Why Going Headless Doesn’t Have to Mean Losing Your Head

by | Jun 4, 2020

Andrew Humber

Andrew hails from the UK, but headed for the warmer Bay Area climate over a decade ago. When he’s not being Webscale’s VP of Marketing, he’s a husband, father, dog walker, wine taster, and hopeless home improver.

I’ll confess to saying that whenever I hear the term “headless ecommerce”, I think of Nearly Headless Nick. But it turns out that headless ecommerce has nothing to do with Harry Potter movies or fictional ghosts with partially severed noggins. Instead, it refers to a collection of new technologies and architectures designed to make it easier for ecommerce merchants to deliver consistent user experiences, across a wide spectrum of platforms, and to an ever increasing number of consumer device types.

You see, the days of your customer just using a laptop or even a smartphone to browse your online store are gone. Buyer endpoints such as smartwatches, voice-enabled shopping assistants, mall kiosks, smart TVs and more, are coming sharply into focus and they all need to be on point from a brand and functionality perspective.

So what is it?

A headless ecommerce architecture enables the separation of the front end presentation layer (what your customer sees when they visit your site) from the backend, where most of the key ecommerce functions reside, like the shopping cart, product catalog, payment systems, and more.

A separate API layer enables these backend functions to be utilized by the front end, which means the presentation layer is no longer constrained by the ecommerce application, and the APIs can be used to deliver an endless variety of custom user experiences to any screen, on any device.

So is headless for you? Well, if you can answer yes to any of these questions, then it probably is:

1. Do you have users (now or in the near future) shopping on your website from devices with different user interfaces, such as smartwatches, phones, tablets, etc.?
2. Do you have an omnichannel strategy where buyers can browse/purchase products in your physical store or at a kiosk in a mall, and have them shipped to their home?
3. Are you encumbered by a lack of customization for your storefront, because it is contained within a fully hosted platform that limits your flexibility?

Was that a yes? OK, here’s how we can help

Webscale delivers its ecommerce hosting infrastructure via a decoupled data plane and control plane. Let me explain that bit. A data plane is essentially a collection of proxies, which define the cloud provider and the blueprints (machine size, region etc.) to use when creating individual proxies in that data plane. The control plane then monitors the health of the applications and controls the overall availability with functions such as self-healing and auto-scaling.

Our decoupled infrastructure enables highly efficient management of all the pieces needed to deploy and deliver the front end, while increasing the security, performance, and uptime of the overall application.

Deploying in this way gives digital agencies and business owners the architectural freedom to be more nimble in building and evolving the presentation layer, refreshing their brand, accelerating end-user experiences, securing their storefront from cyber attacks, and scaling the capacity of the site to handle varying user demand.



We also have a couple of nifty features designed with headless ecommerce in mind. Site Splice for example, lets developers easily route device-specific and functional needs to the appropriate services dynamically, while Site Cache, caches the responses, making application development and user experience faster, and free of third party bottlenecks. And of course, we bring all the other Webscale mojo to bear as well, including our security stack with bot management, a web application firewall designed for ecommerce, and our predictive auto-scaling and load balancing, which ensures your headless deployments are always available, across all devices.

The “Any Platform” Commerce Cloud

Finally, and unlike many hosting companies in the ecommerce space, Webscale is the “any platform” provider. That means we are platform and cloud agnostic, so we can deploy whatever you want, wherever you want. We support all front-end CMS technologies in use for headless deployments, all backend ecommerce platforms for critical functions, as well as all cloud providers, including AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure and many others. And, of course, it’s all covered by our award-winning 24/7 global support team.

Competition is fierce. Amazon isn’t getting any weaker. Going after a niche segment, like edgy club fashion, vintage jewelry or classic car auto parts is critical, and delivering distinct, sophisticated user experiences to your captive audience is a must. A headless ecommerce infrastructure is a powerful weapon to have in your arsenal to achieve these goals.

Want to learn more, check out our headless web page here, or drop us an email at info@webscale.com and one of our “nearly headless” specialists will get right back to you 🙂

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