What’s the Head in a Headless CMS World?

This guest blog post was originally posted on e-Spirit’s blog.

In the last couple of years, headless CMS platforms have been steadily rising in popularity.

Retailers love the flexibility that comes with having better control over their content management, and internal teams thrive due to their newfound agility. If you’re thinking about going headless, here’s what you need to know.

Headless vs. Traditional CMS

A headless CMS comes with benefits that you don’t get with a traditional CMS.

At a high level, a headless CMS is the best way to future-proof your digital experience architecture, enabling support of any channels available today or in the future. It leverages APIs to inject content into web, native, in-store kiosks, or any other channels.

Just as important – developers, marketing managers, and ecommerce managers are able to create more interactive experiences for customers in a shorter time and with less investment, reducing time to market and giving you a competitive edge.

With a headless CMS, the only thing you need to worry about is how you’re going to deliver your front-end.

So, What’s the Head in a Headless CMS World?

A headless CMS architecture does not have a defined front-end system or presentation environment, but there are two ways to get there: build it custom from scratch or use a Front-end as a Service.

Custom Front-end From Scratch

Many perceive a custom solution as the most flexible option, but in reality, most teams will spend their time building the foundation with frameworks, a hosting environment, and integrations that don’t have a direct impact on the customer experience. When building from scratch, you’’l have to:

The complexities of building from scratch

These complexities…

  • Introduce risk and lengthy project timelines
  • Require retaining a lot of skilled resources that are in high demand and at a premium in retail
  • Add an opportunity cost that takes away time from building out innovation and highly impactful unique experiences

Since building a custom front-end from scratch comes with a lot of risks (which may be compounded by the risks you are incurring on other, related initiatives) not many retailers have fully gone down this path yet.

Front-end as a Service

With a Front-end as a Service, you avoid the pitfalls of building something from scratch, while still getting all the benefits of a headless approach.

A Front-end as a Service includes:

  • A hosting environment to deploy, host, and manage all high-performing front-end apps
  • Developer tools to build with next-generation web and app technologies
  • A single front-end codebase to manage desktop, tablet, mobile, and native experiences
  • An evolving platform that will give you access to future customer experience touchpoints
  • An API-friendly integration architecture that empowers teams to easily, swap, or remove any backend system
Mobify’s Front-end as a headless approach.

Unify with a Front-end as a Service

A headless CMS combined with a Front-end as a Service like Mobify’s gives you a unified front-end experience across all your screens, brands, and regions, with the ability to easily roll out content changes across all those touchpoints from a single place.

You get the freedom to build a “custom” solution without having to actually start from scratch, and your front-end is future-proofed for emerging digital experience technology, backend changes, and organizational changes.

A Front-end as a Service is a total shift – it’s a new way to deliver front-end experiences so you can get the most out of your headless commerce architecture.

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