Headless Commerce is the new standard for growth-oriented E-commerce sites. In this article, we'll discuss why traditional store systems struggle to meet modern customers' demands and how to deliver relevant shopping experiences across various channels.

Navigating the Future: How Headless Commerce is Shaping E-Commerce

Today, customers want to be reached in increasingly diverse and individual ways. No matter which channel customers use, they always expect an inspiring shopping experience. Since all these channels are very different, it’s not an easy task for retailers. Consequently, those who still rely on store systems with rigid front and backend architectures are at a loss.

Additionally, over the past two years, the use of headless commerce —  has surged by 50%. We'll explain how headless commerce solutions offer flexibility to meet evolving online store needs and how they can help retailers provide inspiring user experiences. If you're curious about how modernizing your approach to E-commerce can benefit your business, keep reading!

What is Headless Commerce?

Headless commerce is an architectural model for E-commerce platforms. Inside it, individual software components and microservices are connected via API interfaces so that the data and processes in the backend can be managed independently of the output in the frontend. This setup enables developers to independently design and develop the frontend, catering to the needs and preferences of customers without the constraints of integrating it with the backend.

The great advantage of headless commerce lies in the flexibility to operate such scenarios efficiently. With headless commerce, you can quickly set up and test new sales channels through microservices. In addition to simplifying development, the headless architecture offers a super-fast shopping experience. Many retailers are jumping on this trend, with 60% of top North American stores expected to switch to a headless solution by 2025.

How does headless API-based logic work exactly? Headless platforms are split into two parts.

Frontend responsibilities:

  • Customized interfaces: Tailored frontend for each sales channel and geographical area to meet specific customer needs.
  • Integration with modern technologies: Connects frontend with modern technologies for improved performance, maintenance, and accurate product information.

Backend responsibilities:

  • Shared data management: The centralized backend system is shared across all sales channels.
  • Data distribution: Collects and distributes data to various systems responsible for customer management, inventory, shopping carts, and sales orders.
  • Security tools: Manage data security and ensure transaction reliability for seamless E-commerce experiences.

Let’s compare the differences between traditional and headless commerce in more detail.

Criteria Traditional Commerce Headless Commerce
Architecture Complex architecture with multiple dependencies between individual components. CMS, checkout, and customer management are closely linked, so updates are time-consuming and do not always run smoothly. This makes updates challenging and prone to issues. Decoupled backend and frontend, which allows for independent updates and easier integration of additional modules via interfaces. Retailers with headless commerce can adapt their online storefronts to better support customers that shop online,without impacting or changing the backend.
Upgradability Upgrading to new system versions can be problematic, especially if custom add-ons are integrated, leading to additional work and costs. Headless commerce offers businesses more flexibility in choosing the technologies they want to use. Since the frontend website is not tied to the backend systems, companies can easily augment digital experiences or replace existing technologies. This allows companies to constantly optimize and adapt their websites to the changing needs of their customers.
Multi-platform accessibility Limited accessibility, as the shop may only function effectively on desktops. Nowadays, this approach may potentially result in reduced sales and inconsistent customer experience. Enhanced accessibility across various devices and platforms, ensuring a seamless shopping experience and higher customer satisfaction.

As new technologies (such as the Internet of Things and business AI) continue to emerge, it is important to know that with headless commerce software, new user interfaces can be more easily integrated and customized independently. These advantages ensure faster lead time, better business agility, and a future-proof E-commerce strategy.

Is Headless Commerce a Fit for Your Business?

Headless commerce solutions can be valuable if your E-commerce business wants to deliver tailored customer experiences, support multiple channels, and quickly adapt to changing market conditions. The solutions are most effective in the following situations:

1. You struggle to tailor the shopping experience to individual customer preferences. 

Without the ability to customize frontend elements, marketing campaigns may lack effectiveness in targeting specific customer segments or promoting personalized offers and promotions. Transitioning to a headless E-commerce solution allows independent development of frontend components, enabling seamless adjustments to meet evolving customer preferences without disrupting backend operations. Combined with customer data and purchase history, content can be personalized one-to-one for target groups.

2. You notice poor website performance during periods of peak traffic.

Adopting headless CMS can significantly enhance performance, responsiveness, and reliability, even under heavy loads. This is achieved by dedicated scaling of each component: the frontend can be served through content delivery networks (CDNs) for faster loading times, while the backend can be scaled independently to handle increased requests and transactions without impacting the user experience.

3. You aim to expand your digital presence and establish omnichannel marketing. 

Headless E-commerce solutions facilitate omnichannel strategies by decoupling frontend presentation from backend functionality, enabling consistent and engaging experiences across web, mobile apps, IoT devices, and other emerging touchpoints. Take advantage of these opportunities while staying true to your brand's style and tone — grow effortlessly and scale as often as you want without impacting web store performance. 

If some or all of these points apply to your company, developing a headless system landscape is certainly worth considering. In addition, if you aim to simplify customers' shopping experience with a headless approach, check out these criteria when looking for the best option:

  • User interface: Is it clear and attractive? Is the control panel easy to use?
  • Ease of use: Is it easy to learn how to use? Does the provider have good technical support, user help, tutorials, or training? 
  • Integration: Can the component be easily connected to other tools or platforms? 
  • Price: The price should also be adjusted accordingly, and the provider should offer transparency and flexibility.
Omnichannel solution for an international developer and manufacturer

The LeverX project helped to improve customer interactions and sales processes by creating a global E-commerce platform based on Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) and SAP Hybris Commerce.

The result?

  • Robust E-commerce platform with tailored product catalogs
  • Refined demand forecasting
  • Data silos eliminated
  • Streamlined data collection and processing
  • Cost-effective data aggregation and visualization
  • Improved customer experience 

Top 5 Most Widely Used Headless Commerce Platforms

Now that we've discussed why you might consider using headless solutions for your business, it's time to look at the tools to help you achieve your goals. As headless eCommerce continues to grow, there are several widely known platform providers to explore. Here are some of the top picks for 2024.

1. Shopify

Shopify Plus is one of the more well-known business solutions for building E-commerce sites and stores in the modern landscape. The leading SaaS platform supports millions of active merchants worldwide with access to full customization. You can use Shopify Plus to build a traditional online store with endless scalability or your own headless environment.

Platform features:

  • Access to GraphQL Storefront APIs to turn any screen into a digital storefront
  • Easy-to-use backend to manage all your sales channels
  • Intuitive editor and direct access to code for front-end shops

2. Magento

Magento Commerce is a headless E-commerce platform that offers high flexibility in creating a front-\end layer. The PWA Studio is a development tool for creating and deploying Progressive Web Apps (PWA). In other words, it is a decoupled frontend optimized for the Magento backend. Combining these platforms in a headless system allows developers to create and experiment with innovative designs. As a result, you can offer your customers a personalized experience. 

Solution features:

  • Fast and flexible control over all areas of the customer experience
  • Customizable and embeddable app builder tools for lower total cost of ownership
  • Integration of Adobe features

3. SAP Commerce Cloud

SAP Commerce Cloud (Hybris) is an enterprise-grade headless commerce platform renowned for its comprehensive suite of tools and integration capabilities, catering to large-scale enterprises with complex E-commerce requirements. A distinctive feature of SAP Commerce Cloud is its seamless ERP integration, enabling businesses to streamline data management processes and provide customers with accurate, real-time information, making it ideal for businesses seeking to unify their E-commerce and backend operations.

Solution features:

  • Artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) analytics foundations for intelligent retail
  • Native product content management (PCM) with built-in data quality management
  • Multiple multitenant SaaS components

4. Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Developed by CRM giant Salesforce, this headless commerce platform has configurable APIs that provide developers with the ultimate customizable front-end and back-end experience. While Salesforce promises plenty of tools and integrations for users, it isn't quite as beginner-friendly as a platform like Shopify. The numerous APIs may require some time to get used to, so this headless commerce platform may be more suitable for companies with a dedicated development team.

Solution features:

  • Endless aisle, a feature that connects your digital business with your physical customer touchpoints
  • Seamless mobile app optimization

5. BigCommerce

BigCommerce is another market-leading E-commerce solution with its own dedicated headless environment. Companies can access all the tools they need within the Enterprise pricing package for unparalleled and unique customer experiences. The BigCommerce ecosystem provides access to various frontend frameworks, including Next.JS Commerce, Gatsby.JS for progressive web apps, and Nuxt.JS for Vue developers. BigCommerce also has a range of content management systems and digital experience platforms, so there are no limits to what you can do. Disadvantages include comparatively high development costs. In addition, this E-commerce solution requires some technical knowledge to get started.

Platform features:

  • Lightning-fast performance and phenomenal uptime results
  • Powerful PWA functionality and multiple integration options
  • Processes up to 600 SKUs per product

SAP Commerce Cloud: Industry-Proven Solution for E-Commerce Businesses 

Although headless commerce is a promising concept, it also has some disadvantages. On the one hand, it is relatively complex and expensive to implement. In addition, headless commerce solutions can be difficult to maintain and support. 

However, if you want to use the entire range of sales channels and delight customers at all touchpoints, you cannot avoid headless commerce in the long term. 

  • Build unique customer experiences: Access your customers through any digital touchpoint and give them a total customer experience. Don’t limit yourself to digital sales and marketing channels, brand experiences, or countries.
  • Overcome implementation complexity: SAP Commerce Cloud offers comprehensive tech stacks and support for transitioning to headless commerce. With LeverX's expertise in SAP implementation, businesses receive guidance and assistance throughout the process. Practice-proven IT E-commerce solutions minimize delays and ensure a smooth transition. SAP's APIs and integration capabilities facilitate seamless integration with various systems. By choosing SAP Commerce Cloud, businesses mitigate risks associated with complex implementations.
  • Ensure robust security measures: SAP Commerce Cloud prioritizes safety, including encryption and access controls, to safeguard data and transactions. Regular updates and patches address emerging threats, reducing the risk of security breaches. By choosing SAP Commerce Cloud, businesses gain confidence knowing their online storefront is protected, minimizing potential financial and legal repercussions from cybercrime.
  • Streamline data management: SAP Commerce Cloud simplifies data management through ERP integration, eliminating silos and ensuring consistent, accurate data for customer interactions. Real-time synchronization and validation mechanisms enable seamless customer experiences across channels. By adopting SAP Commerce Cloud, businesses obtain reliable access to customer information.

Of course, you don't have to completely develop every single function of a headless commerce solution. It is possible to standardize many features so they do not have to be recreated in every project. As a digital transformation partner, the LeverX team will help you better allocate resources and ensure your software meets your business's requirements.



The improved flexibility in the frontend will ensure that headless commerce becomes established. All well-known webshops and E-commerce providers are already working on headless commerce. Anyone starting a new implementation today should consider whether a headless commerce approach should be chosen from the outset — and what technical background is required for a seamless digital transformation.

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