The Magic of Headless Commerce + PWA
Following is a roundup of perspectives from experts on what how Headless Commerce and Progressive Web Apps will transform the eCommerce space.
It would be interesting to see how eCommerce platforms embrace the Progressive Web App (PWA) movement. A PWA is essentially a web based application, built in the same way as an app but intended to sit within a web browser. There are loads of examples of PWA’s in the world already but it has only recently started entering the eCommerce space.
The likes of Magento have released PWA studio and VUEStorefront being released to work alongside various eCommerce platforms, but still the number of full PWA eCommerce sites out there in the world is still very few.
The reason why this is so exciting is because of the potential benefits to eCommerce sites. Firstly, speed, the ever reaching quest for improved site speed and load times. Once a PWA front end has performed its initial load, that’s it, the rest of the site is instantly available and navigating through the site is incredibly fast. Secondly is speed of development, because you are building on a headless front end framework you can make changes to the front end instantly and quickly without the need for developing the back end to support it. Lastly it’s the potential for being able to work with poor connectivity, most people believe eventually a user will be able to begin an eCommerce transaction and even if during the shopping experience you lose connectivity (i.e. on a train) you will still be able to complete the transaction.
So for me that’s the next 5 years, faster, lower cost development and more app-like eCommerce sites - which I believe will ultimately make native apps for retailers obsolete.
Mark Purdy, Managing Director
Headless WordPress could really be the future of how we get more dynamic, fast loading, flexible but easy to use ecommerce sites done. Not everyone really needs something this complicated but as site SKUS, customers and a need for speed grows, so does the need to approach projects in a different way.
In the last 10 years plus we’ve seen such a dramatic shift in the market and how technology, especially within ecommerce has changed. We’ve seen a democratization of the ability to leverage ecommerce too which has really helped to broaden the landscape and push more people to think about their own ability to differentiate and optimize to get ahead. I think as we move forward, there will be more of this - more people getting in the mix at a greater rate and we’ll need to think of the tools to accommodate this while making sure the end customer journey is simplified as well.
Brent Feldman, Managing Partner, Matchboxdesign Group
Progressive Web Apps (PWA) allow retailers the opportunity to create an impactful experience that makes eCommerce possible on mobile without the download of a mobile application. The use of PWAs is gaining a lot of traction in reaction to COVID-19 and the growth in mobile commerce. With PWAs, retailers can reach consumers through SEO techniques as opposed to paid media and are able to connect with consumers with ease and without the commit of installing an app on their device. PWA’s are also seamless across device types as they use the mobile devices’ web browser and hence allow the retailer to maintain a singular code base across device types. PWA’s are feature rich like a native app allowing consumers the flexibility to login and add to cart and come back later or switch between devices just like an application would—offering a full experience. As mobile commerce continues to grow, adoption of PWAs will be an increasingly critical contributor to a retailer’s success in attracting and engaging a customer without an upfront commit.
Jobin Ephrem, Chief Growth Officer, Rightpoint
One of the most exciting up-and-coming eCommerce technologies that will mature over the next 5-10 years is Headless Commerce. It does for eCommerce websites what Jail Breaking did for the iPhone. It gives developers the freedom to customize your experience far beyond what was once thought possible and on any device imaginable.
As technology opens up new avenues for selling such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Smart Glasses and more, Headless Commerce will be the means by which it is all possible.
Jonathan Ybarra, co-founder & Managing Partner, JOMA Tech
Headless commerce enables flexibility to deliver experiences that customers and Google value. But also because, by reducing switching costs, it will dramatically reduce the cost of running ecommerce operations very quickly and allow innovation at smaller scale by more aggressively ambitious players. Also because headless pushes money towards front end development which customers actually notice and away from platform-driven architecture spending which they don't.
John Duncan, CEO, 64labs
More retail brands need to be looking at ways to engage customers through PWAs (progressive web apps). PWAs promise a faster loading experience, easier to maintain app like features, and more. But they're mostly being thought of as ways of doing mindless push notifications. I think there are innovations to be had here as brands get accustomed to them and start to think about them more creatively.
Jordan Brannon, President & COO, Coalition Technologies