What Is Frontend as a Service?
Kaya Ismail • 22 February 2023
Taking your eCommerce store headless is the way forward, but this is a big challenge without the right resources. If you’re looking to go headless without the hassle, then using a frontend as a service solution could be what you need.
Frontend as a Service (FEaaS) Explained
With headless commerce on the rise, the frontend of your webshop becomes even more important. Frontend as a service platforms enable eCommerce brands to build, test, and deliver engaging frontend experiences, faster, better, and more cost-efficient.
Gartner’s paper on composable commerce, Composable Commerce Must Be Adopted for the Future of Applications pointed out that given the high demand for better frontend experiences, businesses would turn to frontend as service vendors to assist them.
Frontend as a service handles all of the design and coding needs for eCommerce stores. Frontend as a service (FEaaS) platforms, follow the headless commerce principles, which means they are separated from the commerce backend, focusing exclusively on the frontend experience. Then, a commerce platform like Shopify and other necessary tools can be integrated using APIs.
The right frontend as a service solution gives eCommerce stores a tool for delivering a better shopping experience for their customers without requiring an army of developers to implement it.
How Does Frontend as a Service Work?
The traditional way of going headless is quite the journey. The entire frontend and connections to the backend and other microservices need to be built from scratch. It's a long process that requires months of heavy-duty development work and the necessary investment.
A frontend as a service platform has pre-built everything you need, from the API connections to the deployment architecture, which allows you to build shopping experiences in a matter of hours.
For example, a typical frontend experience for an eCommerce store may include a beautifully designed layout that features the colors of your brand, a chatbot that offers help to customers while they browse, a smart site search like Algolia for locating different products, the product detail page, and accompanying images and more. You can pull these content assets from anywhere with a frontend as a service solution and put them together to create the best overall experience.
With frontend as a service, brands don’t need to rely on a frontend developer to code everything from scratch and connect it. Nor do they need to rely on the rigid templates from their eCommerce platform. Instead, they can assemble everything for the frontend experience using a component-based approach and simplifying things for less technical team members.
What might this look like?
A frontend as a service solution like Instant Commerce enables you to build a headless storefront for your eCommerce store in a matter of days. And while Instant Commerce handles the frontend, you can integrate it with Shopify to manage the eCommerce functionality like managing inventory and processing orders.
Also, thanks to APIs, Instant Commerce can easily be integrated with a headless CMS like Storyblok to provide more flexibility with content management and other tools in the eCommerce stack like a CRM, PIM, or fulfillment software.
Why Frontend as a Service Matters
Frontend as a service will continue to grow in popularity, and there are a few reasons why:
Moving Away From Monolithic Architecture
Monolithic architecture and all-in-one suites were the most common way to launch eCommerce stores in the past. However, that was when eCommerce hadn’t grown to the behemoth it is today, and customers weren’t shopping on multiple devices. Now, businesses are moving towards headless to launch eCommerce stores on different channels.
Plus, companies are opting for microservices-based architecture to decouple the giant monoliths. With the need for increased freedom and flexibility, frontend as a service will be even more important in the future as they simplify moving away from the monolithic architecture.
High Demand and Cost For Frontend Skills
Headless commerce requires businesses to build the frontend for their eCommerce store from scratch. As a result, frontend skills are in high demand. There’s massive competition for the best frontend talent, and the costs can add up for companies that don’t have the same resources as larger organizations.
Challenges Going Headless
Headless commerce is clearly necessary for the future of commerce, but not every company can manage it independently or has the resources for internal developer teams or an outside development agency. These are just some of the challenges that await businesses trying to take their eCommerce stores headless.
Frontend as a service can enable organizations to overcome the difficulties of going headless and still allow them to reap the benefits.
Making Headless More Accessible
Many eCommerce brands want to go headless but can't because of the difficulties and costs involved. Frontend as a service makes the headless revolution more accessible as things like DevOps, middleware hosting, and content delivery networks (CDNs) are taken care of by the frontend as a service provider.
What are the benefits of frontend as a service?
If you’re still unsure whether or not you should consider a frontend as a service solution, here are a few benefits for your store.
Go Headless at a Fraction of the Cost
Removing many of the barriers to going headless such as upfront costs, makes it much easier to go headless and start delivering a superior online shopping experience to any device.
Launch Fast With a Fast Time to Market When Live
One of the drawbacks of monolithic commerce systems is that it can be slow to launch a new store. Frontend as a service enables you to launch a new store quickly by handling all of the frontend experience requirements. It also means that you can get new products to market faster when your store is live.
Remove Developer Dependencies
To implement headless commerce, you need excellent developer support. However, this can make your marketing teams and overall store dependent on developers to handle almost everything. Frontend as a service removes those dependencies and enables less technical users to manage the frontend experience independently.
Improved Site Speed and Conversions
Frontend as a service enables you to improve the site speed for your eCommerce store. Without the backend interface tightly coupled to the frontend, the site can load much faster in the browser (or on any other device). Faster loading times mean better performance, which can clearly impact conversion rates for your store.
A website that loads just two seconds faster could mean a 1% increase in conversion rate. Over the course of a year, this can mean thousands or millions of dollars in revenue for an eCommerce store.
Future-proof Your Business
Technology moves fast and new tools and channels are constantly being added. Frontend as a service allows you to integrate with any tool you like and even switch out tools within your tech stack. If any existing software isn’t a fit for your business then you can easily add others thanks to the API-first nature of frontend as a service solution.
How to get started today?
Frontend as a service can help your business go headless and embrace new concepts like composable commerce that allow you to serve your customers better and be more efficient overall.
Instant Commerce is a storefront builder that enables you to create a headless storefront in a matter of days with our pre-built building blocks. Our client Studio Noos, increased time to market by 5X and increased conversion with 34% thanks to our platform. Read the full customer story here.
While we handle the frontend, you can connect an eCommerce platform like Shopify to manage inventory, order processing, and more within seconds using APIs. These APIs also enable you to connect a headless CMS platform like Storyblok to enhance your content management.
Ready to adopt frontend as a service and take your eCommerce store headless? Read our guide on Headless commerce with Shopify.
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