Heads & Digital Storefronts

What is a head?

Commerce heads can be defined as a front-end shopping experience.

What is headless?

Headless architecture is defined as decoupling the front end from the back end.

Why do that?

The value of headless is generally twofold:

  1. Because of the decoupling, the latest technology can be used to craft the head's shopping experience. This often results in more flexibility, better front-end velocity for front-end updates and changes, and a significantly improved shopper UX.
  2. Because of this decoupling, a multi-head strategy can be used. This lets merchants build not just popular PWA's, but also many other heads like native apps, "endless aisle" in-store solutions, and internet of things applications.

What head(less) problems does Nacelle solve?

Today's popular monolithic commerce platforms were not designed with composable and headless in mind. Therefore, rate limits, data inconsistency, difficult-to-use APIs, nonexistent webhooks, and bad performance can all plague these systems.

When Nacelle ingests and normalizes data from these systems, it removes the complexity of working with old Monolithics in a modern composable headless stack. Instead of the headaches, front-end engineers get an easy-to-use, convenient, and performant GraphQL API. We also ship and maintain a JavaScript SDK and several reference accelerators for popular JavaScript meta frameworks like Next and Nuxt.

Today's shopper interacts with brands in many ways, so the real value of headless is, ironically, the concept of many heads.

If the logic for ingesting, transforming, and fusing content and commerce data is executed in the front end, many burdens are placed on the front-end developer, who is forced to deal with distributed data issues. Further, that logic and code will have to be repeated in many heads, which breaks the golden engineering principle of "don't repeat yourself" or DRY.

Nacelle relieves this burden by delivering a clean GraphQL API to the front-end engineer crafting the shopping heads for a merchant. It also ensures that the Canonical Commerce Data Model is enforced, which means best practices will be followed, and things won't go off the rails regarding your data structures.


While any front-end framework of the merchant's choice can be used to craft the head's front-end experience, front-end technology moves faster than back-end technology advances.

To keep up, we noticed that merchants do best when they choose popular open-source frameworks instead of proprietary front-end options designed and maintained by monolithic commerce systems. By leveraging the surface area and developer power behind open source, merchants can keep up with the latest technology trends and gain a competitive advantage over their competition.

Quick start

Check out our quick guides for Next and Nuxt found in this documentation.