Headless commerce is transforming the eCommerce landscape. It's a paradigm shift that offers unprecedented flexibility, scalability, and customization for businesses while improving the customer experience.
Core Web Vitals, INP, LCP, Cumulative Layout Shift, FID, Webpagetest.org, Google Lighthouse, Pagespeed Insight, CrUX. We're sure you've stumbled upon one of these in your quest to improve front-end performance, right?
But how do you measure performance? And why do you need to be data-driven and continuously monitor, optimize, and build a performance testing and optimization culture?
Let's explore that. Let's go millisecond hunting.
Are you considering going headless with your project/business? Good🤘
The headless commerce surge continues redefining the eCommerce landscape, offering enhanced flexibility, better performance, and tailored customer experiences. However, getting all stakeholders on board with the idea of adopting headless architecture (or rather moving away from known monolith solutions) is not always easy.
To help you plead the case to your team, we did in-depth research on the current state and trends in adopting headless and gathered statistics that underscore the momentum headless commerce is gaining. We'll lay it all here and let you asses and interpret the stats.
Let’s dive in!
In the rapid and ever-evolving world of eCommerce, keeping a grasp on product information is imperative for businesses to thrive. Product Information Management (PIM) platforms are at the forefront of this endeavor, offering companies unparalleled organization, efficiency, and scalability.
The 21st-century consumer is discerning and well-informed and demands immediacy with a personal touch and feel while navigating seamlessly between online and offline channels. For businesses, this means maintaining an accurate, updated, and consistent database of product information is a must, and this is becoming an arduous task, especially for enterprises with vast product portfolios spread across multiple channels (we really did not want to say Excell sheets ).
The eCommerce space is animated with various business models, each with its unique set of advantages, challenges, and requisites, making it hard to identify which is the best fit for your use case.
What follows is a mish-mash of research, dry definitions, suggestions gathered from our clients, and our in-house and world-famous brand examples in an article to help you make that decision a little easier.
Have you ever wondered why certain products make such a lasting impression? What separates Apple from any other tech brand or Starbucks from any other coffee shop? The secret lies in their stories. And guess what? You don't have to be a renowned brand to leverage this power.
Rich storytelling is the core of Crystallize headless commerce. Re-imagine eCommerce and a case study of a project that brought Crystallize to life are all about product storytelling. After all, Crystallize is conceptualized as a single source from which you can tell the story behind your brand and product with ease and build a stronger customer experience by inspiring and informing your audience on every channel of interest (resulting in higher conversion rates, a more sticky customer experience, and fewer interactions via customer support of course).
Every product has a story; it's all about how you tell it (and who's backing your efforts).
To begin, it's essential to make sure we understand what GraphQL is. It's a technology developed by Facebook in 2012 to address their issues with mobile platforms. One of the technologies they were trying to use, REST, was not performing well in their particular setup, so they decided to replace it with a homegrown solution. GraphQL was the result. A few years later, the GraphQL specification was made open-source so that anyone could potentially benefit from it and contribute to it.
GraphQL is a query language for APIs (application programming interfaces) and a server for executing those queries. APIs are the means by which computer programs communicate with each other to exchange and manipulate data.
REST is the most-used API architecture by far (as Postman's recent API report shows | graph is below); however, GraphQL adoption is on the rise, and many already are using it in place of REST to facilitate communication with all the different APIs that an application may have to talk to.
According to Semrush, 50% of brands are still not using structured content. This means that the content a half of businesses out there create isn't reaching relevant people or at least isn't doing it nearly as successfully as it could be.
The online world is more crowded and competitive than ever, making it difficult to stand out and get noticed. And don't get us started with AI stuff that is published/made at a staggering rate. On top of all that, your audience's expectations are higher than ever: they want personalized, relevant, and engaging content everywhere they go online.
All this is made possible with structured content.
Structured content enables you to do more with your content. Not only does it enhance the user experience by providing precise navigation and consistency, but it also improves search engine optimization (SEO) by increasing relevance and improving ranking.
Implementing structured content on your website is becoming a crucial step to drive traffic, engage users, and achieve online success.
But first …
Gartner magic quadrant view, business expectations, industry leaders' opinions, most popular solutions… best of articles come in all shapes and sizes. This one of ours about eCommerce platforms is a bit different… we hope.
More than a buzzword, decupled eCommerce is the future of online shopping that is already here. Let’s talk about it.
More and more businesses are relying on cloud-native microservice apps to increase development speed and take advantage of the cloud's scalability and availability.
On-Premise and Cloud PIM, the benefits, the differences, and drawbacks of each, with examples of PIM platforms for both.
You've probably heard the terms APIs, and Microservices used when talking about web development. What are they? How do you use them, and what is the difference between them?
A lot has happened in two years (since we originally published this). However, React, and static site generators (SSGs) built on top of it are still gaining traction with frontend developers worldwide.
Netlify, Vercel, Platform.sh … the static website hosting landscape has changed significantly in the past few years and is only getting better.
Edge computing makes it possible to deliver and process data even closer to end-users today, and businesses are slowly discovering the potential it offers.
PIM is your centralized product information system from which the product data is distributed to all relevant stakeholders, teams, and sales channels.
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.
In the simplest possible terms, a headless CMS is a backend content management system (CMS) that exists independently of the front end - the presentation layer.
With the number of available tech solutions, tools, architectures, and approaches to web development today, it is easy to get overwhelmed when choosing the one for your online store.
With just a couple of months before G sunsets Universal Analytics for GA4, I’ve wondered if there are any Google Analytics alternatives you might want to move to.
When it comes to managing digital content, there are two main types of systems that professional businesses use (oftentimes together): Product Information Management (PIM) systems and Content Management Systems (CMS).
Headless, composable, API-first, Remix, UI or UX-driven design, etc. Tracking development and design trends in eCommerce is both tough and rewarding at the same time.
Wondering if a multichannel approach could help you increase sales in 2023? Wonder no more, your hunch is correct: multichannel eCommerce will help you reach those goals.
In today's society of continuous technological innovation, consumers expect businesses to have a strong omnichannel strategy: they demand highly relevant and customized interactions across various platforms.
Crystallize #jamstackconf2022 story. In short: “I had a blast.”
I am sure that the dev community is going to talk about the Next 13 in the upcoming weeks extensively, so this post is more about my first impression from the perspective of Crystallize users. Bare with me, will ya!
A great product taxonomy improves your customer user experience and how they find the right product they need much easier and faster.
There are numerous approaches to developing a web application that is performant. Going the static site way is just one of them. Pause here. What do we/I mean when we/I say static sites?
The benefits and competitive advantages of headless commerce are many. When done right, of course. Let’s look at some of the primary advantages that a proper headless commerce buildout can provide.
Raw, uncontrollable power. That’s what word-of-mouth is. Word-of-mouth marketing is what you do to create that power.
B2B eCommerce is nowhere near as talked about as B2C eCommerce, which is strange considering that the B2B eCommerce market is over five times (5X) more valuable.
The frontend frameworks ecosystem is booming so much that finding the right one for your online business/store has become challenging (at best). We’d love to help. This post is all about that.
A regular, monthly influx of revenue from faithful customers? Who wouldn’t want to get in on that?! But how do you know if a subscription model is a right approach for your business?
But let’s start from the beginning.
Developing web applications has never been easier and more enjoyable. The open-source communities are building more and more tools that enable us, developers, to become more efficient and improve the overall developer experience (DX). Now the question becomes: which are the essential web development tools to pick in 2022?
Omnichannel commerce is all about meeting your customers where they feel comfortable shopping - and with just the right information.
It was 2006 and eCommerce was the wild west. You don't need much of a history lesson to remember how Shopify entered the market.
Why does only B2C eCommerce tech have all the shiny toys? Well, this is about to change.
Subscription ecommerce business models have seen fantastic growth in recent years. With Crystallize being at the forefront of it, now is the time to dive into the ins and outs of starting, running, and scaling an eCommerce subscription business.
A different, heavily opinionated look at the future of eCommerce. Let’s talk about the eCommerce trends like owned channels, community building, sustainability, App commerce, and B2B commerce that I think will dominate 2022.
We've talked lengths about site speed and performance affecting your search engine ranking and organic traffic but did you know site speed affects Adwords pricing and ranking as well?
Remember the unicorn designer? The designer also knows how to build that markup with HTML and CSS - or even in React. Well, the times have changed. Google launched the core web vitals for measuring site speed and the bar is raised. It is now significantly harder to get a 90+ score in PageSpeed Insights for mobile than just a few weeks ago. Site speed affects Adwords pricing as well as SEO ranking. As a result, the designers of today have to take into account site speed as part of the design process.
Site speed matters we know that. But how does speed affect your SEO efforts and, ultimately, ranking? To figure that out we did a Monstera Obliqua identification and care keyword test project.
Creating a seamless and engaging on-site customer experience is the ultimate goal for everyone running an online store. Besides your product/service, your store performance and product videos ensure you get the much-needed attention.
It makes no sense, but it is true. The reason for waiting in line is that many online stores are running on outdated technologies that simply do not scale, like Elkjøp in Norway or Jeffree Star.
How fast and well your website can handle serious amounts of simultaneous order placements can make or break businesses. It depends on your chosen ecommerce platform, of course. So we tested ours.
Instead of building a better PIM, CMS, eCommerce, or order management service, we wanted to design an API layer you need to market and sell your products on any channel, at any scale, and in any way you want it. A perfect product story engine, if you will.
Google is updating its ranking algorithm in June of 2021 to include the page experience scores. The goal is to reward websites that have a great page experience and to put extra pressure on slow websites. In short, you get better rankings in organic search and pay less for Google Ads if you score well in-page experience. Core web vitals will then be part of the page experience score.
There is a shift in the way we buy and use the software. Most software is today rolled out as API services using a saas business model. Basically democratization of technology. You get full access to all features and pay for usage. No feature differentiation based on size. By creating a best-of-breed headless stack you can achieve a bigger focus on innovation rather than building and maintaining commodity services.
You can use long-form storytelling to increase engagement by creating authentic experiences. Learn from Patagonia and The New York Times how to build trust and grow your online audience. Emotional stories that inspire are more likely to be shared and if you are lucky even go viral. We have created an open-source eCommerce boilerplate to get you started with long-form storytelling.
With site speed becoming an important part of a customer experience making sure that the number of backend requests during runtime has become important.
Website speed is very important for ecommerce SEO. Frontend performance should be part of your daily web development routine by using tools like PageSpeed Insights. In the last couple of days, Google has rolled out speed monitoring as part of the dashboard in Google Search Console. This really confirms the importance of frontend performance and it also makes it easier for you to be on top of how your site is developing in regards to speed.
Crystallize has had a GraphQL API for the fast delivery of product information from day one. However, we used a REST API for creating, updating, deleting, and general product information management. We have now killed off our REST API entirely and replaced it with GraphQL. Performance and developer experience are the main drivers.
With starting my new software venture, Crystallize, I hired a designer as employee number one the second was an illustrator. I wanted to front-load focus on design, user experience, visualization, and content strategy and not have that being an afterthought. Here is why.
The power of structured product information lays in future-proofing the product information. It allows for easier adoption of new delivery channels, like Alexa for example, in your marketing strategies.
If you are making a decision on architecture for a new e-commerce App these days: stay away from monolithic monsters. You should jump on the trend of tailor-making Internet Apps with React and GraphQL. It allows you to control every byte of the delivery and make the user experience just so. It will give you a better user experience, better Google ranking and not to mention: an awesome developer experience.
Today, you need to be able to curate rich products descriptions alongside classic product information to market and sell products more successfully.
The product catalog (PIM) is the heart of any e-commerce solution. In Crystallize we have based our API for the product catalog on GraphQL to have a great developer experience and to provide a low latency API. We wanted the developers to have the freedom when building the user interface, typically in React, without having a back-end that slows them down.