Product Information Management Done Headless
A headless approach to PIM means having a service ready to manage product information in seconds. Product information and content are delivered via an API. No templates, no web pages, only structured content. Pure developer bliss.
We’ve already talked about what PIM is and why and how you should use it. In this post, we’re going to talk a bit in-depth about headless PIM.
The headless architecture enables a decoupled approach to web and app development. Basically, you get to treat the front end (the presentation layer) and back end (services layer) independently.
With the development of frontend technologies moving at a staggering speed, an API-driven eCommerce backend ensures that you always stay cutting edge in the front end. So, if you prefer building your web-based front ends in React and React-based SSGs like Gatsby and Next JS, or Angular and Vue.js, or your native Apps in React Native, Flutter, Ionic, it does not matter. You are free to choose, experiment, and evolve your business and customer experience.
PIM as a service means that you have a cloud-based service available at the push of a button that scales easily with your growth. Still centralized but accessible from any device or place. No server and database management and you don't have to think about backups and predictable costs. All the backend pain points have been removed.
This leaves you in the sweet spot of using PIM as a commodity service. At the same time, you can focus your efforts on your core business and continuously optimize the shopping experience for maximum conversion and customer satisfaction. Today, for example, that means adopting a multichannel approach to commerce, i.e., covering multiple sales channels that your customers can use to learn about your brand and purchase your goods and/or service, among other things.
All of this is possible with a properly designed API. As you know, there are two approaches to API design, i.e., you can go the REST or GraphQL way. Pros and cons on both sides. But instead of talking about them, let me explain which one we opted out of and how it helps our headless PIM approach.
In eCommerce, product structures are complex by nature, and you manage structured products of many shapes organized in a complex tree or grid.
For example, when building a shopping experience for a food website, you may typically end up with scenarios/pages like fetching five apples, two oranges, and the three latest cooking explainer videos.
This is where REST falls short. REST is typically designed to give you apples or an apple - not apples and oranges simultaneously. REST is a single resource focussed. GraphQL, on the other hand, is designed for the scenario where you need to get many resources in a single request.
There are a few apparent benefits of GraphQL here:
- One query to fetch complex structured data with multiple resources, i.e., one round trip to the API, means lower latency.
- Ask for just what you need. Transfer only what you need—smaller content transfer chunks.
- GraphQL describes what is possible with the API. One endpoint to your complete service means faster developer ramp-up and fewer errors.
With all this in mind, we built a GraphQL PIM API that allows you to select precisely what data you want to have transferred, resulting in smaller payloads.
What is PIM, and how different is it from MDM? Where do DAM and CMS overlap? And do you need PXM for your business use case? We’ve tried to clear up the acronym confusion in eCommerce with the following infographic that provides you with a visual comparison of all relevant terms. Individual posts dig deeper into each term and the concept behind it.
So, what is headless PIM? Headless PIM allows developers to build tailor-made ecommerce experiences in the frontend framework of their choice. It is a perfect match for businesses who want to future-proof their product information and easily change their front end or add additional ecommerce channels.
Keep in mind that a good product information management service allows you to define products in any way you want and keep them structured, organized, and easily managed.
With an excellent PIM platform, much like Crystallize, you’ll be able to manage rich content like pictures and HD videos, along with any and all product data.
The future of PIM is on the Edge. The move from traditionally built PIMs to headless is already underway, as the adoption of headless technologies research from 2021 shows. 92% of enterprise respondents agree headless CMS technologies make it easier to deliver a consistent content experience. The next thing is bringing data even closer to the end users with the power of the Edge.
What does that mean for you and your business? Already using Crystallize? Good. We’re already making moves in the above direction.
Looking to shift your business to headless architecture? Yes, we can help, but let’s talk first if headless PIM is what you really need.
Set up a personal 1-on-1 Crystallize demo, let’s discuss your use case and take it from there.
Alternatively, why not SIGN UP for FREE and take Crystallize for a spin and get the unparallel level of support from our team to help you get going.
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