Headless commerce allows businesses to decouple a website or app’s front-end interface from the back-end systems and databases. It increases flexibility since developers can use their choice of development framework, and marketers can run campaigns without worrying about how any implemented changes on the front end will affect the back end. It makes the website or app flexible and full-proof.
As per Forbes magazine, 2019 to 2021 saw an investment of $1.6 billion in headless solutions. It shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the multitude of benefits headless commerce offers.
However, implementing headless commerce comes with its own set of challenges. First, you need to build a strategic foundation that can evaluate both technical and business facets involved in the process.
To help with that, this article sheds light on the testing strategies and evaluation criteria you should adopt to effectively and successfully navigate the headless commerce space.
1. Technical Considerations
In a headless architecture, the back end is isolated from the front end. In more technical terms, it’s loosely coupled with the front end via APIs. This means is that, unlike the traditional commerce architecture, the back end doesn’t bear any responsibility to adjust the front end.
Through API calls, the back end can exchange data with the front end. While this separation of layers allows for the flexibility needed to modify the store as per the needs, it also brings a different and complex dimension to the testing process. The testing has to be full-stack – i.e., testing all the APIs to verify the connection between all the layers.
Testing the APIs
APIs act as the “middlemen” between the back-end and the front-end of eCommerce. It makes it absolutely important that their functions are tested thoroughly. It ensures that the back end responds as it should, which is crucial to ensure that the front end is displaying and acting upon relevant data.
Now, there could be different API calls for driving different features and functionalities. For example, some APIs are concerned with ensuring that the correct inventory level is being shown on the website. Others can have different calls dedicated to defining specific attributes. Therefore, businesses will have to make the following considerations:
- Defining the purpose of the API to understand what each API call can do
- Weighing and prioritizing the testing of certain APIs since they could be driving other API calls
- Leveraging API test automation tools to ensure broader coverage and continuous and rapid testing
To ensure that the API endpoints are working as they should, you need to conduct A/B tests, irrespective of the front-end system connected to the headless CMS.
Is API testing for headless commerce necessary?
Of course, API testing for headless architecture would entail significant time, effort, and resources. In addition, it would be challenging to unify all the test cases and holistically evaluate the resource requirements for each of the layers. But you should still pay attention to testing as it is a critical to maintaining quality assurance.
The ideal-case scenario would be for eCommerce businesses to partner with a technology expert capable of unifying the testing of all the layers. This way, they could to focus on the front end and the business side of things.
However, there’s more to evaluating a headless solution than testing just tech. So, let’s move on to testing business strategies.
2. Business-Centric Considerations
For a headless solution to be adopted successfully, there’s a need to make sure that the proper steps are taken at both the technical and business levels. Ensuring that the headless solution’s cost is justified is a critical consideration. Thus, there would be a need to weigh the costs against the benefits to get a clear picture of how well the headless solution fits the business needs. And this would necessitate addressing the following questions:
- How much would it cost to build a headless commerce solution using Magento, for example?
- What fees would computing platforms (like Google Cloud Run) accrue?
- How much would developing multiple (as required) front-end interfaces for different operating systems and devices cost?
- Would licensing costs be involved that the business would otherwise be unaware of?
Support and Maintenance
Apart from cost, you also need to factor in support and maintenance. A headless solution is bound to come with its own set of maintenance challenges.
To ensure the longevity of such a solution, the eCommerce business needs to ensure that a headless solution is well-supported throughout. And this would require the enterprise to identify the support and maintenance services necessary for the headless solution. You should answer the following questions before you make a choice:
- Is the business being offered ongoing support and maintenance?
- Is there a dedicated technical team to address issues and fix bugs?
- What is the backup support strategy?
Overall, evaluating these non-technical considerations helps B2B or B2C businesses decide whether implementing headless solution is profitable.
The Bottom Line
To overcome the technical complexity, businesses should partner with a technology expert capable of addressing both the technical and business facets of a headless solution. But, more importantly, such an entity should be able to leverage its expertise by providing
enterprise-wide support instead of just focusing on the headless aspect. This way, businesses would be assured of the longevity of their headless solution.
Finally, while headless commerce is a trend that’s gaining popularity, it’s not something that you should haphazardly adopt. At Ignitiv, we ensure that the headless commerce solution we’re helping eCommerce businesses with is the right fit by considering all the nuances that would arise in due course of time. Connect with us to learn more about headless commerce adoption and testing.