The Ultimate Guide About Headless BigCommerce

John Ahya John Ahya January 17, 2023
10 mins read Last Updated February 07, 2023
Headless BigCommerce

eCommerce platforms with headless commerce are becoming increasingly popular, offering brands more scaling options. One such popular headless eCommerce platform is BigCommerce.

By going headless with BigCommerce, businesses can enhance their store’s performance and scalability while giving customers a personalized and seamless shopping experience. If you already have a BigCommerce store and are looking to improve it or are considering re-platforming to a headless architecture, this guide is for you.

In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits of headless BigCommerce and provide you with actionable steps to help you make the transition.

Whether you’re new to headless or a seasoned veteran, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and resources you need to take your eCommerce game to the next level. So let’s dive in!

What is Headless BigCommerce?

Headless BigCommerce allows you to decouple the front end and back end to operate them independently. It is a way to break free from traditional eCommerce platforms’ constraints and create a unique online store experience.

What is Headless BigCommerce?

[Image Source: BigCommerce.com]

By using BigCommerce as a headless platform, merchants can connect to any front-end technology of their choice and use APIs to integrate the back-end and front-end systems seamlessly.

This approach enables merchants to build custom functionality to meet their specific business requirements. BigCommerce’s API endpoints can power various aspects of the commerce offering, including product search, content management, billing, and payments.

Furthermore, you can integrate microservices such as API-led CRMs and ERPs to streamline customer journeys and handle specific tasks such as payments and cataloging.

A typical headless BigCommerce setup can include BigCommerce as the core platform for customer data and admin, a CMS for content management, a search solution such as Azure Search, an order management system like Moltin, and a subscription billing solution.

This way, merchants can leverage the best-in-class technologies to create the optimal eCommerce experience for their customers.

How Headless BigCommerce Works?

The headless version of BigCommerce is a powerful commerce solution that allows businesses to create a completely customized online presence. This setup separates the front-end interface from the back-end system, allowing companies to choose their design and functionality.

It is achieved through APIs, enabling the front-end and back-end to communicate and exchange data.
Businesses must set up their back-end system, which includes adding products, processing orders, and managing inventory to use the headless BigCommerce solution.

They can then use the APIs provided by BigCommerce to connect the back end to the front end of their choice. It could be a traditional website, a mobile app, or a digital platform.

Why Should You Go Headless with BigCommerce?

With the ability to customize, integrate and automate different areas of your web store, BigCommerce is one of the best headless commerce platforms that can help you quickly create an engaging digital storefront.

By leveraging BigCommerce’s robust API layer, businesses can easily connect their existing eCommerce system and other third-party systems to create a unified customer experience.

Additionally, with BigCommerce’s mobile-first approach, companies can ensure their customers can access the same user-friendly experience on any device. Ultimately, BigCommerce’s headless commerce solution allows businesses to drive more conversions.

More online eCommerce platforms are investing in headless technologies to improve the efficiency of their platform and provide their customers with a personalized shopping experience.

A recent research be Forbes showed that in 2021-2022 $1.65 billion of funding was raised for developing new headless technologies to make online commerce more enjoyable and easy to manage.

Pros & Cons of Headless BigCommerce

Headless BigCommerce has helped online retailers in a big way by offering them more flexibility in their operations, which allowed them to provide a better shopping experience to their customers.

This powerful platform has its share of pros and cons, and you should know about them to make an informed judgment about whether migrating to the new Headless BigCommerce setup will be a profitable decision on your part.

Pros of Headless BigCommerce

The top benefits of headless BigCommerce include the following:

  • Flexibility to connect to any front-end and create a unique online store experience.
  • The ability to build custom functionality to cater to specific business requirements.
  • Improved scalability options to handle rising site traffic and deliver consistent customer experiences across multiple channels.
  • Use microservices to streamline customer journeys and handle specific tasks such as payments and cataloging.
  • Potential for faster website performance since the headless architecture allows for decoupling the front-end and back-end and enabling the front-end to retrieve the necessary data more efficiently.
  • Potential for better personalization and customization of the customer journey.

Cons of Headless BigCommerce

BigCommerce Headless also has some limitations. You must know about these and understand how to manage these limitations:

1. Building a headless commerce platform requires significant technical experience and resources to connect and integrate various microservices. It can be challenging for businesses without dedicated development teams.

Solution: Additional resources and development effort required: Businesses can solve this issue by seeking the help of professional headless commerce development agencies or hiring dedicated development teams with the expertise to build and maintain a headless commerce platform.

2. With headless architecture, merchants will lose the ability to use some of the native features available on the BigCommerce platform that come out of the box.

Solution: To overcome this issue, merchants need to weigh the pros and cons of headless commerce and decide if the benefits outweigh the potential loss of some native features. Merchants can also use plugins and apps to fill in the functionality gap.

3. Due to the need for additional resources, development effort, and additional cost for integrating different microservices, headless commerce can be more expensive than traditional eCommerce platforms.

Solution: To address this, merchants can plan their headless commerce projects carefully, prioritize their needs, and budget accordingly. Also, using cloud-based services can help in reducing infrastructure costs.

When Should You Go with Headless BigCommerce?

Headless BigCommerce can be used by businesses of all sizes across various industries that want greater control over the user experience of their online store and the flexibility to integrate with multiple third-party systems and services.

There are several reasons a business might choose to go with headless BigCommerce:

  • Customization: If you have specific requirements that are not met by traditional eCommerce platforms or a complex use case requiring more control over the front end.
  • Scalability: If you expect your business to grow and anticipate a large amount of traffic, headless commerce can provide the scalability and robustness to handle it.
  • Omnichannel: Headless commerce enables merchants to deliver consistent and personalized customer experiences across multiple channels, such as websites, mobile, social media, and more.
  • Flexibility and Agility: Headless approach allows for flexibility and agility, enabling merchants to quickly adapt to changing customer needs and business requirements.
  • Integration: If you want to integrate with third-party services and technologies that are not available through traditional eCommerce platforms, headless commerce allows for easier integration.
  • Personalization: Headless approach allows for more granular personalization of the customer journey, which can help to increase customer engagement and conversion rates.

Ultimately, whether or not headless BigCommerce is the right choice for a business depends on its specific needs and goals. However, for businesses that want more control over their front end, scalability, and flexibility, headless BigCommerce could be the right choice.

How to Go Headless with BigCommerce?

You can transform your existing BigCommerce platform headless by adopting the following three paths:

DIY (Do-It-Yourself)

Migrating to a headless architecture for BigCommerce can be done using a DIY method, but it does require some technical expertise and resources. Here is a general process for migrating to headless BigCommerce:

  • Plan your migration: Determine which microservices you need to integrate, your budget, and the timeline for the migration.
  • Backup your data: Backup all your data, including products, orders, customers, etc.
  • Decouple the frontend and backend: Set up a new frontend, such as a React or Angular application, and use BigCommerce’s APIs to connect it to your backend.
  • Integrate microservices: Integrate the necessary microservices, such as a search engine, a CMS, and an order management system, to handle specific tasks and improve scalability.
  • Test and deploy: Test your new headless architecture on a staging environment before deploying it to production.
  • Monitor and Optimize: after deploying, keep monitoring the performance and optimize the features, functionality, and performance of your headless commerce.

It’s important to remember that migrating to a headless architecture can be complex and time-consuming and may require significant technical expertise and resources to be done successfully.

If you don’t have that or facing any challenges during the process, it’s recommended to seek the help of professional headless commerce development agencies.

Go with an Agency

Taking the help of an agency for migrating to headless BigCommerce can simplify the process and ensure a smooth transition. An agency with experience in headless commerce can provide expertise and resources to help you navigate the technical aspects of migrating your store.

Here are a few things to consider when working with an agency:

  • Evaluate their experience: Look for an agency with experience in headless commerce and BigCommerce specifically, as they will be better equipped to handle the technical challenges of migrating your store.
  • Assess their methodology: Review the agency’s approach to migrating to headless BigCommerce, and ensure that it aligns with your business objectives and budget.
  • Evaluate their communication and collaboration: The agency should be able to effectively communicate and collaborate with your internal teams throughout the migration process.
  • Check their portfolio: Review their past work and case studies to understand the kind of headless Bigcommerce projects they completed and the best practices they follow.

By working with a reputable agency, you can leverage their expertise and resources to smoothly migrate your store to headless BigCommerce with minimal disruption to your business.

Leverage our over a decade of experience in eCommerce development to build your headless BigCommerce Store
"Leverage our over a decade of experience in eCommerce development to build your headless BigCommerce Store"

Frontend-As-A-Service

Using Frontend-as-a-Service (FaaS) to migrate to headless BigCommerce is a convenient and cost-effective option that can simplify the migration process.

FaaS providers offer a pre-built frontend already connected to BigCommerce’s APIs, allowing merchants to quickly and easily move their store to a headless architecture.

Here are a few benefits of using FaaS for migrating to headless BigCommerce:

  • Reduced development time and costs: FaaS providers already have a pre-built frontend connected to BigCommerce’s APIs, meaning merchants don’t need to spend as much time and resources developing and integrating a frontend from scratch.
  • Easy integration with microservices: FaaS providers usually offer a variety of built-in microservices such as search, CMS, and order management, making it easy for merchants to add functionality to their stores.
  • Scalability: FaaS providers generally support many requests, ensuring that your front end can handle high traffic volume without any issues.
  • Regular updates and maintenance: Many FaaS providers offer regular updates and maintenance, ensuring that your front end is always up-to-date and secure.

FaaS can be an efficient and cost-effective way to migrate to headless BigCommerce. It eliminates the need for extensive development and integration work while providing the necessary scalability and microservices that merchants need to run their eCommerce businesses.

Essential Checklist for Migrating to Headless Commerce

When considering a headless commerce solution for your business, it’s essential to consider some key factors to make an informed decision. Here are some points to consider:

Check the platform’s flexibility:

  • How many open API endpoints are available?
  • Are the APIs bidirectional or one-way?
  • Can you easily integrate custom integrations?

Scalability:

  • How well does the solution scale to handle increased traffic and business growth?
  • Are there limitations on catalog size?

Checkout Security:
Can the platform handle PCI-compliant checkout without compromising flexibility or limiting the number of payment gateways?

Check built-in capabilities:

Are there options for real-time shipping information and order status updates?

Consider your business/revenue model:

Will you be offering subscriptions?

These points will help you understand what to expect and what to consider in advance while deciding whether headless commerce is the right fit for you and your business.

Popular Headless BigCommerce Store Examples

Cocktail Courier

An eCommerce store that delivers cocktail ingredients and mixers to customers. By using headless BigCommerce, this site obtained a beautiful design and improved site speed. Apart from that, they also improved the shipping options.

Four Pillars Gin

It is a maker of premium gin based in Australia, known for its focus on distilling gin with an Australian flavor profile and using Australian botanicals. With headless commerce abilities they designed a horizontal scroll feature to display their products with a high quality imagery.

Black Diamond Equipment

It is a manufacturer and retailer of outdoor equipment specializing in climbing and skiing gear. They used BigCommerce headless functionality to create a stunning hero section and product pages with videos without slowing the website speed.

4. Ted Baker:

Ted Baker

It is a luxury fashion brand based in the UK, known for its formal wear and fashion accessories, such as clothing, shoes, bags, and jewelry. With headless commerce, they improved their customer experience by grouping product categories in grid form. They also enhanced their blog page.

Just Sunnies

An eCommerce retailer that offers a wide range of sunglasses from various brands and a selection of prescription glasses.

This headless BigCommerce website presents customer reviews in a carousel format to attract new potential customers. Improved page loading speed allows customers to browse more products in less time.

6. GOREWEAR:

GOREWEAR

It is a sportswear and streetwear brand; they offer a wide range of clothing, such as t-shirts, hoodies, and pants, as well as accessories like hats and bags. They are known for their bold, eye-catching designs that combine athletic and streetwear influences. The measuring charts and a product video give their product page a unique identity.

Improve your eCommerce store performance by building a lightning-fast website with BigCommerce headless architecture
"Improve your eCommerce store performance by building a lightning-fast website with BigCommerce headless architecture"

Conclusion

We hope this ultimate guide on Headless BigCommerce gave you an in-depth view of how to build a successful and secure headless eCommerce store and leverage the many benefits it can bring.

With the information about headless BigCommerce, you can now understand why it is so popular and how to implement it for your online store. And you now know the powerful options for customizing, managing, and scaling your store through BigCommerce’s APIs and other solutions.

If you need professional help moving to a headless BigCommerce setup or building an entirely new BigCommerce headless store, you can contact WebDesk Solution, a top BigCommerce development company with immense experience in this field.

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