With the ever-changing & fast-paced world of e-commerce platforms, nothing is permanent in the developer's life, not even your presentation layer.
And we all know how well our front end & backend developers collaborate |-).
Divide & Conquer has always been a successful gimmick over the years. Well, why not use the same strategy to build eCommerce solutions.
How about separating the front-end layer from the backend layer?
The range of devices in the revolutionized IoT era is getting wider & customers are finding new ways of purchasing the commodities online.
Considering the issues & difficulties of the legacy system in fulfilling the needs of ever-changing customer demands. There is a need for a paradigm shift where front end developers get all the flexibility of UI customization without altering any of the back-end code & hence Headless Commerce is the pressing priority.
Let us see more on what headless commerce is, its benefits & how some companies wrote their success stories using headless commerce.
A solution that decouples the front-end presentation layer from the back-end functionality to provide flexible, sleek & frictionless user experience & would enable the application to reach the omnichannel user base.
The front-end code "Head" let's say the UI, social commerce, IoT & several such presentation layers components can be updated separately without modifying or deploying the back-end code.
Benefits of having Headless Commerce
- It doesn't bind you to use the rigid framework laid out by the software vendors (platform). You have the liberty to choose within your already-learned tech-infra.
- You can scale your eCommerce development across multiple touch-points without over-provisioning the infrastructure.
- The decoupled architecture gives the room for creative competency on the front-end without having you to worry about back-end stability.
- Quick A/B testing and early deployments will make you nose-ahead of the competitors.
Integrating PWA-friendly front-ends with headless commerce architecture
Apart from the traditional websites— headless commerce architecture allows easy integration of PWA-friendly front-ends. The separated system renders PWA-experience on the front-end without altering the back-end.
The fact that PWA and headless commerce work so well together make the duo cherry on the cake for you. The headless-commerce-backed PWA store will give a better user experience, enhance conversion, and most importantly— boost your rank on the Google SERP hierarchy.
Connecting the front-end and the back-end with Shopify Connector
Looking at the surge of headless commerce trends and growing Shopify businesses— Aureate Team has developed a connector known as Shopify Connector. The connector creates a bridge between your front-end (VueStorefront) and back-end (Shopify).
With a modern JS stack and a blend of PWA and headless approach— you can use Vue Storefront for weaving native apps lookalike shopping-experience and scale-up site performance. Learn more about VueStorefront here.
What is Shopify Connector?
Shopify connector lets you develop PWA front-end using Vue Storefront and the back-end using Shopify. You can establish a connection between front-end and back-end with the help of Shopify's Storefront API. However, the API is only accessible through GraphQL.
GraphQL is a data query or a syntax which explains how to ask for data. Simply put, it's the query language of API which is used to load data from a server to a client.
If your developing team is not familiar with GraphQL, we encourage them to visit the GraphQL guide before proceeding further.
How will Shopify Connector work?
To build a working environment between Vue Storefront and Shopify commerce— you will have to install two core packages: Shopify JS Buy SDK and Shopify Composition Functions. These packages will integrate your Shopify PWA instance with Vue Storefront.
It uses the Shopify client library to prepare and execute GraphQL queries, and fetch the information from the Shopify store. The domain name and API token are mandatory to make API calls.
Using the Storefront API, you can:
- Fetch data for a single product or a collection of products to display on any website or device.
- Create unique checkout experiences with full control over the shopping cart.
- Create new customers or modify existing ones, including the address details.
- Allow customers to select unique product options.
- Storefront UI
Installation & Configuration
Guide for installing and custom configuration, check out this post - Shopify PWA Connector: Installation & Configuration.
Here's the list of core benefits of moving to headless commerce using PWA:
- Mobile-first approach
- Lightning-fast store
- Reliable Performance
- Low data consumption
- Cross-device compatibility
- Seamless 3rd party integrations
- Marketing benefits
Let's see how these factors affect business and their operational decisions:
1. Mobile-first approach
- Average Americans spend 5.4 hours every day on their phones— mostly for social engagement, entertainment, and business purposes.
- 62% of users with negative mobile-store experience are less likely to purchase from the same store.
- With social media capturing the biggest sales pie among all other sales channels on mobile touch-points and users demanding better mobile-experience— you should consider building mobile-friendly digital experiences. Mobile-first approach will help improve SMM conversions.
- Shopify PWA helps build mobile-first websites that provide faster and better shopping-experience, increase conversions, and prune down customer retention costs.
- Additionally, PWA features such as 'push notifications' and 'add a shortcut to homescreen' can retain customers and cut down the price on retention marketing.
2. Lightning-fast store
- 53% of customers abandon websites if the pages take more than 3 seconds to load.
- But speeding up websites with visually-arresting & intuitive experience improves core KPIs of the store. Better website performance decreases bounce rates, leads to more page views, shrinks cart abandonment rates, and converts more visitors.
- Increased speed also adds valuable aspects in user-brand interaction and builds a positive brand image.
- Brand credibility pushes customer loyalty to the brink, henceforth, reducing customer acquisition and retention costs.
- Enhanced load speed also plays a key web performance metric gimmick in improving the SEO of the store.
- Better web performance will hand-over room for more extensions that were dampening your Shopify store earlier.
Google officially favours PWA stores over non-PWA stores.
3. Reliable Performance
- Shopify stores function when you're connected with the internet. But they choke up under flaky or bad networks.
- On the other hand, your Shopify with Headless front-end just needs to load once, and they are good to show-up even when the network crumbles or goes down! The offline-accessibility brings utilitarianism on the table for multiple use cases.
- Lazy-loading PWAs work well in regions with unstable internet connections. You can use the feature to venture into a new market, expand your reach, and have a first-mover advantage over close rivals.
4. Low data consumption
- PWAs use smart caching techniques. Smart cachers reduce data transfer, lower load on your server, and save bills with optimized server activities.
- Low data consumption facilitates users with more data to browse.
5. Cross-device compatibility
- Building and managing a traditional web store, developing apps on native android & iOS environments, and creating tablet-friendly stores can be daunting. Headless Shopify gives you the power to do all of that at one stroke.
- It gives users the feel of using an app-like interface and other app features and is also accessible on the web.
- It reduces the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Time-to-Market. A unified update will save you from making updates on all platforms, individually.
6. Seamless 3rd party integrations
- The conventional systems with different code bases face a hard time in integration.
- But headless commerce plays nice with all the third-party integrated services. It uses powerful APIs to integrate all your subsisting systems (ERP, PIM, IMS, etc.) and build tangible shopping experiences using your preferred programming language.
- It makes your store future-ready and adapts to the seismic technical shifts.
Marketing benefits of Headless Architecture:
Since eCommerce companies spend a significant chunk of money in marketing their store, subtle improvement in the strategy can reflect huge savings. Here's how PWA can help:
- SEO: Apart from page load speeds, session durations, page views, and Google-favoring stores— PWA gives us enormous control over-optimizing the front-end.
- SMM: Most niches of eCommerce social media marketing drive revenue and are directly proportional to sales.
- While improved speed will anyway increase SMM conversions,
- The rapid landing and web page development will allow marketing teams to iterate fast and make immersive content marketing campaigns.
- A/B Testing: As the back-ends of Shopify landing pages are tightly-coupled with the front-end— A/B testing brings severe pain for developers and testers. With Shopify PWA— landing pages are easily built, rapidly deployed and tested, and are always kept on bug-check.
- The lack of dependency between the front-end and the back-end separates the reliance of content marketers on developers & vice-versa. The right person gets the proper strength in their domain. Both enjoy privileges to express themselves.
- As the front-end is built using PWA— the blazing-fast store will decrease the bounce rate.
- The fast load speed indirectly helps in paid campaigns (PPC), where your spending amount is dependent on the quality score, and page load speed is one of the three key quality score factors.
Headless Commerce will take some time to replace the existing web-developing mechanics organically; however, they have finally given us something to cheer about in 2020.
The higher separation between the front-end and the back-end will produce a healthy mental-development environment, thereby letting you create customized digital experience of your choice.
By reading this post, I hope you got a better understanding of the new concept of 'Headless Commerce'. In addition to that, you learned the different aspects of Shopify PWA Connector. Different kinds of business benefits, how it can upgrade overall retail business.
Shopify PWA Connector increases revenue, improves UX and CX, and collects more actionable user data points to make lives easier for back-office teams.
If you want to learn more about Shopify PWA Connector, the installation guide and different configurations, please head over to below given link.
Thanks for reading... : )