Traditionally E-Commerce platforms functioned on the principle of a monolith architecture approach which in short is like a centralized system all features of the E-Commerce Platform. But as E-Commerce features tend to become more and more complex, the practicality of using a monolithic architecture slowly started to fade. The main disadvantages of a monolithic architecture are its challenges in scalability and flexibility which ultimately affects performance of the platform. Some other major drawbacks include limitation in customization, possibility of a single point of failure due to high dependency, and slower response to updated market trends. Identifying this drawback in the traditional e-commerce system, microservices were introduced. The mantra of Microservices is simple, instead of one single system handling all functionalities, many smaller services handle a specific set of functionalities and communicate with each other via API. Microservices offer a more decentralized and decoupled approach which means that even if the business will tend to grow more complex microservices offer great speed and flexibility. One approach of microservices is adoption of headless commerce which separates the front end presentation layer with the backend e-commerce engine which then communicates via API. However, the headless commerce architecture is not fully decoupled since one some parts of the system are getting decoupled (front end and back end) whereas for true microservices architecture complete decoupling is present.
For completely decoupled CMS, the content is actively pushed to the delivery environment whereas in case of headless CMS, it sits idly in a reactive state until a request is pushed. Some notable advantages of adopting microservices architecture include individual scaling of the front end and the backend. In case of increase in traffic at the front end, the complete backend system needs not to adjust. Only a part of the services can be tuned. This in turn increases scope for customization and personalization which can extend to multiple frontends connected to a single backend system. Tech stack can be adjusted faster for this approach since the system follows a decentralized approach and additionally its also cheaper to consider a microservice architecture in comparison to a monolithic architecture, for the reason that a monolithic system provides all features that are required and not required whereas microservices only provides functionalities that are only required. However, considering the cost of tools to adopt the microservices approach, it can be quite expensive and would also require certain infrastructure level changes. But switching from a monolithic to microservice architecture can be done incrementally wherein certain primary functionalities can be decoupled first and then gradually expand to other functionalities. So, if you are considering switching from a monolithic approach to microservices its always recommended to research and identify the best in-breed solutions for the business needs for providing the best possible experience for Customers.