People may think of Abraham Van Brunt or the Legend of Sleepy Hollow when they hear the word headless, but in the context of it we’re about to lay out here we’re not talking about horsemen. We’re talking about headless commerce, which is a separation of the front end and back end of an e-commerce application where brands are more free to build whatever and however they want. One of the many offshoots of conventional e-commerce since it came around some 25 years or so ago.
Headless commerce has gained attention as a method that businesses can employ to address some of the challenges associated with the evolving eCommerce market and it does allow businesses to obtain a substantial competitive advantage when the presentation layers and the backend of the application are built and operated distinct from each other and continue to be standing apart from each other as the business gains traction.
And of course a primary resource for any e-commerce business, venture, or other commercial enterprise online – headless or not – is going to be the website. And as a top Canadian web hosting provider, 4GoodHosting is always all ears when it comes to whatever it may be that might be relevant for the small / smallish businesses that have their websites hosted by us.
Dedicated hosting is often a better choice than shared hosting for many reasons, but it is especially so for headless commerce interests and that’s what we’re going to look at with our entry for this week.
Challenges With Headless Commerce
There are common challenges that need to be overcome by organizations implementing a headless commerce environment. What is quite common is that these challenges aren’t overcome sufficiently (or easily) and the company then decides to choose to deploy a traditional e-commerce solution. But if they were to move to a dedicated server arrangement with their Canadian web hosting provider then at least a PART of why that is would be taken out of the equation.
These are the most common challenges:
Cost – There are often substantial initial cost of implementing a headless commerce architecture and there may not be a fit with a company’s projected budget. Weighing costs against the projected benefits and increased revenue generated by the new system is often what transpires.
Technical expertise – Considerable technical expertise is often required to correctly implement headless commerce. Changing existing processes is rarely straightforward and failure to get it right can expose a company to failed systems, downtime, and lost revenue.
Data integration and connectivity – Integrating the diverse data streams and sales channels is often a heavy challenge, and very time consuming. Faulty integrations will lead to dissatisfied customers and mounds of work for a development team.
Dedicated Web Hosting Benefits
Shared servers are always the least expensive option, but will not always deliver the desired level of performance or reliability. A virtual private server (VPS) addresses some of the shortcomings of a shared server but will still not offer the performance achievable with dedicated physical hardware. Costs can be controlled with options such as renting a dedicated server from a 3rd-party vendor rather than purchasing it and housing it in an on-premises data center.
Considerable as well that partnering with a 3rd-party hosting provider can reduce or eliminate any concerns about the availability of adequate technical resources, and 3rd-party tools that help integrate and automate data intake are essential when implementing a headless commerce environment.
Superior customization potential is a benefit too A dedicated server provides full control over the deployment of operating systems and software applications. Both frontend and backend resources can be fine-tuned and customized to provide an improved user experience. Same goes for reliability as a dedicated server enables a company to use in-house technical resources to make changes or respond to an emergency or unexpected outage.
Next up is flexibility. When they own the hardware a company can quickly make changes as soon as they become necessary. Shared tenants or limits on partitioned resources are not part of the picture and you won’t be disadvantaged this way. A dedicated server for headless commerce applications also gives transparency as companies know exactly what software is running. There will be no surprised with unexpected compatibility issues.
After you’ve decided that a dedicated hosting environment is going to be the best working fit for your headless commerce architecture, you then need to choose how it will be implemented. As with any website, a company can elect to host it using internal or third-party resources. The following factors influence an organization’s choice. Here are the standard considerations around this:
Financial status – Setting up a dedicated server in an internal data center is not inexpensive. You may want to think about finding a reliable provider and renting your hardware from them. This is one way to minimize the cost of going with a headless solution.
Technical resources available – Lacking the in-house technical resources to adequately handle the responsibilities of maintaining a dedicated server is quite common. A reliable vendor can supply those resources, allowing a company to implement headless commerce with a limited staff.
Datacenter space – Dedicated servers need to be located and a 3rd-party vendor will already have space allocated. Companies that do not have on-premises space available can still go headless by paying for use of provider’s space and servers.