Headless architecture: 5 reasons to implement it
In today's fast-changing world, marketers must work harder than ever to scale their businesses. They confront a diverse range of situations and are expected to know many things that, even five years ago, were beyond their capabilities. As a marketer today, you must grasp how technologies affect business results and frequently communicate with technical teams.
One of the examples is headless architecture. Previously, this word was used by web developers only, but it is now a typical practice where marketing and technology teams collaborate to select the ideal technological stack. As a result, marketers should broadly understand numerous technical terms and approaches.
What is headless architecture?
The word "headless" might be a little confusing, but there is an explanation. You can call software headless when its' "body" – the back end (the server side that is responsible for logic and data storage) is separated from the "head" – the front end, or, in other words, the customer-facing content presentation layer that users actually interact with.
Primarily, headless architecture refers to content management systems (CMS), and it is opposite to monolithic or traditional architecture. The difference between these two types of CMS is that the back and front ends are tied in monolithic solutions such as WordPress.
Since in headless solutions, front and back ends communicate via API (application programming interface), they are often called API-first. In this case, API acts as a connecting path for data that is transferred between these two parts of the content management system. Aside from that, API allow users to easily integrate new services and third-party tools into the system. In other words, developers can choose the best-of-breed options available and increase the overall functionality of the final product.
However, even more approaches and concepts are often mentioned in context with headless.
1. Microservices architecture implies the development approach in which a larger application is divided into smaller, independent parts, allowing developers to easily evolve their technology stack.
3. MACH principles refer to technology guidelines that emphasize adopting best-of-breed solutions. The abbreviation can be decrypted as Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless.
5 benefits of the headless architecture
Despite the prevalence of monolithic solutions, headless CMS architecture has gained traction in recent years due to its numerous technical and business benefits. Here are a few of them:
1. Enhanced scalability and performance
You may rely on headless CMS whether you have a growing firm or an enterprise because they provide CDN (content delivery network) that eliminates server overloads. As a result, even if traffic increases or visitors from multiple countries access the website, the speed will remain high.
Website speed is another critical aspect of the overall user experience: nearly 70% of consumers said that page speed influences their willingness to buy from an online retailer. On the other hand, headless websites are faster than those powered by monolithic CMSs because they are not clogged with unnecessary plugins and functions.
2. Ability to select the best integrations
Due to the API-based approach, developers can quickly add and modify multiple integrations without affecting the entire system. As a marketer, you can combine any automation and optimization tools, customer relationship management systems (CRM), lead capture and conversion solutions, and so on. As a result, you receive a system that is completely adapted to your needs rather than paying for unnecessary features or not being able to use the tools you want, as that often happens in monolithic solutions.
3. Independent work for marketing teams
Despite the majority of headless CMSs being more developer-friendly due to the lack of a predefined front-end, Storyblok is one of the few solutions that offer a Visual Editor, which simplifies the work for both tech and marketing teams and allows them to collaborate.
Content creators and editors can create, edit and publish content by themselves without the need to involve developers in the process. Direct communication within the CMS helps speed up the workflows and prevent confusion or silos. The collaboration capabilities offered by Storyblok include discussions, workflow setup, user roles, and permissions. Several users can modify the same page simultaneously and instantly see the changes, saving a great deal of time.
4. Building omnichannel experiences
Omnichannel is the new black, in a way, of how people shop online. Modern consumers expect brands not only to be on multiple platforms, but also to provide seamless shopping experiences across all of them.
Headless eCommerce architecture is key to providing consumers an omnichannel experience. Since the headless CMS doesn't have a predefined front end, you can create multiple presentation layers and publish content across all of them simultaneously.
5. Increased security
Cyberattacks and compromised customer data are two of any company's top concerns. Aside from significant financial losses, data breaches shatter confidence and trust in even the most well-known brands, so businesses must take risks seriously and invest in secure software.
While server-side applications and databases are the premier targets for cyberattacks due to multiple technical vulnerabilities, headless CMS architecture significantly reduces the threats by decoupling the front end from the back end.
Examples of headless architecture
Now that you know headless's technical and business advantages, here are some examples of how brands across different industries applied this approach and what results they achieved.
1. Marc O'Polo: fashion retail
Having used the legacy architecture, the team at Marc O'Polo was completely disappointed with the performance and functionality they had and started to look for a new CMS. The brand operates in a highly competitive market focusing on seamless omnichannel experiences, so finding a new content solution was one of the main priorities. It took the team only 2 days to build a prototype and 12 months to fully migrate to a modern eCommerce setup with Storyblok.
2. Claro: broadband and telecommunication
Claro is one of the largest telecommunication companies in Brazil. The company has been working on digitalization since 2012, so they searched for the best software solutions that would be able to serve 70 million customers across the country and provide them with personalized experiences.
The main goal for Claro was to analyze and customize consumers' journeys and provide them with personalized offers and plans based on various parameters, including location, previous interactions, purchasing behavior, current packages, and so on. It took Claro 3 months overall to migrate to Storyblok.
3. Crimson Education: university admissions support consultancy
Prior to Storyblok, Crimson Education had another headless CMS, but with time the team started to experience multiple technical limitations, making them look for another vendor.
With the need to create and maintain multiple localized website versions in more than 30 markets, the company was looking for a CMS that would help them streamline the content processes across several teams and offer scalability.
In the digital-first world, choosing future-proof technologies is key to scaling and developing your business. Headless architecture has already proven multiple advantages over monolithic systems, so implementing this approach could be a game-changer for your company.
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