You’ve been heading up your eCommerce site for some time. Now, though, you're ready to lose your head to all the struggles and stagnation suddenly occurring.
Your tech stack is harder to integrate with the rest of your back-end system. Your front-end guys can’t develop stuff fast enough because of the back-end issues.
Headless commerce might be the eCommerce solution to save your sanity and your business. It’s helped many before you.
Do you have one of those businesses? How do you know? If you do, what do you do about it? And how can you factor Shopify Plus into the mix?
Here at Pivofy, we have answers and solutions for all of those questions. As certified Shopify Partner, we’ve helped over 100 businesses find just the right answers they needed.
And today, we’re helping you, too, with two checklists for headless commerce and Shopify Plus decision making, including:
- A Brief Overview of How Headless Commerce Works
- A Brief Overview of Shopify Plus
- Checklist #1: Are You Ready for Shopify Plus?
- Checklist #2: Are You Ready for Headless Commerce?
- Putting it All Together: Headless Commerce and Shopify Plus
A Brief Overview of Headless Commerce
With a headless eCommerce platform, the front-end, or head, of your eCommerce website is decoupled from the back-end technology. Your front-end is typically a theme or template, while your back-end is customized tech.
The purpose of this decoupled architecture is so that content can be stored, managed, and delivered without the front-end framework.
Your developers can use APIs to deliver products, blog posts, and other content to any screen or device anywhere, at any time.
Headless commerce architecture combines a cloud-based infrastructure with a back-end data model, creating a presentation layer and an application layer. It sends requests between the layers of your platform using API calls.
Let’s say a customer places an order on their smartphone.
The front-end presentation layer passes an API call to the application layer, and the order gets processed. The application then sends another API call to itself, and the customer is informed of their order status.
Headless Commerce vs. Traditional Commerce
There are four basic differences between headless commerce platforms and a traditional eCommerce model. They are:
- Front-end development
- Customization and personalization
- Flexibility and adaptability
- Content management
For front-end development in traditional commerce, you need three things: time, patience, and a huge platform to work on. It takes time to code, patience to work within your platform’s constraints, and a huge platform to run it all.
When it comes to personalization, you again need lots of patience to deal with the predefined limits of your traditional eCommerce platforms.
As far as flexibility and adaptability are concerned, you simply need to “make do” with what you’ve been given.
Lastly, content management means pushing content through your commerce platform.
Headless commerce, on the other hand, allows for nearly endless customization in your front-end design and your user and admin experiences of your online store. You can integrate a headless CMS to handle all your content, too.
Here’s a chart that sums things up pretty nicely.
A Brief Overview of Shopify Plus
In a nutshell, Shopify Plus is an enterprise-level eCommerce platform that packs a lot into your eStore. Some of Shopify Plus’s features are:
- Customization features like a customizable checkout
- API calls that allow for more app integration opportunities
- Access to their Launch Team and Merchant Success Programs
- B2B, B2C, and wholesale capabilities
“Business customers often want a little extra, with custom orders, wholesale pricing, and more. Shopify Plus does a solid job of taking these customized, unique situations and allowing wholesalers to clean up the selling process. In short, wholesale gets much easier through the Shopify Plus dashboard.”
Checklist #1: Are You Ready for Shopify Plus?
Before you consider going to a headless commerce platform with Shopify Plus, you need to know if you’re ready for Shopify Plus and everything it can bring to your eStore.
Here are seven questions you should tick off before considering Shopify Plus.
Question #1: Does Your Baseline Revenue Equal at Least $1million?
Shopify Plus doesn’t carry a flat monthly fee as the other Shopify plans do. Instead, Shopify Plus takes .25% of your sales. The typical Shopify Plus enterprise is paying $2000–$2500 monthly. You need to make sure your business can afford to make the move.
Question #2: How Much Customization Do You Want or Need at Checkout?
Shopify Plus offers many customization opportunities, especially when it comes to customer checkout. If your current theme is restricting your checkout process with its impersonality disorder, you need Shopify Plus.
Question #3: How Much Automation Do You Want or Need?
Tired of building your automation by cobbling together a tech stack nightmare?
Shopify Plus has two automation miracles to offer you: Flow and Launchpad. Flow takes on all those cumbersome workflows like:
- Assigning support tickets
- Tracking conversion of customers who order samples
- Inventory management: low stock, hide out-of-stock items, tag new products
- Sending re-engagement emails
Launchpad, on the other hand, helps you work in advance. You can set up a sales event and then go do other things. Launchpad will “launch” the sale for you.
Question #4: Do You Currently, or Plan to, Sell Internationally?
Taking your business global isn’t everyone’s dream, but if it’s one of yours, you’ll want to have Shopify Plus on board.
You can have up to 9 storefronts/multiple sites in different languages and the currencies to go with them.
And you can get paid in your own country’s currency with a few simple setups, so no exchange rate or fiddling with sale prices.
Question #5: Do You Need Wholesale and Retail Selling?
Shopify Plus allows you to create a two-part storefront, offering B2C and B2B sales. Your wholesale customers can log in to their store all set up for them.
Meanwhile, your retail customers are happily going shopping, oblivious to the deals going on in the warehouse, so to speak.
Question #6: How Many Staff Accounts Do You Need?
Each Shopify plan has limits on how many staffers you can have working on and in your eStore. Shopify Plus, however, doesn’t. The sky’s the limit.
Question #7: How Much Support Do You Need?
Every Shopify Plus store owner gets a dedicated account manager to help you get up and running. They can also advise you on new opportunities with Shopify Plus in the future. Is it time you got a “coach” for your eCommerce store?
Checklist #2: Are You Ready for Headless Commerce?
If you’re ready for Shopify Plus, chances are you’re also ready to take your business into the world of headless commerce. Here are six questions to ask yourself:
Question #1: Do You Have a Bounce Rate Due to a Slow Loading Storefront?
If you’re bouncing visitors to your site like an NBA star dribbling on the free-throw line, you probably need to go headless. Doing this allows you to strip out a lot of those features that can slow a site down.
The calls go to the brand’s cloud-based server instead of the user’s browser, speeding up load time.
Question #2: Do You Have a Well-Established Infrastructure and Don’t Want to Add More Tools?
A headless commerce approach allows you to integrate all sorts of systems -- IMS, ERP, CMS, etc. Don’t code; chop off the head.
Question #3: Is Your Store Theme or Template Not as Customizable as You’d Like?
Going headless allows you to customize to your heart’s—and customers’—content. If you can dream it, headless commerce will probably allow you to do it.
Question #4: Are You Moving Slower Than the Competition Because You Can’t Adjust Front and Back End at the Same Time?
Other guys have already gone to a headless commerce system. And if you haven’t, they’re leaving you in the dust. If the competition’s getting fierce out there, and your development woes are slowing you down, use a headless solution to get ahead.
Question #5: Do You Need a Native App or a Better One?
Shopify Plus and headless architecture allow you to develop better progressive web apps. PWAs are more powerful and user-friendly than traditional mobile apps. Get the power of a PWA with headless.
Question #6: Do You Want to Build Something Truly Unique? Use Kiosks, Vending Machines, Smart Watches, More?
If your vision for your eCommerce business is bigger than your current platform will let you grow, moving to a headless commerce solution is the only way to go. You’ll have capabilities perhaps even you haven’t dreamed of yet.
Putting It All Together: Shopify Plus and Headless Commerce
Putting all this goodness into your business can be a downright hassle. Where to start? What to leave in and what to take out? How to get from Point A to Point B?
That’s where we come in. We’re Shopify Plus experts. We have your answers, your solutions, and your back.
As we said earlier, we’ve helped over 100 businesses make the move quickly and successfully. It shouldn’t take months or your life’s savings to get your eComm biz running with Shopify Plus.
And with us, it doesn’t. We can help you keep your head while going headless with Shopify Plus. Contact us today.