The headless line: When do you go for it?

I hear a lot of rumbling around headless commerce these days. Platforms are popping up all around, and statements such as: “The future is headless”, are plenty. The question remains: what should you do as a merchant? Invest in these platforms or not? If you want to know more about what headless commerce is, head back to my previous blog posts about this topic!

Cross the headless line

This is why I want to coin the term ‘the headless line’. Just as the ‘Bill Gates line’ defines when you become a platform instead of an aggregator, the headless line defines when it makes sense to go headless.

You’re probably wondering when you ‘cross’ this headless line. Well, that’s dependent on a lot of factors, and I can’t give you a specific answer of when you should go headless. A bit lame, I know, but I’ll give you some concrete guidelines to hold on to.

- Does investing in a progressive web app make sense for your business?

- Do you have complex 3D models that are at the core of your business?

- Do you have different regions that you are targetting internationally who are interested in different subsets of products?

- Do you have a large team of inhouse marketeers, translators, copywriters that can handle maintaining content for all the different locales?

- Do you want very specific features that you don’t see often on other e-commerce sites?

Know that this line constantly changes too. So not only is it hard to draw this line, several factors make it that this line constantly moves. Not only are platforms like Shopify taking huge steps to make their services better, creative front-end developers are at the same time finding new ways to make websites faster, more scalable and more memorable.

Let’s just celebrate that both parties keep pushing each other forward, and take advantage of the possibilities it gives us - even though it gives us a bit of a headache figuring out which tools are right for us. Remember, the goal still is to create a performing online company.

Also note that operating in a lot of different languages and/or currencies used to be huge drivers to go headless before. That’s not the case anymore, because Shopify now offers Shopify Plus, which entails those features.

Lastly, know this: the incessantly evolving nature of digital technology brings greater technical demands from the market with it, demands driven by changes in digital trends.

As technology expands, new features become more commonplace and more fashionable in website design and UX. The companies that can keep up with these trends will profit from them the most. This doesn’t mean every trend is useful to everyone - even headless won’t be a must for every merchant. In the end, you’ll have to choose your battles!

If you need help to understand if you are above or beneath ‘the headless line’ and want to zoom in on what to do next - just give me and my team a shout, as we’re very happy to help to put your resources to the best possible use!