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February 27th, 2020

How Headless Commerce and Magento Produce Amazing Shopping Experiences

This is the first in a three-part blog series about the use of Magento.

Headless commerce is changing the face of digital commerce because it allows companies to craft experiences that customers can’t get anywhere else.

A headless system decouples the frontend (typically the user interface layer) from the backend, where most of the computing power resides. This allows developers to customize user experiences for phones, PCs and other devices on the frontend while keeping a standard backend for the most demanding computing tasks.

Retailers are warming to headless commerce because it gives them a chance to set themselves apart in an era of relentless competition. Magento is an attractive option for headless commerce because it provides boundless flexibility to e-commerce system designers and managers.

On the front end. Magento allows frontend designers to leverage the powerful features of Adobe Experience Manager. Adobe has been building best-of-breed visual design software for decades. Adobe  Experience Manager has everything website and application designers need to craft seamless shopping experiences across multiple media platforms — smartphones, tablets, websites and more.

Before headless commerce came along, companies often had to choose an e-commerce platform on the strength of its backend computing power, regardless of any weaknesses in the frontend design system. There’s no more grin-and-bear it with headless computing. Designers can pick the best frontend tools for their specific needs. That leads to better experiences and happier customers.

In the middle. Magento has robust frameworks for the APIs (application programming interfaces) and PWAs (progressive web applications) that maximize the impact of headless commerce. APIs let multiple applications share data and communicate with each other (the GraphQL support added in version 2.3.x of Magento makes API communications more efficient). PWAs bring the functionality of a mobile app into a web page, providing app-like services without requiring users to download an app and update it themselves.

As customer experience developers implement more machine learning to customize and streamline online shopping, PWAs and APIs will become even more crucial to headless commerce.

On the backend. Rich consumer experiences powered by machine learning require substantial computing muscle. So, the same Magento flexibility that gives experience designers an edge also ensures that IT teams can implement the most powerful computing resources. Moreover, Magento’s advanced API frameworks ensure that retailers can plug their ecommerce systems into their systems for managing resources and customers.

While monolithic, all-in-one digital commerce systems are fading into history, Magento is leading the charge into the future because it helps developers get next-generation user experiences into the marketplace much faster. Bear in mind, however, that if your legacy backend system still performs to your satisfaction, you can keep it while leveraging all the frontend advantages of headless commerce.

A Quick Reality Check on Headless Commerce

The flexibility of headless commerce accelerates development timelines because you don’t have to align frontend development with your backend e-commerce computing infrastructure. But immense flexibility comes at a price: You have to invest time and energy in creating a well-thought-out roadmap to implement headless commerce.

That means taking extra care to account for variables like search engine optimization, bots masquerading as humans, proper analytics tracing and monitoring for errors that may no longer show up in traditional server application logs.

Magento has a global community of developers providing a galaxy of precise solutions to all manner of e-commerce challenges. With so many options available, a few stray missteps can undermine all your progress. At DMI, we draw on a deep well of experience in both the retail and the system development sides of the equation. We put these skills to use helping our clients craft an effective, efficient roadmap for implementing and managing Magento.

— Jon Wovchko, vice president operations & strategic consulting, digital commerce

Tags: API consumer digital commerce headless commerce magento

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