How to explain headless to a 5 year old

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People visit websites to learn about products and make purchases efficiently. Standard e-commerce platforms have limitations that create problems for the buyer process. When you hear the word ‘headless’, your customers’ online experience could be better and limited by the capabilities of current e-commerce platforms. These limits can be applied to any significant platform (Shopify, Adobe, Salesforce, etc.) as needed.

head” equals “user experience” Or UX. So the “head” is what you see first when the web page loads.

remove: Most websites don’t need a headless approach. Because the standard platform works fine and is constantly being improved. If someone (even an employee) is trying to sell you a headless approach, be persistent and ask why they need it. There may be an easier way to achieve your goal. Most of the time, keeping things simple saves money.

How does headless work?

Instead of using off-the-shelf design systems built into standard ecommerce platforms, a headless approach removes the “head” (UX) from your ecommerce site and replaces it with one of two things:

remove: These systems are beneficial when you want a more customized, dynamic or fast user experience. However, if you don’t need the extra complexity and features, your website infrastructure would be simpler and cheaper without them.

How to explain composable commerce to a 5-year-old

Composable commerce takes the headless concept and applies it across your digital infrastructure. The vision of composable commerce is that each major function is provided by one piece of software or service that does its unique thing very well.

Ecommerce can incorporate hundreds of software solutions, so there’s more than just one way to make it configurable. Rather, composable commerce should be viewed as a set of principles for each element of the technology infrastructure.

  1. Each element does only one thing well and is not responsible for many things at once.
  2. Each element can be upgraded individually without disrupting other aspects.
  3. Each element can be easily integrated with other elements. (APIs and connectors are commonly used for this.)
  4. Each element works well and scales automatically based on the amount of tasks.

remove: The principle of composability helps you design websites that are flexible, easy to upgrade and maintain over time. In the short and medium term, moving to this approach can be risky, expensive and difficult.

If your organization doesn’t have a trusted IT leader, a trusted consultant or agency partner can guide you on this journey.

Our main goal is simple. It’s about providing a user experience that performs well and can be easily maintained for years to come as usage needs change.

What can a headless or configurable sales rep not tell you?

Here are some e-commerce facts to keep in mind when considering all your options.

  1. The platform itself does not generate any revenue or profit. the organization does. This means people, processes and technology must work together to achieve results.
  2. New platforms come with new challenges that organizations are unfamiliar with.
  3. Migrating from one platform to another is risky. This is usually something a seasoned e-commerce VP or Chief Digital Officer will only try once in his entire career, twice his or hers.
  4. Whether it’s due to Google traffic redirects, employee training, promotions, or customer behavior, it’s not uncommon for revenue to decline after re-platforming.

Despite these facts, if an organization is still struggling to deliver the experiences customers demand, it must navigate these difficult waters and carefully plan its next steps.

What else can you tell us about Composable?

Even if you need to adopt a headless or composable approach, your sales reps may not tell you in advance. It’s easier to gradually reveal costs and complexities as the project progresses than to risk scaring them from the get-go.

  1. Existing cloud-based e-commerce platforms may need to be “well-configurable” to support specific needs. It’s best to interview multiple agencies and consultants to get a balanced view of the situation.
  2. A composable approach is ideal for companies with development teams.
  3. Composable can work without developers, but it needs to retain agency to ensure that the system works and improves over its lifetime. This can be a hefty monthly retainer that induces sticker shock.
  4. Now that you’ve moved away from standard cloud-based platforms, you may need a more sophisticated serverless hosting infrastructure. These systems incur costs based on data and user requirements.
  5. Integrating the various components within a composable architecture may require purchasing specialized connectors or hiring a specialized agency to complete the data integration.
  6. Your security and data needs become more complex when your infrastructure consists of software from different vendors. This can result in extra cost and effort for your team, or the need to hire outside experts.

remove: It can take 12-18 months for companies to move to composable infrastructure, and they should be aware of the additional costs that can be incurred.

What to do next with composable commerce?

Assuming you’re at the beginning of your configurable journey, my advice would be to create a high-level plan that carefully outlines all the vendors and costs you need to avoid surprises.

“Measure twice, cut once” is a good motto for what you’re about to start with. Companies can spend millions of dollars on failed IT projects without realizing significant payoffs. there is. Successful migrations will reap the rewards of reduced maintenance costs, flexible upgrade paths, improved user experience, and increased revenue and margins.

Good luck on your trip!

Founded by Rick Watson RMW Commerce Consulting After spending over 20 years as a technology entrepreneur and operator dedicated to the e-commerce industry at companies such as ChannelAdvisor,, Merchantry, and Pitney Bowes. His current work focuses on supporting investors and management teams to nurture and grow consumer businesses. Working with his private equity firm, Watson will conduct due diligence on e-commerce, technology and digital marketing for acquisition candidates and create e-commerce growth plans for post-acquisition growth strategies.Also hosted by Watson Watson Weekly The podcast shares unbiased, unfiltered expert opinion on the biggest news and players in the retail sector.


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