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What is headless commerce: a complete guide for 2024 

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The eCommerce sector boasts striking figures, with annual revenues surpassing US$3,226.00bn, 3.8 billion customers, and around 12 million storefronts, showcasing its dynamic competitiveness.

The market becomes even more daunting for digital storefront operators upon examining additional statistics: over 150 huge marketplaces exist, with the top three attracting nearly three billion monthly active users.

Amazon, the leading force, accounts for almost half of all eCommerce sales in the US. The year 2024 for eCommerce represents both a significant opportunity and a challenge, straddling the line between a gamble and a well-thought-out and managed venture.

Altramira’s CEO Tomas Masek highlighted that:

Adopting a headless software architecture in the eCommerce industry enables a clear separation of presentation layers, presenting a strategic advantage for numerous providers. This technical approach facilitates increased revenue generation through enabling omnichannel sales experience.” 

So, launching a new product in this market might feel like navigating through uncharted waters amidst a storm. But here’s the silver lining: with clever strategies and the right tools at your disposal, you stand a chance to succeed.

What is headless commerce?

Headless commerce solutions refer to an eCommerce approach where the front-end user interface is decoupled from the back-end operations.

This separation enables smooth content distribution across many channels, offering unique flexibility in how businesses engage with their customers.

Conversely, headless eCommerce platform empowers eCommerce businesses to swiftly adapt to the latest online market innovations. These platforms improve businesses’ agility in exploiting new customer engagement channels.

Retailers using headless commerce gain a competitive edge, as traditional eCommerce platform often needs to catch up in adaptation due to their inflexible architecture.

Moreover, headless systems are typically hosted in the cloud, which mitigates the risk of single points of failure and lowers the threat of data breaches, thereby safeguarding critical customer information more effectively.

Mobile apps, best headless ecommerce platforms, headless commerce vs traditional

Brands highly favour headless architectural models as it opens up undiscovered opportunities for creative expression, enabling the design of unique storefront experiences often unattainable on monolithic platforms.

Indeed, the headless commerce architecture can be likened to digital LEGO bricks, providing brands the capability to assemble and reconfigure their customised systems on demand.

This level of adaptability is facilitated by APIs, which function as conduits for data flow, ensuring smooth interaction between the front end, back end, and third-party services.

Traditional and headless commerce, Custom solutions, front end presentation layer, commerce engine, salesforce commerce cloud

Developers, in particular, are drawn to the headless approach for the exceptional degree of control it grants them over the development process.

It allows to tailor their tech stacks with a mix-and-match approach, choosing from the best commerce tools available to craft a solution that best fits their needs.

Traditional vs. headless commerce

Traditional commerce Headless commerce
Omnichannel possibilities
confined by predefined frontend tools
Integration possibilities
Customer experience
unified & personalised
Frontend development cost
Backend maintenance cost

In a traditional eCommerce setup, a tightly integrated database operates on a monolithic architecture, binding the front-end and back-end closely together.

Such systems are best suited for small businesses and startups lacking extensive developer resources, allowing them to effortlessly establish an online storefront on these traditional eCommerce platforms.

However, this rigid structure poses limitations when it comes to integrating its offerings and expanding its presence across emerging shopping channels.

The decoupling of the backend from the frontend in a headless commerce solution enables the integration of a myriad of components into a singular backend framework, such as:

  • Web interfaces
  • Mobile applications
  • eCommerce aggregators
  • Facebook marketplaces
  • Kiosks
  • Vendor management applications


This architecture undoubtedly facilitates the linkage of various functionalities and services, streamlining processes across marketing, analytics, shipping, inventory management, and beyond.

The headless approach not only enhances operational efficiency but also significantly automates and optimises the myriad aspects of running an eCommerce business.

How headless commerce solution supports omnichannel retail

Omnichannel retailing allows consumers to shop from eCommerce stores, either online or offline, using any internet-connected device. The importance of delivering a top-notch user experience for online merchants cannot be overstated.

Crafting a smooth and effortless shopping environment for potential customers boosts conversion rates and significantly enhances brand value. To make the best use of omnichannel retail, adopting a headless commerce approach is indispensable.

This strategy ensures that customers receive a consistent and engaging shopping experience across all platforms and touchpoints.

The shift towards omnichannel shopping is swiftly becoming a prevailing trend. Brands that lag in delivering an engaging experience across digital platforms, brick-and-mortar stores, and various devices stand to forfeit both market share and revenue.

A revealing study conducted by Harvard Business Review, which scrutinised the shopping habits of 46,000 consumers, yielded significant findings:

  • Up to 7% of consumers confined their shopping strictly to online venues.
  • 20% preferred exclusively in-store purchases.
  • A majority, 73%, used a blend of channels for their shopping activities.


These statistics highlight the critical need for brands to embrace an omnichannel strategy, ensuring a satisfying shopping journey across all potential customer touchpoints.

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By adopting an omnichannel approach, businesses can constantly engage their audience, laying the foundation for a potent customer retention strategy.

This method significantly widens the eCommerce conversion funnel, enhancing the capability to secure a higher volume of repeat transactions as well as attract new customers.

Through smooth integration across various channels, companies ensure a consistent and personalised shopping experience, thereby boosting customer loyalty and driving sales growth.

Benefits of headless commerce platform

Headless commerce significantly improves eCommerce platforms by offering exceptional adaptability to rapidly changing market demands and consumer behaviors.

Key advantages include quicker time-to-market, superior omnichannel experiences, freedom for creativity, and accelerated overall growth.

Agility and flexibility

Headless commerce facilitates flexible modifications to user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) without compromising the platform’s stability.

It supports the experimentation of marketing features, the creation of customised solutions for new demographics, or the introduction of sophisticated, interactive interfaces, all without requiring input beyond the content or design team.

Headless commerce unifies various brands under a single eCommerce solution, enhancing efficiency and brand management.

Reduced time-to-market

Headless eCommerce platforms simplify the process of incorporating new functionalities and evaluating external solutions, all without affecting the overall software framework.

Whether addressing bugs, scaling operations, or revamping the user experience, each task within a headless architecture is executed autonomously.

This allows store operators to reduce the likelihood of critical errors and substantially decrease the time required to introduce new offerings to marketing.

Unlimited growth possibilities

Headless commerce stands as the optimal solution to the swiftly evolving and intensely competitive eCommerce landscape.

Its API-first methodology facilitates the integration with advanced third-party solutions, including content management systems (CMSs), inventory and customer management tools, as well as search and shipping applications.

A headless online store represents the perfect fusion of the finest available solutions, offering extensive agility in managing change. This setup is everything one could desire to stay ahead in the dynamic world of eCommerce. 

Enhanced omnichannel experience

One standout feature of headless solutions is its ability to enable omnichannel experiences effortlessly without coding. Thanks to its API-centric architecture, the headless commerce platform enables consistent design across diverse devices, such as smartphones, desktops, and wearables, improving customer engagement points.  

In conclusion, combining a strategic approach to marketing and sales with superior user experience (UX) creates a potent mix that significantly boosts conversion rates.


The fundamental long-term goal for any business ought to be growth. In eCommerce, growth can manifest in various ways: venturing into international markets, broadening the target audience, introducing new product lines, or pivoting to a more sustainable business model.

Contrary to monolithic systems, headless solution does not impede these types of evolution.

Its open architecture facilitates linking a singular core backend to numerous frontends. Consequently, the scalability of businesses employing headless technology is boundless, whether it involves rolling out cost-effective language options or experimenting with a distinct product line aimed at a new demographic.

The space for creativity

Headless commerce benefits are the driving force behind some of the most ambitious business strategies adopted by industry giants like Amazon, Netflix, and Zalando, as well as niche eCommerce sites.

The headless commerce functionality and flexibility enables the crafting of memorable customer experiences, the embodiment of a brand’s core values, and the cultivation of brand loyalty, all through approaches that are tailor-made for the specific business model.

When discovering headless commerce, it’s important to look at it from all angles. Here, we’ve outlined potential headless commerce features that could pose challenges for eCommerce business owners.

Initial costs

When considering a shift to headless architecture, it’s important to factor in various costs, including:

  • Implementation involves separating the backend from the frontend, developing new frontend interfaces, and optionally breaking down the backend into microservices to ease store maintenance.
  • Monthly software expenses can arise from the eCommerce backend, headless Content Management System (CMS), and code management tools.
  • Maintenance, since custom backend solutions and API integrations require ongoing oversight by skilled developers or a specialised firm.


In summary, transitioning to headless commerce might entail a higher initial investment than traditional monolithic setups. However, the decision ultimately hinges on the specific needs of the client.

To gauge the financial viability of moving to headless, consider a hypothetical increase in your conversion rates—be it 10%, 25%, or 50%—and how this boost could affect your revenue. Weigh these potential gains against the estimated costs of adopting a headless framework to make an informed decision.

The need to embrace the change

Headless commerce is the perfect strategy for businesses inclined to adapt and grow rather than remain static.

It requires navigating through complex decisions regarding service providers, collaborative approaches, and the composition of microservices within the software architecture. However, the payoff is substantial, offering unlimited opportunities for growth and scalability in the long run.

It’s clear that adopting headless commerce is no small feat. Achieving remarkable outcomes requires significant involvement and dedication.

A practical approach might involve partnering with a reliable expert who can handle the technical peculiarities, freeing you to concentrate on your area of expertise and the broader vision for your business.

Are headless commerce platforms for you?

Headless commerce isn’t the right fit for every business. Decisions to change software architecture need to be backed by a detailed analysis of potential profits and losses.

With this in mind, special emphasis should be placed on the initial stages of product ideation and strategy formulation. A comprehensive consulting phase can outline all viable paths for your eCommerce project.

Headless commerce can significantly help in scaling your business and clearing any challenges you might encounter.

Future-proofing your business with headless commerce

Transitioning to headless commerce represents a significant move; here are steps to prepare for this change.

Find the right tech partner: Adopting a headless approach demands technical know-how. It’s important to find a tech partner skilled in evaluating your current operations, forecasting future trends, and developing a robust, scalable eCommerce solution.

Teach your team: Your employees are your most valuable resource. Dedicate time to training them on the new system to ensure a smooth transition. Explain why your company incorporates changes and clarify all benefits possible.

Budget your resources: The shift to headless commerce requires careful allocation of both time and finances to ensure a smooth changeover. Make sure you are not jumping into things without a well-thought-out plan. Embarking on a headless commerce journey is a considerable step. It’s essential to ponder the points highlighted above to determine if it aligns with your business goals.

The bottom line

In eCommerce, user competition intensifies, leaving no room for obstacles within the customer journey. The market in 2024 is crowded and challenging, where neither average customer experiences nor basic personalisation tactics suffice for success.

Therefore, it’s more important than ever to aim high, dream big, and embed innovation and adaptability into the core of your business strategy.

How we can help?

At Altamira, we create bespoke headless commerce solutions that not only meet the current demands of the market but are also scalable and future-proof.

We put quality first so no matter how complex or extensive the project is, we ensure a smooth transition to a headless architecture that drives engagement, boosts performance, and improves the overall customer experience.

We provide

  • Custom development: Tailored headless commerce solutions that align with your specific business objectives, ensuring adaptability to future market trends.
  • Subject matter expertise: Our team of experts specialising in headless commerce development, ready to tackle challenges and deliver cutting-edge solutions.
  • Smooth integration: We will integrate your new headless platform with existing systems and third-party services for a cohesive ecosystem that improves operational efficiency and customer experience.
  • Ongoing support and optimisation: Our team provides continuous monitoring, support, and optimisation of your platform to ensure peak performance, with data-driven insights to further refine and elevate the shopping experience.


Contact us to learn more! 

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