How a Headless eCommerce Platform & Headless CMS Work Together

October 29, 2019

Category: Best Practices

When it comes to the B2B industry, technology is changing. Not only is the industry realizing that antiquated business systems can’t support businesses as they grow and evolve, but that technology needs the ability to meet customer demands. 

B2B and B2C buyer preferences are converging. The user experience is more important than ever – with B2B buyers demanding easy to use, modern experiences. 

The demand for highly custom user experiences for everything from B2C to B2B to B2B2C to order management to private B2B marketplaces is one reason headless architecture is growing so rapidly in popularity.

If you’re not familiar with the term “headless,” headless architecture is where the front-end and back-end of a platform are de-coupled, separating the content presentation layer and the business logic/functional layer (Digital Commerce 360). 

For complex B2B businesses, headless eCommerce platforms, for example, allow them to take advantage of the sophisticated backend architecture and the robust feature set available through the eCommerce platform but allows them to create a unique front-end user experience that matches their distinctive needs.

For some companies, integrating their headless eCommerce platform (Four51 OrderCloud™) with a headless CMS gives them the capability to scale their ongoing content creation and content management needs.

We sat down with Rob Watt, senior developer at Four51, to talk about headless architecture and more specifically, how it’s helping Four51’s customer, Bachman’s, meet customer demands. 

Calley: What is headless architecture and what are some of its benefits?

Rob: Headless architecture refers to an application that has the user experience completely separated from the data management and data orchestration layer. This means that the user experience can be completely customized, and businesses are able to quickly roll out additional applications. The benefit of using headless architecture is that it allows businesses to use the business logic in a way that’s customized for that specific business – in a way that’s unique to the users’ needs. How the technology is used and what the user experience looks like is completely up to the business and the development team. 

Calley: Why would a business want to use a headless CMS?

Rob: One of Four51’s customers, Bachman’s, is a national floral retailer who relies heavily on website content to drive education and inspiration across their customer base. 

When we started working with Bachman’s, we realized very quickly that they had really custom pieces of content that they needed to manage. Having full control over how their content is presented on the user experience side was really important to Bachman’s. They had more robust content management needs than we have built into the OrderCloud platform, so we need to look for another best-of-breed content management system to integrate with.

The team at Four51 built their eCommerce experience on OrderCloud and used our API to integrate with Contentful, an API-first, headless Content Management System (CMS). 

Contentful is an example of a really flexible, headless content management system (CMS) – it comes with basic asset management that has completely custom content models for the different types of content you might have, like a blog post or a static page. These can be used to create a very custom user experience. 

We were able to take advantage of Contentful’s base application admin page to speed up the delivery, while still taking advantage of the custom content delivery. 

Calley: What are the benefits of integrating a headless eCommerce platform with a headless CMS?

Rob: There are many benefits of using headless eCommerce and CMS together. If you’re using one headless platform, it makes sense to continue along that path.  

Headless solutions generally come with very scalable pricing models – if you need to increase your usage or volume, you won’t hit a ceiling. Another benefit is that when headless platforms work together, they are extremely flexible; if you have new features or content requirements, it’s relatively easy to implement those changes without disrupting your user base. 


Headless architecture is allowing future-looking businesses to do more with their user experiences. Between headless, API-first eCommerce platforms allowing custom ordering experiences for your buyers and headless CMS powering custom content models for modern, powerful user experiences, B2B businesses can now meet evolving customer demands today and in the future.