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Scalability Unleashed: Harnessing the Power of Headless Commerce for Growing Businesses in 2024

Choosing between traditional and headless ecommerce platforms poses a critical decision for online store owners. The shift towards headless ecommerce is gaining momentum due to its offering of enhanced flexibility, scalability, and customization in managing both the frontend and backend selling experiences. This approach resolves the challenge of delivering consistent, personalized shopping experiences seamlessly across diverse channels and devices, marking it as a platform strategy deserving of serious consideration.

Source: Crystallize

What is headless commerce?

Headless ecommerce represents an architectural paradigm that decouples an online retail system’s frontend and backend. This separation allows for the independent development and deployment of each component. In this framework, the frontend—responsible for the user interface and customer experience—is detached from the backend, which manages business logic and data.

By leveraging Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), developers can seamlessly integrate the frontend with various backend systems. This integration facilitates unparalleled flexibility, scalability, and customization while ensuring a unified shopping experience across diverse channels and devices.

Benefits of Headless Commerce Platforms:

  • Flexibility and Customization: Headless commerce allows businesses to choose technologies and frameworks independently for frontend and backend, facilitating tailored solutions.
  • Omnichannel Capabilities: These platforms empower businesses to deliver seamless experiences across various devices and channels, meeting evolving customer expectations.
  • API-First Approach: The API-centric architecture facilitates integrations with third-party systems, enabling businesses to create dynamic, interconnected ecosystems.
  • Developer Empowerment: Developers have the freedom to innovate, experiment, and deploy new features rapidly, enhancing the speed of development cycles.
  • Improved Performance: Headless commerce often leads to better site performance, faster loading times, and improved user experiences.

Top Headless Commerce Platforms:

1. Lightspeed eCom

Lightspeed eCom stands out as a top-tier headless ecommerce platform tailored for small to mid-sized businesses, offering a range of features to streamline online store management. With its cloud-based architecture, Lightspeed eCom empowers businesses to efficiently create and oversee their digital storefronts.

Features & Integrations:

  • POS Integration: Seamless integration with Lightspeed’s point-of-sale system enables retailers to synchronize physical and online store operations. This synchronization ensures unified inventory management, cohesive reporting, and a seamless customer journey.
  • Industry-Specific Solutions: Lightspeed Ecommerce offers tailored features catering specifically to the restaurant industry. It simplifies the setup of online storefronts for takeout, delivery, subscription boxes, and reservations.
  • Integrated Services: Integrations with payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe, shipping services such as ShipStation and FedEx, and accounting applications like QuickBooks and Xero provide added convenience and functionality.


  • Free Plan: A freemium plan is available.
  • Multi-Channel Selling: Enables selling across various platforms like Amazon and Google.
  • No Setup or Transaction Fees: Lightspeed eCom doesn’t impose additional setup or transaction fees.


  • Limited Customization: Some users may find the customization options somewhat limited.
  • Phone Support Limitation: Access to phone support is restricted to higher-tier plans.

2. BigCommerce

BigCommerce emerges as a leading open-source headless ecommerce platform, empowering businesses to craft tailor-made digital storefronts. With a 15-day free trial and pricing starting from $29/month plus a transaction fee of 2.59% + $0.49, BigCommerce offers an array of robust tools for managing customer relationships, order fulfillment, product catalogs, and promotions.

Features & Integrations:

  • API & SDKs: An open API and various available SDKs facilitate rapid project initiation, making it an ideal choice for an integrated ecommerce experience.
  • Front-End Frameworks: Users can customize the customer-facing part of their online store utilizing the platform’s front-end frameworks.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Intelligent storefront search, A/B testing, machine learning-driven recommendations, real-time analytics, and comprehensive tracking features aid in optimizing across all channels.
  • Wide Range of Integrations: Seamless integration with numerous apps including LiveChat, ShipStation, Mailchimp, Quickbooks Online, Yotpo Product Reviews, and many more enhances the platform’s functionality.


  • Omnichannel Marketing Support: BigCommerce offers robust support for omnichannel marketing strategies.
  • Extensive Design Capabilities: Users have extensive design capabilities to create appealing storefronts.
  • Helpful Customer Service: The platform offers helpful and supportive customer service.


  • Technical Troubleshooting: Some users find it challenging to troubleshoot technical errors.
  • Cost of Custom Styles: Custom styles can be costly, impacting budget-conscious users.

3. Shopify

Shopify stands out as an exceptional headless ecommerce platform renowned for its usability and accessibility. With a 3-day free trial followed by $1/month for the initial three months, Shopify’s pricing starts at $29/month with a transaction fee of 2.9% + $0.30.

Features & Integrations:

  • Extensive App Store: Shopify’s App Store hosts a diverse range of third-party applications and integrations. These apps cater to different business needs, offering tools for marketing, sales, customer support, and inventory management, allowing users to customize and expand store capabilities extensively.
  • Marketplace Integrations: Seamlessly integrates with major marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, while also supporting integrations with vital business management apps such as Stocky, Apple Business Chat, Oberlo, Google Sheets, Mailchimp, Wave, Airtable, Slack, and many more.


  • User-Friendly Platform: Shopify boasts a user-friendly platform that’s accessible to various user expertise levels.
  • Comprehensive Inventory Management: Offers in-depth and comprehensive inventory management features.
  • Customizable Templates & Themes: Multiple customizable templates and themes enhance store appearance and branding.


  • Accruing Costs: Monthly fees and transaction fees might accumulate over time.
  • Additional Plugin Costs: Some plugins may entail extra costs, impacting budget considerations.

4. OroCommerce

OroCommerce is hailed as the prime headless ecommerce platform tailored explicitly for wholesalers. It’s characterized by its B2B-focused solutions and its support for headless eCommerce. Currently, it has 3 reviews and offers a free demo, with pricing available upon request.

Features & Integrations:

  • Advanced Pricing & Catalog Management: Tailored for B2B wholesalers, OroCommerce offers intricate pricing structures, including negotiated, volume-based, customer-specific, and contract-based pricing. Extensive catalog management includes tiered product pricing, configurable products, and customizable catalogs, empowering wholesalers to efficiently manage offerings and pricing strategies.
  • Comprehensive Integrations: The platform seamlessly integrates with various systems, including Akeno, Epicor, SAP, Oracle, Infor, Microsoft Dynamics, and more, employing Rest API, import/export engines, and SFTP.


  • Effortless Multi-Website Management: Simplified handling of multiple websites.
  • Robust Product Catalog System: OroCommerce features a robust system for managing product catalogs.
  • Powerful B2B Selling Capabilities: It excels in catering to the complexities of B2B selling.


  • High Entry Barrier: The platform may pose a significant initial investment, even for developers.
  • Limited User Permission Options: Constraints may exist regarding user permission customization.

5. Kontent

Elastic Path emerges as the top headless ecommerce platform known for its prowess in dynamic catalog management. Offering a 90-day free trial, it starts from $50,000/year for its services.

Features & Integrations:

  • Advanced Revenue Optimization: The platform harnesses machine learning algorithms to dynamically optimize pricing, promotions, and offers in real-time. This unique capability adjusts pricing strategies based on customer behavior, market conditions, and business goals. It delivers personalized commerce experiences while enhancing conversions and profitability.
  • Comprehensive Integrations: Elastic Path integrates with various tools and platforms including Advanced Commerce GrapheneHC, Ayden, Algolia, AWS Cognito,, Avalara, Braintree, Braze, Card Connect,, Covio, Google Merchant Center, Paypal, OpenAI, among others, covering ecommerce, development, and content needs.


  • Responsive Customer Support: Engaged and attentive customer service.
  • Lightweight API: Facilitates rapid development cycles.
  • Simple Promotion & Personalization: Easy-to-use engine for promotions and personalization.


  • Not Suitable for Small Businesses/Startups: May not be the ideal choice for smaller entities.
  • Steep Learning Curve for New Users: Complexity in customization, particularly for beginners.

6. Adobe Experience Manager

Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), starting from $50,000/year, is hailed as the paramount headless ecommerce platform for its robust customer analytics and other robust features.

Features & Integrations:

  • Dynamic Media Capabilities: AEM empowers businesses to deliver rich digital experiences with advanced image and video processing, smart cropping, format conversion, and dynamic rendition generation.
  • Experience Fragments: These unique components facilitate creating reusable content across various channels and touchpoints, enhancing efficiency.


  • Scalable Solution: Ideal for large-scale enterprises.
  • Holistic Digital Experience: Comprehensive solution for digital experiences.
  • Abundance of Content Tools: Features rich content creation, curation, and repurposing tools.


  • Learning Curve: Steep learning curve for users.
  • Limited Suitability for Smaller Businesses: More suited to large enterprises than small businesses.

7. Contentful

Contentful, starting from $300/month, stands out as the premier headless ecommerce platform, focusing on agile workflows and content structuring.

Features & Integrations:

  • Customizable Rich Text Editor: Empowers content editors with a flexible suite of options for content creation and formatting, supporting text styles, embedded media, links, and more. This highly extensible approach enables developers to craft bespoke extensions, offering unparalleled control and creativity.
  • Integration Hub: Seamlessly connects with Dropbox, Jira, Google Analytics, Commercetools, and similar business tools, enhancing productivity and workflow management.


  • User-Friendly Platform: Easy navigation and usage.
  • Granular Permission Control: Offers detailed and adaptable permission settings.
  • Customizable Content Models: Supports intricate data structure requirements.


  • Performance Challenges: Slows down with large content volumes.
  • Search & Filtering Limitations: Opportunities for improvement in search and filtering capabilities.

Learn which ecommerce platforms are ruling the charts in 2024 here.

8. Commercetool

Commercetools, starting from $30,000/year, stands as the epitome of headless ecommerce, prioritizing scalability and evolutionary architecture.

Features & Integrations:

  • API-Centric Design: An API-first approach empowers developers to create tailor-made commerce solutions and integrations. This flexibility extends across web, mobile, IoT, voice, and diverse touchpoints, ensuring seamless scalability and adaptability.
  • Integration Ecosystem: Seamlessly integrates with platforms like Contentstack, Cybersource, Frontastic, and popular DXPs and front-end CMS systems like Bloomreach and Adobe Experience Cloud.


  • Customization Ease: Highly adaptable for tailored solutions.
  • Microservices Cost Efficiency: Pay only for required functionalities.
  • Foundational API Focus: Ground-up design centered around API-first architecture.


  • Desire for Additional Integrations: Opportunities for expanding integration options.
  • Coding Knowledge Advantage: Full utilization may require some coding proficiency.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing Headless Commerce Platform:

Features and Integraton:

Ecommerce platforms offer a spectrum of key functionalities to optimize online retail operations. Some prevalent features include:

  • Product Catalog Management: Easy organization and management of product listings, covering categorization, attributes, pricing, and inventory.
  • Shopping Cart and Checkout: Seamless cart operations, multiple payment options, and a secure checkout process for smooth transactions.
  • Order and Inventory Management: Tools for tracking orders, managing shipments, and controlling inventory levels for accuracy.
  • Payment Gateway Integration: Secure integration with popular payment gateways for convenient transactions.
  • Customer Management: Account and profile management, along with customer review, wish list, and recommendation functionalities.
  • Marketing and Promotions: Capabilities for creating and managing promotional campaigns, discounts, loyalty programs, and targeted marketing efforts.
  • Analytics and Reporting: Built-in tools for tracking sales, customer behavior, conversion rates, and other vital metrics.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: Ensuring optimal performance on mobile devices for a seamless user experience across different screens.
  • SEO and Content Management: Tools for optimizing product pages, managing SEO metadata, and handling content creation and management.

These features may differ among platforms, allowing store owners to choose based on their specific needs.

User Interface

A well-designed UI significantly impacts user satisfaction and productivity. It should be intuitive, visually appealing, and responsive, ensuring easy navigation and task execution without confusion. A refined UI enhances user experience, minimizes learning curves, and boosts engagement.


Compared to other ecommerce platforms, headless solutions offer superior usability due to their flexible architecture. The separation of frontend and backend systems grants developers the freedom to choose optimal tools and technologies, streamlining development processes. Updates to the frontend should be independent of backend functionality, simplifying site management amidst evolving shopping technologies.


Headless ecommerce platforms excel in adaptability, leveraging independent development and deployment for each component. This agility allows customization, selection of suitable technologies, and rapid responses to market trends without disrupting backend functionalities.

Software Integrations

Seamless integration with third-party services, APIs, and extension availability is a core advantage of headless platforms. These should effortlessly connect with various software, such as product information management tools, social selling platforms, inventory management, and more, extending the platform’s functionality.


Headless commerce platforms represent a paradigm shift in the way businesses manage their online retail operations. They offer a flexible architecture that decouples the frontend and backend systems, empowering businesses to deliver seamless, personalized, and omnichannel shopping experiences. The API-driven approach, robust content management capabilities, and focus on scalability enable businesses to adapt swiftly to changing market trends, cater to evolving customer demands, and integrate with a wide array of third-party services. While offering immense potential for innovation and customer engagement, the implementation of headless commerce platforms requires careful planning and expertise to harness their full capabilities.

FAQs on Headless Commerce Platforms:

What businesses benefit most from headless commerce?
Businesses looking for rapid innovation, scalability, omnichannel capabilities, and tailored customer experiences benefit most from headless commerce.

What features define a good headless commerce platform?
Robust API capabilities, comprehensive content management, scalability, flexibility, seamless integrations, and a well-designed user interface are crucial features.

How does headless commerce impact user experiences?
Headless commerce enables businesses to create personalized, consistent, and engaging experiences across various devices and touchpoints, enhancing user satisfaction.

What challenges might businesses face when adopting headless commerce?
Challenges may include complexity in managing multiple systems, ensuring seamless integrations, maintaining consistent user experiences, and requiring skilled developers for implementation.

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