Ultimate Guide to Headless eCommerce Websites
Headless eCommerce websites are becoming a savvy alternative for one simple reason: they let a content builder frontend and an eCommerce backend do the jobs they’re created to do, resulting in optimal performance on both ends. Constructing websites on one platform is still considered standard practice. However, some eCommerce website agencies like JYZ Design are starting to utilize headless website building – effectively making eCommerce websites more multifunctional. A website consists of a divided front and back end – operating in conjunction with each other but on different platforms that utilise their individual strengths.
On a traditional eCommerce website, the front-end and back-end are tightly integrated on one platform. Headless eCommerce websites allow for greater flexibility and scalability in the design and functionality of the website as you are less limited by the limitations of one platform. It also allows for easier integration with other systems and third-party services like Elementor or Google Analytics. That being said, it can also be more complex to set up and maintain, as the front-end and back-end will have separate administrative login points.
In summary, the business owner or staff responsible for managing the website will need to be well-versed in both platforms. Below are two options our Calgary web design team typically recommends for clients depending on how much they want to spend upfront and on monthly processing fees.
- Visual editor for easy changing of text and images
- Affordable build costs for clients and agencies
- Fast performance and reliable
WordPress is a popular content management system (CMS) that is one of the most prevalent web platforms – most statistics estimate that WordPress hosts approximately 30% – 40% of all websites. It’s open-source software, which means that it is free to use and benefits from the large community of developers and users who contribute to it. This is notoriously easy to use platform still has the capabilities of more complicated platforms, with access to a huge variety of plugins and extensions. Furthermore, editing content and other web aspects is usually a breeze using its intuitive user interface.
At JYZ Design, we use a drag-and-drop visual builder and provide tutorials on how to easily make day-to-day edits. More complex additions like adding new pages, can be completed via affordable hourly scopes due to its ease of use.
- Not a lot of integrations with other apps
- Free software, with support from our team
- Dashboard/reporting tools are more minimal
- Payment processor: flexibility to choose between Authorize.net, stripe, PayPal
WooCommerce is a free e-commerce plugin made to integrate with WordPress. It allows you to easily create an online store and sell products or services through your website. Once installed and activated, it adds several features to your website that are specific to eCommerce – including the ability to manage products, orders, and customers in the backend. Like WordPress, WooCommerce is very user-friendly. You can add products, set prices, and configure shipping and tax options, while utilizing built-in support for various payment gateways, such as PayPal, Stripe, and credit card payments.
When placed side by side, WooCommerce’s eCommerce tools still have a ways to go when compared to Shopify. The latter offers more dynamic and detailed customer tracking information, as well as more options to integrate with tools for email marketing, SMS, social media, affiliate marketing, etc.
Backend and Frontend: Shopify
- Integration with many existing apps
- More costly, but better support
- Better for companies that want to keep expanding SKUs, with increasing order amounts
- Great dashboard tools for reporting
- Must use Shopify’s payment processor, higher associated fees
Shopify is a cloud-based e-commerce platform that allows you to create an online store and sell products or services through your website. It is a fully-hosted platform, which means that Shopify takes the job of hosting and maintaining the technology infrastructure off your hands. One of the main advantages of using Shopify is that it is very user-friendly and easy to set up. That being said, its visual customization options are adequate but limited when compared to other platforms like WordPress. Their strong suit is their intuitive interface for managing your products, orders, and customers.
Additionally, Shopify offers a wide range of built-in eCommerce features and integrations, like support for various payment gateways, shipping and tax calculators, and the ability to create discounts and coupons. It also has an app store, where you can find third-party plugins and apps to add additional functionality to your store like email marketing, analytics, and social media integrations. Advanced features are available at an additional cost, including abandoned cart recovery, advanced reporting, and gift cards.
It’s better utilized by businesses that don’t have a high volume of sales, or need to store and manage large amounts of sensitive data. It charges transaction fees for all sales made on their platform and hosts your website and data on their servers
Backend WooCommerce+ Frontend WordPress
Backend Shopify+ Frontend Shopify
Backend Shopify+ Frontend WordPress
Shopify login + page builder plugin
Shopify login + WordPress login
A little outdated slightly hard to find things
Ease of Editing Website Content
Moderate, depending on template
Flexibility of Design
Third Party App Integrations
Can be glitchy
Payment Processor Fees
Stripe: 2.9% + 30¢ Authorize.net: $25/mo + 10¢ per transaction + 10¢ daily batch fee AND Chase bank: 2-2.8% per transaction (can be negotiated depending we volume)
2.9% + 30¢
2.9% + 30¢
$38-389/month +$199/year ShopWP for integration
$99/year for Elementor page builder
Purchase theme $29-$499
$99/year for Elementor page builder
$8-15K Requires custom code
Best for starter businesses, or people that want to outsource website managment
Best for DIY businesses that require many app add-ons
Best of both worlds: E-Commerce enging of Shopify and design flexibility of WordPress