If you’re trying to figure out the best eCommerce storefront solution for your business, you’ve come to the right place.
As always at Vue Storefront, we aim to shine a light on technologies that will future-proof your online store. This article will give you insight into eCommerce technologies used for frontend development. We also talk about why headless storefronts are leading in the race to deliver what the market demands.
The article will explore the top eCommerce storefront solutions known for:
- Omnichannel experiences with good SEO performance
- Increased revenue, conversions, and ROI
- Quicker Time-to-Market
So, without any further ado, let’s get cracking.
What is an eCommerce storefront?
When we talk about storefront technologies in eCommerce, we refer to the frontend suite of tech tools used to create the UI (user interface). We also call it the client-side or client-facing part of your eCommerce business.
This is the ‘brain’ of the operations, where every single detail matters to ensure superior customer experiences, inevitably causing increased conversions, revenue, and ROI.
With this in mind, business leaders in eCommerce are investigating every possible storefront solution to end the need for constant re-platforming or the costly interruptions to their operations due to system updates that affect the entire platform.
We collectively agree that these days, the mobile UX (user experience) is what makes or breaks an eCommerce business, right? If the UX or the UI is not super-fast, easy to navigate, and quick to make a sale, the only thing that will soar in the current market is the bounce rate.
Okay, now that we have that depressing fact aired, done, and dealt with - let’s get back to pairing you with the best eCommerce storefront solution that is sensible for your business.
Want more? Take a deep dive into the storefront meaning in eCommerce.
Top eCommerce storefront options: Monolith or headless?
Monolith storefronts: In a monolithic architecture, the frontend is included in a one-size-fits-all legacy eCommerce platform; the frontend and backend are tightly coupled.
Headless commerce with custom storefronts: In this approach, the eCommerce business uses a headless eCommerce platform, headless CMS and other third-party apps but opts to develop their headless storefront from scratch.
Headless commerce with Vue Storefront: This solution provides eCommerce developers with headless commerce solutions attached to a well-performant frontend layer composed of highly customizable pre-built UI components. This way they can skip building the frontend from scratch and focus entirely on customization.
Monolith legacy platforms: A modern-day eCommerce blocker?
“Twenty years ago, monoliths or fully custom builds were the only options for eCommerce and other technology systems, but the market demand for choice, flexibility, and innovation has taken hold. For eCommerce brands, an open API-driven approach is a powerful way to provide positive customer experiences and distinguish themselves from the competition. And in today’s highly competitive online retail environment, everyone could use more ways to set themselves apart from the crowd.”—Forbes Technology Council
Modern buyers use various touchpoints and devices to consume content, including IoT, mobile, and desktop. Statistics show that they are fast moving away from traditional web storefronts.
In a March 2020 Statista survey, compiled from 204 participating Heads of IT and CIOs, the above was their response when asked when they will adopt modern technologies.
As you can see from the survey results, adopting or re-platforming to headless eCommerce storefront solutions is the aim for most businesses today in their digital transformation strategies. Why is this the case?
Drawbacks of monolithic storefronts
Google’s Core Web Vitals update use page and image load times as primary ranking factors. Aging legacy systems can’t keep up with these demands for optimized performance—leading to poor SEO performance and lower conversion rates.
Consumer expectations for super-fast, personalized, and omnichannel experiences are hard to meet on monoliths with a pre-defined UX.
Time and cost-consuming updates to monoliths lead to slower time to market, negatively impacting revenue and ROI.
Maintenance takes up the dev team’s time that they can spend building modern features for users.
Companies still stuck on outdated legacy solutions are missing the benefits of headless solutions optimized for today’s user experience.
The modern omnichannel, performance-driven market move is causing companies using aging legacy solutions to fall behind. It is becoming harder for them to match the growing expectations of their consumers.
It also broadens the gap between them and their competitors, who have already adopted a headless eCommerce storefront approach.
Headless storefronts for modern eCommerce
Current eCommerce consumer trends demand top-quality user experiences relating to ease of use and speed—all perfectly presented in a complete omnichannel solution.
For eCommerce businesses to not only survive but thrive, they must adapt to modern technologies that meet the above criteria effortlessly: In walks headless commerce to the rescue!
Within the modern headless approach, you can take one of two routes:
- Build custom storefronts for your headless commerce
- Use an ‘out-of-the-box’ frontend, like Vue Storefront, to innovate at speed, and own your customer journey.
A headless eCommerce storefront offers your brand freedom of expression to build a tech stack of choice. It enables you to enrich the customer experience to your business needs level.
Custom-built storefronts for headless systems: A step in the right direction, or another business blocker?
Companies are stuck with outdated legacy solutions that are not optimized for today’s user expectations. Businesses know that moving to a headless environment is inevitable if they want to remain at the top of their game in a demanding market.
But, building new custom frontend experiences is very complex when you decide to move your business to a headless solution.
What to expect when building a complex custom headless storefront?
- More than 5,000 development hours
- At least US$ 400,000 in development costs
- About 8 months to go-to-market
- Excessive cost of ownership and slow ROI
So, even with all the excellent advantages that come with going headless, custom-built frontend technology can slow you down when you need to speed up to meet your customers’ expectations.
It’s not just innovating on UI/UX—your different teams have to worry about accessibility, scalability, performance, and regular maintenance tests. You have to orchestrate various services, such as your payment systems, CMS, eCommerce, search, and other third-party tools.
What is the solution?
The fastest-growing solution that caps all of the challenges from monolithic systems, or moving from monolith to headless eCommerce, can be done and dealt with using Vue Storefront – a frontend platform for headless commerce.
Let’s explore why we are so confident in making this claim.
Our comprehensive ecosystem of tools saves cost and reduce Time-to-Market
You'll save time and money while gaining flexibility and speed by embracing a headless architecture—but constructing a bespoke frontend from the ground up eliminates much of this value. This is where Vue Storefront can assist.
When you begin a storefront project in the build stage, you must do much of the same work repeatedly. Vue Storefront takes care of all of this for you. You'll start with a fully-functioning eCommerce theme: a comprehensive design system and user interface developed as Progressive Web Apps, with Server Side Rendering and nearly all of the code exposed—ready for scaling in any direction you choose to go.
Vue Storefront provides a complete ecosystem of tools you may use together or separately. They all tackle one of the difficulties you'll encounter when developing eCommerce shops.
Omnichannel capabilities that meet SEO requirements
Today’s consumers demand unlimited access to information, speed, and personalized offers. Using a storefront for headless eCommerce integrated with a modern headless CMS, you can meet these demands. This should topple all other priorities in your digital strategy with the current pressure to perform in the omnichannel eCommerce landscape.
Due to a lack of mobile-friendly eCommerce storefront solutions, most businesses experience a huge mobile revenue gap created by shoppers who browse on mobile devices but still have to shop on their desktops.
Vue Storefront follows a mobile-first approach to counter the above issue and help you close that revenue gap. With a strong emphasis on speed as a ranking factor after Google’s Core Web Vitals update, we ensure that our storefronts perform within those parameters set out in the CWV metrics. This is also a contributing factor to Vue Storefront’s superb SEO performance.
Increased revenue and ROI
Ready-built headless storefronts reduce the cost of ownership while increasing revenue
Looking at only one aspect of ROI, acceleration alone (at conservative hourly rates) will give you $500K in savings, equating to 8 months of development time. This excludes ongoing maintenance and performance optimization or conversion and revenue increases.
You can decrease your total cost of ownership while increasing your revenue with ready architecture, components, integration APIs, and a cloud platform with monitoring and analytics.
Collaborative API-First approach
Another noteworthy benefit is that it allows you to choose any best-of-breed eCommerce platform and other third-party apps you want, ensuring that you can implement all the functionality you need.
A massive driver of any successful API-First technology is a collaboration with other best-of-breed applications to construct your preferred tech stack. Vue Storefront values strong partnerships with eCommerce platforms, CMSs, payment service providers, headless search, and other 3-rd party integrations.
PWA business benefits
At its core, a PWA (Progressive Web App) uses the latest web capabilities to deliver a native app-like experience to users. It provides consistency between web and native apps and replaces both with a single instance.
Vue Storefront customers typically see a 20% revenue boost, so every day you don’t have a PWA is a day spent with 20% less revenue on your busiest customer touchpoint.
Vue Storefront: The last eCommerce storefront you will ever need
- Monolith storefronts are frontends included in a one-size-fits-all legacy eCommerce platform where the frontend and backend are tightly coupled.
- Custom storefronts for headless eCommerce is wherethe eCommerce business uses a headless CMS and other 3-rd party apps but opts to develop their headless storefront from scratch.
- Pre-built storefronts provide eCommerce developers with a well performant frontend layer composed of highly customizable pre-built UI components. This way they can skip building the frontend from scratch and focus entirely on customization.
No. Vue Storefront has ready architecture, components, integration APIs, and a cloud platform. Your dev team can focus only on customization and personalization of your user journeys.
Ready-built headless solutions, like Vue Storefront, offer your dev team a ready codebase on which they can further create personalized customer journeys and brand customizations. The primary saving with an OOTB (out-of-the-box) eCommerce storefront is development time and quicker ROI due to shorter Time-to-Market.