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Why the Grass Isn't Always Greener When You Replatform to Headless

August 19th, 2022 | 7 min. read

Why the Grass Isn't Always Greener When You Replatform to Headless Blog Feature

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We’ve all been there. You take a look at your competition and wonder, how are they doing it? How many developers do they have? Why can’t you have a site like theirs? Then comes the mindset of “If only…” If only I had the time and funding. If only I could go headless and create the ultimate tech stack. Then all of your business and conversion rate dreams would come true, right?  

It’s easy to think technology like headless can solve all of your problems. Yes, headless does deliver a lot of great benefits like more personalized content, more engaging user experience, and faster cycle times so you can achieve your revenue goals. But the transition to headless is a huge investment in time and resources. And it’s not for everyone.  

Here’s the truth. The average enterprise spends 3 to 5 years completing a migration to headless commerce. Are you prepared for all the challenges of a headless migration? Don’t worry, that’s why we created a resource for you to learn more about the biggest pitfalls of a headless migration and how to avoid them. Download it now. 


So why isn’t the grass greener in the headless landscape? Here are the top challenges most companies face:  


1. It takes too much time.

Headless implementations involve breaking the frontend of your site from the backend in your existing content management system (CMS). That process takes a very long time. And you won’t see benefits to your site performance until your migration is finished and the two parts are reconnected.  

It’s not easy to tackle an enormous project that requires parallel work and resources. In fact, most organizations find it impossible to take on a headless migration with their existing development department. So, they either have to scale up and hire specialized developers or add freelance resources. Another option is to hire an external development agency.  

But it’s not just about a backend resource strategy. You also need a frontend resource strategy. Companies tend to tackle the frontend in one of two ways. Either by using templatized visuals that deliver speed but less-than-stellar visual content. Or through custom optimized templates, which deliver great content but are laborious. With both approaches, rapid iteration is still difficult. And both take more time and budget than companies want.  

There is another approach to getting your website up to speed in a matter of days, not years – pick a frontend system that doesn’t require time-consuming replatforming. There are frontend systems that require you to wait until your entire site is done before you can go live. And then there are dedicated frontend composition platforms that don’t require you to change the underlying code. These platforms are rapidly changing the game for ecommerce companies. And some of those cool sites you are drooling over and wondering how they did it? This is how! 


2.  It costs too much money. 

Many organizations don’t think about all the investments or changes that are needed in all parts of their tech stack. Sure, people think about decoupling the frontend and backend layers, but there’s so much more to think through. Start mapping out a comprehensive audit of your current tech stack and you’ll quickly see all the parts you need to take into consideration and change for the future. Every want and need adds up to a very large budget: 

$ I want new functionality 

$ I want my new tech stack to scale for new areas of business 

$ I want my customers to have more speed, flexibility, or access 

$ I want to add new customer touchpoints and channels  

$ I need to add resources to build and maintain my new site 

$ I need to change my site security 

$ I need to update my data asset management 

That list and budget amount will only grow when you consider all the different teams that your site will impact and you add their desires in, too. How big is your wallet? 

What are the most important questions you should ask if you are considering headless. We go even further in depth in our new ebook:  The 5 biggest pitfalls with a headless migration (and how to avoid them). Download your copy here. 


3. It involves too many people. 

One of the biggest challenges with a headless migration is that it impacts all ecommerce-related teams. There needs to be alignment between marketing, brand/creative leads, business, communication, technical teams, and more. And you need to collaborate right from the start, so there aren’t disagreements or unrealistic expectations that arise later. Otherwise, you could do all the work just to learn the site doesn’t meet a team’s needs after it’s finished. And then have to invest in additional technology and spend even more time. 

Imagine all the different teams that need to agree on goals, business impacts, and timelines. Think of all your stakeholders you need to include. Think of all the clear communication needed: timelines for each stage in the process to metrics for evaluating success, and even basic goals. Everyone on the team needs to know and understand why transitioning to headless is so critical for business because a united team is the only way to make headless happen.  

And think about the reality of that endeavor: for some, it’s one colossal communication and collaboration nightmare.  


Don’t run away screaming yet. 

If you’re thinking headless will make you lose your head. This section is for you. There is another approach that allows you to skip the time-consuming reformatting and get your website up to speed in a matter of days, not years – dedicated frontend headless platforms like Creator Frontend. Creator Frontend helps companies like yours avoid the migration hassle and create immersive digital experiences without the need for any IT involvement. Sound interesting? Talk to one of our experts so you can ask some questions and see a demo. We love to chat tech and green web lawns. 

While this blog gave you some high-level insight on the reasons the grass is not always greener when going headless, don’t forget to download our e-book to get the full scoop: The 5 biggest pitfalls with a headless migration (and how to avoid them.)