Creating the Perfect Tech Stack for Your Headless Build

  • Headless
  • March 10, 2022
  • by Freyja Wedderkop

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons to opt for a headless architecture is that you can employ a “best of breed” technology strategy. By harnessing the power and agility of APIs, headless websites allow you to create a tech stack that’s unique to, and perfect for, your business. Let’s explore some top tech stack picks.

LoyaltyLion

LoyaltyLion is a market-leading, data-driven loyalty and engagement platform powering e-commerce growth. They help over 10,000 e-commerce merchants worldwide create long-lasting customer relationships via fully customized loyalty programs. Through a unique combination of points, rewards and tiers, LoyaltyLion motivates repeat purchases, thus increasing customer lifetime value.

How it works…

At the heart of headless commerce is flexibility. LoyaltyLion’s loyalty programs are fully customizable so you can create a loyalty experience that meets your needs and exceeds your customers’ expectations.

Their Integrated ‘Loyalty Page’ means you can create an interactive, on-brand loyalty page for your headless store. The customizable components (such as iconography, format and colors) can be fully edited to match your branding. Plus, elements on the page are clickable, meaning customers can complete actions (like referring friends) without navigating elsewhere. You can also use the Integrated Loyalty Page to signpost the program across the customer journey, e.g. in your store’s main navigation, the footer or on product pages.

LoyaltyLion’s platform flexibility means you can embed loyalty program components throughout the customer journey; improving shoppers’ experience and encouraging them to engage with the perks of your program. For example, you can remind customers of the points they’ve earned and rewards they can redeem at the check-out with LoyaltyLion’s Points Slider feature, boosting engagement. Redeeming loyalty program members have a 164% higher annual spend than non-redeeming customers.

What it costs… 

Trusted by thousands of fast-growth e-commerce merchants worldwide, LoyaltyLion is designed to grow with your store. Their pricing is based on your monthly order numbers, so you never end up paying for members that don't use your customer loyalty program. Get more information on pricing here. 

Integrates well with…

LoyaltyLion’s tech currently has strong integrations with categories such as:

Their integrations often harmonize with the wider tech stack in several ways, including:

1. Syncing loyalty properties and events to platforms, for personalization and segmentation purposes.

2. Receiving customer activities and awarding points to customers.

3. Passing rewards data for custom rewards, via a webhook.

As LoyaltyLion integrates directly with their technology partners, functionality is usually not affected with headless set-ups. However, headless implementations may need to consider front-end implementation. Once their JavaScript has been initialized, partners can use their software development kit (SDK) to easily embed loyalty UI components on-site.

Klevu

In a nutshell, Klevu’s product discovery technology connects people to products they want to buy. As a result, this boosts traffic, conversion and loyalty for e-commerce websites, while reducing bounce rates. 

Providing innovative solutions including smart search, smart category merchandising, smart recommendations and a product discovery suite, it’s no wonder that Klevu is loved by over 3,000 retailers worldwide. 

How it works…

Klevu’s AI identifies trending products and personalizes the session for shoppers, automatically boosting relevant products accordingly on search overlays and search results pages. If used in tandem with Klevu Smart Category Merchandising, category pages listing products can also be personalized to each shopper.

Going hand-in-hand with the headless approach to content and customer experience, there’s a growing desire to build out highly customized commerce service stacks, cherry-picking best-in-class solutions that are tailored to the unique needs of each business. Klevu Search was developed with this in mind — highly customizable and offering a full programming toolset, with well-documented APIs available.

What it costs… 

Klevu splits their pricing into three bundles: 

  1. Premium

  2. Premium+

  3. Enterprise

These bundles progressively include more features from the following product categories: 

  • Discovery Suite Solutions

  • Klevu AI

  • Klevu BI (analytics and insights)

  • Delivery

  • e-Commerce Platforms and Integration

  • Support & Services

Discover which bundle would work best for you.

Integrates well with…

Klevu’s tech is easy to configure, optimize and maintain, and fully integrates with major e-commerce platforms in just hours, including:

And, with a list of partners as long as their list of clients, Klevu implements strategic guidance and insights to help merchants all over the world to build a better shopping experience for their customers. 

What Klevu has to say...

At Klevu in 2022 we are committed to amazing developer experience. This includes polishing our APIs, developing a truly usable headless experience, and committing to enabling the developers and solutions integrators that use Klevu to build unparalleled customer experiences for their clients. We have invested heavily into developer experience and enablement, so watch this space.

Claudia Ditri
Head of Partnerships EMEA, Klevu

Yotpo

Yotpo’s e-commerce marketing platform offers the most advanced solutions for customer reviews, visual marketing, loyalty, referrals and SMS marketing. Their philosophy is that great brands are built on happy customers, and - featuring the likes of MoroccanOil, Steve Madden and GoPro, to name a few - their client portfolio would seem to back this up. 

How it works…

Yotpo continuously invests in their product stack, which fully supports headless builds. Although it requires custom integration, you get exactly the same Yotpo functionality and experience as you would with a monolithic build. There are at least a few hundred Yotpo clients to prove this, who’ve integrated various Yotpo products with their headless setup.

What it costs… 

Yotpo is designed to grow with your store and customer base - from new brands that are just starting to really drive revenue, right the way up to enterprise brands - and this is reflected in their pricing plans. Take a closer look, here.

Integrates well with…

Pretty much everything! Yotpo integrates with the majority of the Shopify ecosystem and has an open API for anything they haven't built an integration with yet. So, you can rest assured that whatever your setup, you’re in good hands.

Some of the most popular integrations include Google, Klaviyo and Mailchimp (email marketing) and Gorgias and Zendesk (helpdesk and CRM). Check out their full list of integrations here.

Nacelle

Nacelle is a data orchestration platform. Their mission is to connect your commerce systems to deliver PWA storefronts for faster, bespoke experiences that accelerate growth. Whether you’re a merchant, developer or agency, Nacelle allows you to go headless without replatforming or incurring the technical debt and high-maintenance costs associated with building your own infrastructure.

How it works…

By indexing data into a single API, Nacelle enables simplified access and rapid deployment to your storefront built on the tools of your choice. Data orchestration as part of the modern commerce stack gives brands the flexibility to swap out platforms and choose which tools provide the best customer experience, which has been instrumental to the growth of many Nacelle’s customers.

What it costs… 

Based on overall size of the site and traffic and starts at $5,000 per month.

Integrates well with…

Nacelle is compatible with over 30 of the most popular e-commerce technologies and easily integrates with new systems through APIs, to keep up with your evolving needs. 

Some of their most popular integrations include:

  • Shopify

  • Contentful

  • Sanity

  • Vercel

  • Netlify

What Nacelle has to say...

Disruptive brands are adopting headless to accelerate their site performance and their overall pace of innovation. They are seeing immediate ROI by improving conversion rates with lighting fast page loads. They are delivering on unique shopping experiences that are virtually impossible to do without the components of the modern commerce stack. Take Ilia Beauty as an example, they were able to improve page loads and build out their “Find My Shade”  app thanks to headless commerce.

Ron Pereira
SVP of Product Marketing, Nacelle

Nosto 

In their own words, “Nosto was born out of one idea: that every shopping experience can, and should, be personal.” As the world’s leading e-commerce personalization platform, Nosto makes it easy to quickly deploy fully personalized, integrated e-commerce experiences.

How it works…

Nosto’s Session API allows headless merchants to implement the full suite of their Commerce Experience Platform. It’s important to note that headless merchants will also need to implement the regular Nosto tagging, and use the Product API that’s consistent across all implementations. For retailers building native experiences on mobile, they can leverage the same GraphQL endpoints to deliver personalization.

By providing the Session API, the GraphQL API, and relevant tech documentation, Nosto empowers headless merchants to unlock the full potential of the platform. You’ll have full control on how you want to interact with Nosto, resulting in more flexibility with the features’ usage and more creativity in terms of designs, by dissolving regular limitations. 

As we know, the explosive growth in headless implementations has bought forward many new vendors to the landscape. Nosto's APIs provide unparalleled flexibility in integrating with other vendors on the headless stack. 

Nosto is a complete suite of data-fueled personalization and merchandising solutions. Using their technology on a headless store will enable merchants to deliver a highly relevant, hyper-personalized and super smooth shopping experience with a fast-loading, native app feel.

What it costs… 

Nosto’s Commerce Experience Platform offers two leading solutions: Personalization and User-Generated Content (UGC). Both are based on a modular and consumption pricing approach, where a merchant can pick between an annual online revenue-based model, or a pageviews model. Concretely, for both solutions, merchants access a core and can build upon this with additional modules and professional services they want.

Integrates well with…

Nosto integrates with multiple tech providers: from e-commerce platforms to email system providers and reviews platforms. These out-of-the-box integrations allow their clients to easily deliver consistent customer experiences across a range of touchpoints.

Nosto also has an exhaustive set of APIs that allow you to integrate disparate systems and build seamless personalized shopping experiences—for web and mobile.

What Nosto has to say...

We believe that, while headless has certainly become a standard in the industry, it’s not something every business should look to adopt; the higher build and maintenance costs headless demands in exchange for the benefits it provides, requires good business justification. 

Right now, there’s a breadth of headless technologies and solutions out there with varied levels of maturity, but we expect to see this list condense and the winners prevail. We also expect to see greater adoption of headless—at least in the near future—as such technologies and solutions mature and become more accessible.

Tuukka Häkkinen
Global Head of Product at Nosto

Shogun 

Shogun Frontend is a merchant-focused headless frontend platform. It helps leading brands unlock growth with outstanding site speed and elevated visual merchandising. So much so, that big names like Nomad, TULA Skincare, Stikwood, Daring Foods, and OneBlade have discovered Shogun's platform approach - allowing them to focus on revenue-driving activities rather than complex tech and overheads.

How it works…

While you’ll continue to use your Shopify backend for PIM, logistics, compliance, billing, and so on, Shogun Frontend becomes the ‘head’ or presentation layer on top of these backends. This means you get a headless frontend layer, and all the design flexibility and performance this comes with. With its underlying Progressive Web App (PWA) technology, Shogun Frontend helps you deliver sub-second load times, converting browsers to customers.

What it costs… 

Costs start at $2000 per month/ annual contract.

Integrates well with…

Gorgias to Growave. Klarna to Klaviyo. Shogun Frontend integrates with your favorite e-commerce services and connects with an ever-growing network of technology partners. Check out their full list of integrations, here.

Recharge

Recharge is built on an API-first e-Commerce backend, which gives developers the freedom to craft unique customer experiences around recurring transaction workflows. In combination with their powerful webhook infrastructure, their platform agnostic API can support fully headless implementations on any front-end.

For merchants who wish to journey towards headless implementation one step at a time, Recharge also offers hosted customizable components like checkout and a self-serve customer portal. These components can speed up a store launch while allowing developers to optimize the frontend at their own pace.

Finally, Recharge is constantly improving upon out-of-the-box integrations with e-commerce platforms (Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento etc.) and leading e-commerce software providers so that early-stage entrepreneurs can also compose their own tech stack with ease. Thousands of merchants and developers trust the Recharge API for their customizations. In addition to their technology, Recharge is also committed to continuously innovating their tools and documentation for their developer community.

Cost

Recharge offers two payment plans: Standard and Pro.

Standard provides a quick and reliable way to launch subscriptions from your store. There are no monthly fees, but they’ll take 1% +10¢ per transaction. 

Pro allows you to unleash the full potential of your store with actionable insights and advanced customizations. It costs $300/mo, and Recharge will take 1% + 19¢ per transaction.

Take a closer look.

Integrates well with…

Recharge integrates with over 40 third-party integration partners. These include top e-commerce software providers in the following categories: 

  • Store design

  • Personalization

  • Loyalty referral affiliates

  • Marketing and retention

  • Subscription management (tax, fraud, analytics, data warehouse etc.)

  • Shipping and fulfillment

  • Customer service

  • Enterprise solutions

Recharge also offers several payment processor integrations like Authorize.net, Stripe, Shopify Payments, Braintree and Paypal. Finally, they offer out-of-the-box integrations with e-commerce platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce.

For headless implementation, Recharge offers a platform agnostic API. A merchant can use their API as flexibly as they need in order to scale. Whether you’re building a headless checkout on Shopify or a fully headless store on Magento, Recharge’s API can support you.

What Recharge has to say...

I believe that headless or composable commerce is definitely the long-term future of where e-commerce technology stacks are headed. We see a lot of customers demanding more customizable tools and better interoperability between vendors. Our customers are also rapidly increasing their level of technical sophistication to be able to build custom solutions for some problems that current out-of-box solutions don’t easily address today. But I think this will be a journey. 

For the vast majority of today’s entrepreneurs, platforms like Shopify are still the best place to go to build and scale your e-commerce business. It provides most, if not all, of the necessary tooling and expertise you need to get started at a very approachable price point. It also takes so much of the leg work out of figuring out things like inventory, logistics, distribution, website building, and more. That is a very compelling value that is difficult to ignore if you’re a small business.

Ruoting Sun
VP, Product Marketing

Littledata

Littledata's Shopify to Google Analytics connection works with headless setups to capture enhanced e-commerce events and ensure a complete data match between Shopify and Google Analytics, as well as those who use Segment's CDP. 

How it works…

Whether you have a basic headless Shopify setup or something more complex, Littledata uses server-side tracking for accurate sales data and marketing attribution. This covers:

  • Order events

  • Checkout events

  • Subscription lifecycle events

  • Marketing attribution

What it costs… 

Littledata offers four pricing plans:

  • Standard: $99/mo (1,500 orders per month)

  • Pro: $199/mo (6,000 orders per month)

  • Grow: $399/mo (12,000 orders per month)

  • Littledata Plus: Custom (Unlimited orders per month)

Each plan encompasses different features, depending on what you need. Read more about their pricing here.

Integrates well with…

Littledata boasts plenty of both e-commerce (e.g. ShopPay, Nacelle and PayPal) and in-app (e.g. Recharge, Bold and Shopify Plus) integrations. So, whatever you want to optimize on your headless website - be it first-time and recurring payments, complete marketing attribution, subscription lifecycle events and more - you can rest assured there’s the perfect integration for the job. 

What Littledata has to say...

We find that the most effective e-commerce managers focus not on huge amounts of data, but on the most important metrics for their particular business. This is especially true for headless sites, where brands that capture data about every customer touchpoint and link it all together are then able to hone in on essential KPIs for long-term growth targets: for example, LTV by channel for different types of subscription boxes.

Ari Messer
Co-Founder & VP Marketing, Littledata

Choosing the right tech stack for your headless site

In order to choose the right tech stack for your headless site, you have to determine which aspects of the user experience are most important to your target audience. Perhaps your brand prides itself on giving customers a VIP experience, and would work well with a loyalty program? Or maybe you’re selling in a highly competitive market, and your conversion rates rely heavily on showcasing reviews? It may sound simple, but you should always prioritize the things that will make the biggest difference to your bottom line. 

When you have those priority elements of your tech stack in place, list which other elements you’ll need and do some research to see which providers integrate well with your existing tech stack, to create the ultimate, personalized customer experience. 

Need some help determining your top tech stack? Get in touch.


Authors

Freyja Wedderkop

Freyja joined We Make Websites in 2021 and brought over two years of B2B marketing experience with her. She has an MSc in Marketing and specializes in digital marketing, social media and content marketing. She also has a passion for design, events and, outside of marketing, loves cooking up a storm.


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