The transformation that the eCommerce world is undergoing has been sudden and massive. Shoppers have fallen under the spell of the comfort and convenience of shopping from anywhere, at any time, and using any device. This has dramatically changed the retail business landscape, especially as the pandemic lingers on. Consumers are spoiled for choice. Today, they are so used to consuming content and making purchases via different channels and touchpoints that legacy retail entities are struggling to define agile and modern digital strategies to offer value.
In the world of eCommerce, headless and modular commerce are now aiding retailers in providing customers with a shopping experience that is seamless and stunning, even as customer preferences keep evolving. And although both these terms are used interchangeably, they differ in many aspects. Here’s distinguishing headless and modular commerce.
What is headless commerce?
Headless commerce is an eCommerce solution that stores, manages, and delivers content without a front-end layer. Since the front-end has been decoupled from the solution, it requires retailers to use APIs to send data and content between the backend and frontend. Unlike traditional eCommerce platforms where tightly coupled front and back end only allows for content to be delivered on websites or mobile apps, headless commerce allows for the backend to be edited – without interfering with the front-end. This allows content and products to be delivered across kiosk screens, smartwatches, and everything in between.
What is modular commerce?
Modular eCommerce offers businesses the flexibility to customize platforms by bringing together several constituent elements, using a variety of tools. In a modular setup, since each module or building block handles different functions and operates independently, retailers can more easily update and publish content across a variety of channels while delivering a seamless customer experience – without requiring developers to make changes to the underlying platform. Unlike traditional eCommerce platforms that are built using pre-packaged systems, modular commerce allows for different functions of the platform to be built using a set of interconnected components, so incremental updates and changes can be made quickly and efficiently.
What makes them similar?
Although headless commerce and modular commerce are two entirely different concepts to eCommerce development, when it comes to the benefits they offer, they do overlap. Here’s looking at some of the similarities between the two:
- Headless and modular commerce technologies, when paired together, enable retailers to more easily publish platform-agnostic content and launch new features faster.
- Both headless and modular commerce solutions pave the way for unmatched flexibility, allowing retailers to introduce new capabilities and keep up with the pace of change.
- They also provide more ongoing control over the look and feel of the eCommerce platform as well as over the user experience.
- In addition, both approaches to eCommerce development offer endless possibilities for customization, enabling developers to make changes as necessary to meet fluctuating business needs.
- With headless and modular commerce, brands can offer a seamless omnichannel experience, so customers can enjoy consistent shopping– irrespective of what channel they’re on or what device they are using.
- Both approaches empower retailers with the agility they need to remain competitive; updates and changes can be introduced more quickly and customer demands can be met with more precision.
- Decoupled front and backend systems in headless commerce and the individual modules in modular commerce also reduce the risk of a single point of failure.
What makes them different?
Just like they have similarities, headless and modular commerce are also different in many aspects; here’s looking at some of them
- In headless commerce, the front and back end of the eCommerce platform is decoupled; in modular commerce, independent modules are integrated into the backend infrastructure.
- Modular commerce offers more agility than headless commerce; since different modules serve different functions, retailers can make necessary changes to a particular module, without impacting the performance or functionality of others – just like in a microservices-based architecture.
- In headless commerce, because the front and backend operate independently of each other, retailers are not constrained by the underlying architecture in any way. This allows them to easily push content across digital marketplaces which is not as seamless with modular commerce.
- Modular commerce delivers great scalability; because modules can be added as the business grows and expands into new channels, retailers can more easily meet the surge in demand.
- Headless provisions are easy to implement, unlike modular components which require resources with substantial experience and expertise in modular technology.
- While headless commerce streamlines design and development, paving the way for customer-centric selling, modular commerce streamlines the application development process, offering an Amazon-like scale.
The rapid changes in the eCommerce sector have pushed retailers to embrace new and more efficient approaches to eCommerce development. Headless and modular commerce are two of the latest buzzwords in the industry that are enabling retailers to improve the performance and functionality of their eCommerce platforms while delivering seamless customer experiences. Together, they are helping retailers respond quickly to changes in customer behavior while also catering to a range of channels and operating systems.