Having a full-fledged eCommerce management platform, like WooCommerce, isn’t enough. Consumers always want more.
The brands that keep evolving with consumer demands maintain a balance between site performance, aesthetics, and functionality. WooCommerce is a storehouse of many themes, plugins, and extensions.
The availability of many plugins is the root cause behind performance issues in WooCommerce. They slow down the website loading time and eat up a lot of memory. And, if that’s not enough, you need another plugin to improve your site’s performance!
If you suggest custom development through CSS or jQuery to include the desired functionality, it also has its own challenges.
But, there’s a solution—headless commerce that will ensure you’re maximizing the use of content while also using a best-in-class eCommerce platform on the backend.
Stop switching between plugins and make a move to headless WooCommerce.
Table of Contents
What Is Headless WooCommerce?
In headless WooCommerce, you decouple the user interface of WooCommerce from its back-end (database). Instead, you use a custom UI, written in a different programming language like ReactJS, and connect it to the WooCommerce store.
The REST API of WooCommerce facilitates the connection between the customized front-end and back-end of the store. Apart from REST API, there’s a new technology surfacing in the market—GraphQL. It triggers the functionality of REST API by breaking the data queries into small chunks.
With headless WooCommerce, you can:
- design the front-end of your WooCommerce site with a modern technology stack,
- perform all the commerce functions as before, and
- leverage limitless customization with capabilities of the core platform.
Standard WooCommerce Development Limitations
Let’s roll back to our discussion about using CSS, HTML, or jQuery for custom development. It’s easier said than done.
Template Files Confine Your Creativity
WooCommerce template files limit you to specific functionality. You can’t customize them beyond their capabilities. Hence, using a modern technology stack is out of luck, and you are bound to template-based designing.
Your Developers Can’t Experiment With Front-end
When developers try to customize the front-end of a WooCommerce store, they:
- have to first check with the back-end developers,
- analyze the existing infrastructure,
- need to comply with WordPress and PHP frameworks, and
- In the end, stick to the old technology stack for development.
It restricts their thought process and prevents them from creating better shopping experiences for your customers. So it’s a significant loss at your end.
Code Refuses To Cooperate
Too many plugins and extensions make your code difficult to customize. Besides, the templates and functionalities accompanying these plugins make the code even more complicated.
Hence, the developers have no option but to stick with what is doable.
Site Performance Depends On Database Processing
According to a study, 79% of customers will not visit an online store after any performance glitch.
Most of the functionality of an eCommerce store depends on heavy processing in the database. Some examples are:
- filter-based product search
- “You might also like”
- “Buy it with”
- customer reviews
- “Customers who bought this item also bought,” etc.
These features require a lot of work behind the scenes, and hence, are responsible for the slow loading of data.
How Headless Architecture Fits Into The Big Picture?
A headless website has a front-end, back-end, set of APIs, content delivery network (CDN), and content management system.
The different components in a headless architecture communicate via APIs. When you separate the front-end of your WooCommerce store, what remains the same is:
- product catalog,
- shopping cart,
- payment gateways,
- fee and tax configuration, and
- the entire back-end.
Whatever changes take place in the front-end, the data source is still the back-end.
You only build the front-end of your store with a framework of your choice, say ReactJS. The front-end will have all the capabilities to create specific business interfaces.
But, how will you display the product catalog—from your WooCommerce store (the back-end). How will you do it—using API calls in real-time.
Besides, you can also retrieve stock status, product variants, product image gallery, taxes, etc.
Since the front-end doesn’t interfere with the back-end, you can make unlimited changes to the interface. Also, when the API interacts with the back-end to retrieve real-time product data, the UI does not refresh.
That’s how APIs communicate with each other—without tapping the database every time the UI needs something. It, therefore, keeps the website’s performance smooth and seamless.
How Headless Technologies Improve WooCommerce Site?
Here are some reasons way use WooCommerce headless option for your site.
Boost Site Performance
When your website loading time increases by one second, it decreases the:
- conversion rates by 7%,
- page views by 11%, and
- customer satisfaction by 16%.
The reasons for delay are evident from the above discussion:
- Too many plugins,
- Legacy code, and
- Broad product bases
- deploy this front-end to the CDN, and
- send the compiled files from CDN to the browser using APIs.
The Markup of the JAMStack framework represents the public-facing layer. It generates static files for your entire website, which APIs deliver straight to the CDN, and then to the browser.
Hence, when you build your WooCommerce site, you use a different environment. When you make changes in that environment, say load the site, the database remains untapped. As a result, there’s a significant decrease in page load time.
The same goes for every other interaction a user has with your site’s front-end.
Enhance Site Security
A standard WooCommerce site is prone to security breaches. However, with the JAMStack framework:
- your entire website turns into a static file, and
- static files lack backend/database.
As a result, your admin panel remains hidden from the hackers. Besides, your front-end and back-end are in separation. So, the hackers only get access to static files, which they cannot crack.
The worst that hackers can do is attack your site’s front-end. They might overload it but fail to impact other channels if you have a multi-channel WooCommerce site. It’s like adding more layers to your site so the hackers cannot find the primary content source.
That’s how you ensure your site’s security with headless WooCommerce.
Build Progressive Web App Of Site
Progressive web applications (PWAs) have done wonders for Twitter. They saw an increase in their tweets by 75% and pages per session by 65%.
Besides, Twitter also lowered its bounce rates by 20% and app size by 97%. A progressive web application can actually give the boost you need for your site. How?
It makes your web app look and feel like a platform-specific application. Meaning, the online users can then use it on any device like it is built for it.
When headless commerce integrates with PWA, the decoupling strategy stays put. As a result, you can recreate your website design without interfering with the website’s content.
Besides, when you implement the JAMStack framework, you can ensure:
- triggered website speed,
- better customer experience,
- spiked up conversion rates, and
- improved engagement with site visitors.
Enable Multi-channel Experience
In the era of omnichannel eCommerce, you have to be there where your audience is present. Headless commerce makes it possible for your WooCommerce site. You can:
- call content from your back-end and display it anywhere in multiple formats,
- publish content on websites, mobile apps, social media, and GMB listings at once,
- deliver the right message at the right time to the right audience, and
- Invest your time creating more content while headless APIs share it across multiple platforms.
Scale Business Without Interruptions
When you plan to expand your WooCommerce store, you worry about:
- technology stack,
- compatibility of UI with the back-end,
- mandatory downtime, and
- whether the site can crash.
But, when you have a headless WooCommerce website, you only think about:
- the different site versions you can create,
- which domains would you publish on,
- whether you need another website,
- how many more storefronts would you need,
- if you need a mobile application, etc.
You can leverage the separation of front-end and back-end to better scale your business. When you update your content database, the front-facing site will continue to render content to the users. Hence, there’s no downtime at all.
Besides, a separate front-end environment also allows your website to integrate with almost all types of platforms. Hence, you can work with any technology or framework to design better experiences for your customers.
It can even incorporate augmented and virtual reality, IoT, and other high-end technologies. So, you are free to create engaging and ROI-driven site experiences for your target audience.
WooCommerce Headless Conclusion
Headless commerce is here to stay. It has already made a footprint on the success of various industry giants.
If you want to outperform your competitors, you need loyal customers. And customer loyalty is directly proportional to customer experience. So, give the customers what they want—they will not go to the next door.
Saurav Agarwal is a freelance writing contributor to tech and marketing companies, such as ScienceSoft and HuptechWeb. He has provided independent services for three years, and his write-ups focus on information and SEO needs without trading off the entertainment element. When he is not writing, he’s busy exploring the worlds of determinism and free will.
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