Demystifying the world of Headless Commerce by unpacking the who, what, how and why with agency and tech leaders…

Marcin Nogal, co-founder and Design Lead at Shopstory 🔥 - a visual builder for Headless eCommerce. It empowers product teams to build new content pages in hours, not weeks.

Prior to founding Shopstory, Marcin led an eCommerce agency 
Commerce-UI. He has over 10 years of experience in the DTC, helping brands like Oura Ring, Rolex or Liftfoils shape their digital presence.

How would you describe Headless to an alien?
Headless is a way to separate the visual layer (how your eCommerce looks) from the eCommerce backoffice (managing products, stock, prices, orders etc.). By doing this you open up for modern web technologies used by companies like NikeTiffany or Warby Parker.

What are the top three pain points Headless solves for a brand?
Limited visual flexibility, performance issues (my website is slow) and inability to move fast (I can’t keep up with my competition).

When is a good time for a brand to consider a move to Headless?
From our experience, it used to be $2M+ ARR, but with new tools (like Shopify’s Hydrogen + Oxygen) the barrier of entrance is getting lower every month. Soon it’ll be as simple as building a liquid Shopify (or even simpler) store and for any ambitious brand it’ll be a new default.

How does your agency or tech fit into the Headless ecosystem?
We came from the software development world, where technologies like React or next.js (used in Headless) are already an obvious choice. It’s what all big brands like Netflix, Ikea or Nike use. Going headless was foundational for us, even though it wasn’t an obvious path a couple of years ago. With Shopify’s rollout of Hydrogen and their investment in headless CMS Sanity we have no doubt that it was the right choice.

What’s your go-to Headless stack?
Reactnext.jsShopify Plus, Sanity + Vercel/Netlify.

Any final thoughts?
We think the term Headless is unnecessarily complex and focuses too much on technical aspects, whereas problems it solves are familiar for any eCommerce brand today. There is some movement around coining a new term “composable commerce”, which seems to be more accessible for non-technical people.


A round-up of the most interesting DTC (and beyond) news from the past two weeks…

Candy Bar Billionaires
OK, so they’re not really candy bars but Clif Bar have been bought by Mondelez International for £2.4bn. Given the founders rescinded an offer of $120 million from Quaker Oats a couple of decades ago, it’s not a bad outcome. Also, as a cyclist I can confirm they are delicious - especially after 123km in the saddle.

In other funding news, Whatsapp chat tech 
Charles raised a $20m Series A, reviews platform Okendo raised a $26m Series A and finally eComm agency The Stable have been acquired by Accenture. Although these deals would have been in the works many moons ago, and we may not know the full details on any due diligence devaluation, it’s nice to see some funding success stories right now 🚀

Shopify + Youtube
YouTube announced a raft of new shopping experiences for creators and merchants. One that is particularly relevant to this newsletter is their partnership with Shopify to allow creators and merchants to feature their products on their channels. Eligible creators can now link their Shopify store to their YouTube channel, display their products and leverage Shopify’s real-time inventory syncing.

This is a very interesting move and I wonder how much it speaks to Youtube and Shopify wanting to create more seamless live shopping experiences, or is it that they are collectively shit scared of TikTok? Regardless. Good for brands. Good for creators. Good for consumers 👍

And finally…

Bolt Dodged A Bullet
Authentic Brands Group (owner of Forever 21) has dismissed their lawsuit against checkout startup, Bolt. In doing so, ABG have also decided to continue their partnership and invest in the company. This is a massive U-turn from 
their claim of $150m lost in sales that led to the lawsuit.

This one has me 100% befuddled. For one, the news of the U-turn and subsequent investment in Bolt got very little airtime. And secondly, if the relationship between the two companies was so bad that they ended up in court - I’m struggling to see how their new partnership will work? I appreciate there will be an airtight shareholder agreement, but this doesn’t account for the loss in trust, right? Curious to see how this plays out 🤔


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