Advanced Programming: What is Headless Commerce and What Are Some Pros and Cons

The digital era has certainly brought about some interesting changes when it comes to how people use and perceive the internet and software in today’s world.

Many people today want to create websites and applications that need to be programmed to the highest degree, which is the case of creating a website would be what is known as headless technology or headless commerce.

There are many new ones out there that boast headless programming but the question remains of whether or not this is worth it.

This article aims to shed light on what the programming style of headless entails and outline some of the pros and cons of going the headless route.

Headless 101

When it comes to creating a website, traditional sites have what is known as a front end and a back end. Now, the front end and the back end are typically merged into one and cannot be separated – this is the traditional norm of programming a site.

The front end is the part that potential website visitors engage with, so it’s what they see and the back end is everything they do not see i.e., the server, the background functions and the structure of the website. 

In a world that is headless, the programmer essentially severed this connection, creating parallel running front and back ends.

This is a huge change because suddenly the two areas that were thought to come as one are suddenly separate. This opens a wide range of opportunities for website owners.

The Pros of Going Headless

The opportunities that website owners have with a headless site are limitless.

The problem that many people had with traditional and rigid front and back ends was that every time you wanted to make a change to the back end, for example, adding a new calendar product section, you first had to do this on the back end, which would stall the front end and create a slow process.

Now, website owners can make as many changes to the back end as they want, without anyone seeing it in the front end and then when they’re ready, launch all these changes at once, without ever interfering with the site that consumers are engaged with. 

It also creates a parallel universe in which different people within the website team can work independently of each other. If the marketing team wants to add new copy to a product, they can do so directly on the front end, without needing the help of back end developers.

Much the same, if back end developers want to relaunch the site or fix problematic bugs, they can do so without ever impeding the function of the site.

Furthermore, website owners have far more control and flexibility around how they want their website to function, as they can create even the most complex systems as they are no longer limited to a server or template. 

The Cons of Going Headless

One of the major drawbacks to choosing the headless route is the fact that it requires a large investment for an eCommerce site. For anything with such impeccable technological capabilities, you need to have the investment for it.

Many development agencies often only recommend this option to companies who earn over a certain revenue mark or have an extremely busy website, such as Nike or Adidas. 

Another con of going headless is the fact that you need an entire team to do this. Headless is a very technically advanced avenue, in which you need to know exactly what you’re doing.

Unless you’re a tech guru, you will have to hire an array of software and website developers who can help you with the creation of your headless site, which not only costs a heft agency retainer but also takes a considerable amount of time. 

Going headless or not is completely up the business, certain great benefits come with it but there are also some serious drawbacks too. At the end of the day, it is up to the website owner to decide.

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