Headless commerce trends include the shift toward microservices, expanding sales service experiences, and the utilization of hybrid CMS systems. Each is detailed below along with an overview of headless commerce solution competitors outlined in a recent TechCrunch article.
- The shift away from monolithic, legacy platforms facilitates the adoption of microservices. These are small, self-contained applications that are normally API-driven and developed independently of other services and applications. Microservices make omnichannel marketing and sales more practical to execute. This is primarily due to the fact that the external development of tools allows the organization’s IT team to focus less on forcing innovation internally.
- A second trend brought about by headless commerce and picking up steam is the enabling of sale experiences in more situations and locations than simply web and mobile storefronts. Nowhere is this more evident than the expansion of commerce to the Internet of Things and voice-enabled assistants. The trend is being embraced both in B2C and B2B use cases.
- The Senior Analyst of Forrester, Mark Grannan, identified a point of caution and an emerging trend. He stated that most people would expect headless commerce would lead to less developer interaction. However, the reality is that hybrid CMS systems (WordPress, Drupal, and the like) are more important in the future because pure-play headless systems come up short in execution whereas a hybrid CMS offers a complete solution in providing the best user experience.
Breakdown of Headless Commerce Competitors
The following headless commerce competitors as mentioned in this TechCrunch article have been broken down below to provide an overview of their organization.
- Shopify has 83 current team members with nine board members. The company employs over 5000 persons, growing from 632 employees in 2014.
- The company claims to power over 1,000,000 businesses worldwide. As of 2018, Shopify had 5,300 enterprise accounts which include customers such as Unilever, Kylie Cosmetics, Allbirds, and MVMT.
- Shopify utilizes a tiered pricing model starting at $29/month for a basic store and progressing to the advanced store tier at $299/month. Purchasing higher levels of stores allows for the business to pay less in payment processing fees and providers larger shipping rate discounts. Also offered is a stripped-back light version for $9/month and Shopify Plus, an enterprise-level plan for high-volume transactions.
- The company’s core business model for generating revenue is subscription-based. Additional merchant services (financing, shipping, and POS) are offered to supplement the main feature set.
- Shopify has received $122.3 million in funding from seven investors throughout four funding rounds.
- The organization is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada with an additional 12 physical locations globally.
- Announced in 2020, Shopify has partnered with Walmart to enhance the Walmart.com marketplace. Shopify also partners with freelancers and developers across the world to promote the platform and push it forward technologically.
- There are currently 152,387 websites running live versions of BigCommerce. The United States hosts the largest number of implementations, followed by Australia and the United Kingdom. One paid report states that there are 2,028 companies currently utilizing BigCommerce with over 26,000 contacts available in their database. Key customers include Skullcandy, Cordova Outdoors, and Toolsaver.
- The company is not as up-front about pricing as Shopify and pushes potential customers toward submitting contact information in exchange for a quote. However, third-party resources reveal that BigCommerce does offer a tiered pricing structure. Plans start at the basic level for $29.95/month and progressively move toward pro version at $249.95/month. Enterprise pricing is bespoke and based on each business’s needs.
- BigCommerce functions as a software as a service (SaaS) product and charges a monthly subscription fee. In contrast with many of its competitors, BigCommerce does not charge transaction fees on any plan.
- BigCommerce has received $224.2 million in funding over seven rounds with 11 investors in total, including Goldman Sachs.
- The headquarters of BigCommerce is located in Austin, Texas, US. There are an additional five offices located around the world.
- BigCommerce aligned itself with Facebook in August 2020 in order to enable checkout solutions on Facebook’s Instagram social network. The organization also partners with numerous technology developers and design agencies. The company is also partnered with e-Spirit, the maker of FirstSpirit Digital Experience Platform.
- Commercetools is a private company employing between 101 and 250 individuals. The company was named a leader in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce.
- Key customers include Audi, Bang & Olufsen, EXPRESS, and Yamaha.
- Commercetools does not make its pricing available and appears to be rather secretive. The website Elasticpath even stated: “To be completely frank, there are no signs of Commercetools’ pricing anywhere!” Based on customer feedback, what is known that is that the implementation costs run from $300,000 — $1 million, license fees range between $200,000/year — $500,000/year, and specialized resources cost $150,000/year.
- The company works within a standardized and rigid structure with annual pricing being between $200,000 and $500,000.
- Commercetools has two lead investors and over four funding rounds has raised $167.7 million.
- The organization’s headquarters are in Munchen, Bavaria.
- e-Spirit has partnered with Commercetools in order to enable the rapid delivery of content-driven commerce experiences. The global eCommerce consultancy Wunderman Thompson Commerce partnered with Commercetools in 2018. Commercetools also partnered with Coveo, the industry leader in search and intelligence SaaS solutions, in 2020.
- Ecwid is a private company that employs between 101 and 250 people. Its merchants have earned over $4 billion in revenue. It currently serves 175 countries in 50 languages.
- The company did not provide a year-in-review synopsis of 2019 as they did in 2018. In 2016, Ecwid had more than 1 million users. The official about page for Ecwid states the company has over 200,000 merchants. Customers include Amnesty International and Sharks Palermo.
- Ecwid’s pricing model is tier-based starting with a free plan and progressively working up to an “unlimited” plan billed at $99/month. Ecwid’s pricing is much higher outside the US and as an example, the prices in the UK are 23% higher than those in the US.
- The business model adopted by Ecwid involves a subscription service that introduces limits on products and categories that can be created and pushes users toward higher tiers as their business grows.
- The company has currently been through three funding rounds and has raised a total of $48.5 million.
- Ecwid has two physical locations, one in Ulyanovsk, Russia, and the other in Encinitas, California.
- In June 2020, Ecwid partnered with Mailchimp to provide extended email marketing tool functionality to small businesses.
- The company is private and currently employs 13 full-time employees with one remote worker in San Francisco.
- Delivery Hero is a key customer of Strapi. The organization doesn’t appear to have made known the number of customers/users of the technology.
- Strapi provides a tiered-pricing structure starting for a “forever free” tier, progressing to a Silver-tier that is $299/month, and finally the Gold tier that requires contacting the company for a quote.
- Strapi aims to serve businesses of all sizes, from freelancers to enterprise. The main project is 100% open source and as such Strapi offers SaaS hosting and enterprise features for customers as part of its business models.
- Seven investors, including Index Ventures, have funded Strapi with $14 million over three funding rounds.
- Strapi is headquartered in Paris, France, and has an office in San Francisco.
- Freshcells, Simform, and AE Studio are all key partners of Strapi.
- Shogun is a private company employing 64 people. It is currently operating in 21 countries.
- Currently, Shogun has 10,000 paying customers. Key customers include Rumpl, Leesa, and The Ridge.
- Shogun features a tier-based pricing model for integration with Shopify starting with the most basic at $39/month and progressing to $149/month. The frontend service requires contacting the company to request a demo.
- Shogun’s business model includes a subscription service billed monthly after a free 10-day trial. Enterprise options are available at custom pricing.
- With a total of five investors, Shogun has raised $12.1 million over three rounds of funding.
- The company is located in San Francisco, California.
- No partnerships with Shogun were located despite a search of press releases, Shogun’s official blog and press page, and Crunchbase’s news articles section.
6. Commerce Layer
- Commerce Layer is a private company employing between one and ten people.
- Key customers include Uashmama, Damiani, Richard Ginori, Chilly’s, and Au Depart.
- The pricing model utilized includes a free developer account and then a fixed price based upon the business’s needs. The following image is a draft of a pricing model that was published in November 2020.
- The business model features a large focus on enterprise-level business with large volumes of transactions. Despite this focus, startups can still utilize the service and grow.
- The company has been through one round of funding for a total of $6 million raised.
- Commerce Layer is located in Italy. An office is located in Wilmington, DE.
- Research across Commerce Layer’s official website and blog, Crunchbase’s news section, Commerce Layer’s official social media feeds, and press releases reveal no current partnerships.