashboard
OpenCart has impressive features, including a responsive design, integrated payment gateways, Google Adwords and Bing ads integration, etc. It also benefits businesses with translation functionality and a full range of extensions. Moreover, when it comes to security, OpenCart has made SSL certificates mandatory for all new installations.
Like WooCommerce, OpenCart lets users leverage plugins to extend its functionality. On the downside, OpenCart isn’t as easy to set up as some other platforms on this list, so if you’re not technically minded, then things could get tricky. Nevertheless, this is one powerful eCommerce platform with plenty of perks worth considering. You can hire eCommerce developers to set up an advanced store on Opencart for your business.
Benefits of OpenCart:
- Zero Setup Fee
- Highly Customizable
- Complete Set of Reports
- Free Add-Ons
- Dedicated Technical Support
- User Friendly
- Steep Learning Curve
- Limited Support
Examples of Websites using OpenCart:
- Krishna – Deals in jewelry
- Shore Lines – Specialist in Canadian mountain bikes
#6. Ecwid – Seamless Integration with Your Existing Website
If you’re looking for a headless eCommerce platform to help you grow your online business, Ecwid is a great option. With Ecwid, you can easily create a robust online store without worrying about hosting or website design. Ecwid integrates with all major payment processors and shipping carriers so one can start business immediately.
The notable features of Ecwid include marketing tools like Facebook Ads Manager integration, Google Analytics integration, API library, etc. There are also advanced opportunities like referral marketing which lets businesses reward customers for sharing/promoting products on social media. To top it off, Ecwid has live chat software built-in so customers can contact customer service quickly and efficiently!
Benefits of Ecwid:
- Multiple Features
- Quick Integration
- Cheaper Pans
- Point-of-Sale Functionality
- Responsive designs
- Fixed URL
- Free Version Lacks SEO Capabilities
Examples of Websites Using Ecwid:
- GhorTheke – Sells Groceries
- Sydney Flying Academy – Pilot training school based in Sydney
#7. PrestaShop – Powerful Catalog & Site Management
PrestaShop is a good option for those with smaller budgets. The software has been around since 2005 and includes various tools such as an email marketing system, social media integrations, marketing automation, etc.
Overall, Prestashop is a reputable headless CMS that lets users with less technical experience set up their site in no time. The plugin library contains numerous free plugins you can install with just a few clicks. As mentioned before, its paid support may be costly, depending on the budget.
Benefits of PrestaShop:
- Open Source Platform
- Easy to Use and Maintain
- User-friendly Interface
- Customization Friendly
- Multiple Free Themes
- Create Special Offers
- Limited Scalability
- Lacks Professional Designs
Examples of Websites Using PrestaShop:
- KliknKlik – Deals on electronic devices
- Only Hangers – Sells clothes hangers
#8. Wix – Extend Features With Wix App Market
Wix was launched in 2006 and is one of the most popular headless eCommerce platforms. It offers an online editor for web pages that can be used as a website or a blog. It also has robust social media integrations and compatibility with major shipping carriers such as FedEx and UPS.
With Wix, you will experience all the benefits of running your business without any associated costs. Once you sign up, you’ll have your custom domain name (or subdomain) and storefront with no upfront costs or additional fees like monthly hosting charges.
Benefits of Wix:
- Good Site Speed
- Massive Template Collection
- Intuitive Drag And Drop Interface
- Advanced SEO Tools
- Mobile Optimization
- Advanced Design Features
- The basic plan contains ads
- Lacks unlimited plan
Examples of Websites Using Wix:
- Sharon Radisch – Photography Website
- Evolve Clothing – Deals in Attires
#9. Snipcart – Flexible Shopping Cart Platform
When looking forward to integrating a shopping cart into your website, Snipcart is one of the most reliable options. You can quickly start an online store with this platform with an extensive list of features and integrations. The clean & intuitive interface allows anyone to use it without difficulty. Snipcart provides you with an interactive dashboard where you can manage your products, orders, inventory, and other aspects of your business.
Its integration with Google Analytics and other third-party tools helps collect data about website user behavior. A feature that many users like about Snipcart: No additional fees are required to use the services.
Benefits of Snipcart:
- Full-blown Dashboard
- Performance Analytics
- Customer/Order Management
- Discounts Coupons Generation
- Multi-Currency Payments
- Flexible Shopping Cart
- Lacks Mature Community Support
- Chargeable Platform
Examples of Websites Using Snipcart:
- Aether Pharma – Provider of skincare pharmaceutical products
- Nd Books – Book selling platform
#10. Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC)
Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC) is renowned for scalability, performance, and privacy. It’s a cloud-based platform accessible through any device at any time. SFCC offers integrations with Google Analytics, Google Shopping, Facebook, and more. So, users can view analytics in real-time without requiring them to log into their eCommerce accounts. SFCC can also be integrated with third-party applications such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento.
In addition, it provides multi-channel capabilities for business growth and cross-platform integration for different audiences & marketplaces. Other great features include access to detailed sales reports, including product-level reporting and inventory management functionality,
Benefits of SFCC:
- State-of-the-Art Marketing Tools
- Predictive Intelligence
- Internationalization of Storefronts
- Rich Mobile Experience
- Omni-Channel Functionalities
- Dedicated Customer Support.
- Limited Marketing Campaigns
- Expensive Option
Examples of Websites Using SFCC:
- Adidas – An apparel brand
- L’Oreal USA – Cosmetics brand
Wrapping Up: Tips to Choose a Reliable eCommerce Platform
These are just some options available to headless eCommerce retailers looking for a reliable online shopping solution to help them grow their business. It is essential to inspect the following qualities to ensure the right choice:
- Look for a platform that has been around for a while and has a good reputation.
- Make sure the platform is compatible with your existing systems.
- Choose a platform that offers good customer support.
- Check if the platform is scalable and can grow with your business.
- Make sure the chosen one is secure and offers features like fraud protection.
- Compare pricing plans to find one that fits your budget.
- Try out the platform with a free trial before committing to it long-term.
The headless eCommerce platforms listed here fulfill the above criteria. Connect with a reliable eCommerce development company to analyze the level of customization necessary for your project.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1- What is an example of headless eCommerce?
Answer: Nike is a remarkable example of an enterprise running with a headless eCommerce setup. The company is making the most of this setup & users can browse their products on any device, regardless of the screen size or orientation. They’ve created an experience that shoppers can use from desktop computers and laptops to mobile phones and tablets without skipping a beat.
Q2- Is Shopify headless eCommerce?
Answer: Shopify works well with a headless setup. Shopify is an e-commerce platform designed for selling goods and services online. Anyone can set up Shopify stores regardless of technical experience; no software code is required for setup.
Q3- Is Magento a headless eCommerce platform?
Answer: Yes, Adobe commerce is a headless eCommerce platform with a powerful suite of tools for digital marketers and advertisers. It’s possible to create dynamic ads and sell ad space in real-time, allowing advertisers to reach consumers across multiple screens simultaneously.