Headless DAM for Omnichannel Commerce: Getting Ahead of the Curve

Organizations have realized that true digital transformation cannot be imagined without building dynamic integrations to offer optimal product experiences and meet the demands of the business, making an API-led approach an absolute must.

Headless abilities can vastly facilitate multi-experiential information and digital asset delivery by including channels like mobile apps, smart devices, digital and voice assistants, progressive web apps (PWAs), and single-page applications (SPAs), among others. For enterprises that are serious about providing impeccable omnichannel commerce experiences, automatic dissemination of consistent digital assets has become the number one priority. This insight deep dives into why headless Digital Asset Management (DAM) is fast becoming the default route for disseminating digital assets.


What You’ll Learn From This Insight:

I.    What is a Headless Digital Asset Management (DAM) System?

II.   How is Headless DAM different from a Traditional DAM System?

III.  What makes ‘Headless DAM for eCommerce’ Relevant today?

IV.  Benefits of Headless DAM

V.   The role of APIs in a Headless DAM

VI.   Who Needs a Headless DAM software?

VII.   Can Headless DAM and Traditional DAM go together? Is it called a Hybrid DAM?

VII.   How to Choose the Right Headless DAM System?

IX.   Pimcore DAM Demo

1. What is a Headless Digital Asset Management (DAM) System?

A headless DAM is a digital asset management system that has no front-end or user interface. Instead, it decouples the back-end functionality (where the centralized digital asset library exists) from the presentation layer so that any other system (such as PIM, CRM, CMS, etc.) that requires digital assets can integrate seamlessly with the DAM by using APIs. In other words, a headless DAM can interact and share digital assets with any software straightaway from its back-end application via APIs. As a result, any digital asset required by any system can be readily made available within those systems right from the master repository of DAM.

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2. How Is Headless DAM Different From a Traditional DAM System?

Traditional DAM comes with a front-end layer or user interface; users must log into the DAM software, run a quick search for the digital assets they need, find and download them in different formats and sizes to suit the requirement of any of the online publishing platforms (such as email marketing, company website, etc.) or make use of integrations with platforms (like CMS or CRM) to insert the assets directly within them and from there it is pushed onto email or the company website. However, if users rely on downloading the assets, they will always need to take care of uploading accurate versions on every platform.

On the other hand, headless DAM eliminates this entire process; it makes sure that users have the digital assets available for use within the CMS and CRM platforms, as the headless DAM is connected to these software’ automatically (since it has no head or front-end). Therefore, the same digital assets exist within the software’s desired format and size.

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3. What makes ‘Headless DAM for eCommerce’ Relevant today?

i) When to go Headless?

Ideally, a headless DAM becomes essential if an enterprise has multiple apps, outlets, or portals where similar digital assets (images, videos, audio, graphics, logos, animation, etc.) are to be circulated. In this case, headless is the surest way to automate while remaining accurate, consistent, and quick. Headless acts as a digital asset hub (same as a traditional DAM) but a personalized one for every system. Therefore, the best time to go headless is when an enterprise is growing rapidly, and several brands and divisions are mushrooming selling similar products through many outlets.

ii) Why to go Headless?

Once enterprises start to disseminate similar assets on different websites, it makes sense to automate the process instead of manually downloading and uploading digital assets, their descriptions, as well as metadata to multiple output channels. Moreover, when assets are to be used in different contexts, such as to empower sales personnel to make a pitch effective, promotional usage on a website or other digital channels, or catering to a specific target audience, a headless DAM is a better fit. Also, assets are dynamic, subject to tiny tweaks, new ideas, marketing techniques, and personalization.

iii) How to go Headless?

Creating a simple checklist is a good starting point. If an enterprise uses multiple systems with distinct requirements, has an IT and engineering team that can handle DAM customizations, APIs, and integrations; and if the enterprise is willing to invest in a Headless DAM—then the road to headless DAM is paved to proceed. The foundational elements of a robust headless DAM are clean, easily understandable, and conveniently usable APIs, as APIs are the primary source of interaction between DAM and different systems. Besides, a clear purpose and commitment are vital to the decision.

4. Benefits of Headless DAM

Apart from all the advantages of a traditional DAM, such as a single repository of digital assets, version controlling, decreased time-to-market, and improved search, headless DAM accompanies a host of additional benefits.

Bespoke UI Improved Scalability High-grade Efficiency More Agility & Nimbleness Better Overall asset control

Headless DAMs offer enterprises the freedom to customize UI interfaces accompanied with APIs enabling them to meet the specific requirements of their industry.

Enterprises can create a custom combination of platforms, scale them according to their asset management needs (irrespective of the existing system), and add enhanced functionalities. Efficiency goes a notch higher with streamlined workflows and cross-platform data sharing, where experiences are delivered with exceptional speed and accuracy. Adapting to evolving enterprise needs, emerging trends and technologies, creating a best-of-breed stack, upgrading the stack, or swapping tools is quick and easy. Headless DAM ensures optimal accessibility (anytime, anywhere), accuracy, speed, security, and flexibility in publishing to offer the target audience the best media assets.

5. The Role of APIs in a Headless DAM

APIs have a pivotal role to play in a headless DAM. They enable enterprises to develop close-knit, interconnected systems so that interaction between different software components can occur and information exchange becomes seamless, flawless, and meaningful. In addition, APIs are a highly secure and trustworthy way of distributing information consistently; they facilitate searching, uploading, administering, provisioning, access control, and reporting. However, a lot of the Headless DAM’s performance depends on the quality of the APIs. Only robust and flexible APIs can fulfill the promise of excellence in a headless DAM. They are the bedrock behind powerful integrations with CMSs, CRMs, project management and task management tools, designing and creative software, print publishing software, proofreading and translating software, as well as AI tools.

6. Who Needs a Headless DAM software?

Departments such as marketing, publishing, and eCommerce are the ones that normally use a DAM system in order to present rich media assets (such as high-quality graphics, video, and images) to customers for optimal product experiences across various touchpoints. However, viewing from an enterprise perspective, some of the chief factors to identify whether your organization requires a headless DAM are: 


  • If you have a large-scale enterprise that needs customized solutions and have several technological tools and software that need to be connected with DAM.
  • If numerous, complicated teams (handling multiple software) require access to customized digital assets within the software to carry out their work smoothly.
  • If organizations are spread across different geographical locations and where systems instead of humans are distributing assets.
  • If organizations need greater flexibility to create their customized workflows.
  • If the digital assets that are being used need to be rehashed to suit different contexts or situations.
  • If the organization has experienced IT resources who can take care of implementation, maintenance, and support of the customized solutions.



7. Can Headless DAM and Traditional DAM go together? Is it called a Hybrid DAM?

If the question is whether Headless DAM and traditional DAM can be used together, the answer is Yes. It can be called hybrid, but it isn’t any new setup or solution. It can be created depending on the usage of the enterprise. Broadly speaking, a hybrid system can cater to the exact needs of businesses, as the same DAM can offer a “human-centric” and a “system-centric” approach.

For instance, an enterprise can use a common DAM as a back-end functionality (by offering a secure and high-speed access of feature-rich digital assets) to systems directly while allowing limited immediate access to a few users. These users can be internal staff having some specific duties. Any preferred rules and governance mechanisms can be applied to assets, and the same rules can be replicated to any new system that needs access to it. This approach can be ideal for exercising control over digital assets that are stored both on-premises and on the cloud.


8. How to Choose the Right Headless DAM System?

Choosing the right headless DAM system is essential for businesses with complicated use cases like eCommerce and digital publishing, where millions of digital assets are published yearly. Few factors for consideration while making a choice are: 

  • Flexibility and Intelligence: As millions of assets originating from multitudinous sources are uploaded to various outlets and channels that require specific protocols, flexibility to ingest at a large scale and intelligence to identify and discard incompatible assets are a must.
  • Optimized asset delivery: Omnichannel asset delivery needs rich-media experiences for different mediums that have different requirements in terms of size, resolutions, and effects. For instance, flyers, social media, websites, or billboards all have separate image processing and output demands.   
  • Flawless API integrations: The most significant advantage of a headless DAM is how it seamlessly integrates with other systems, software, and tools (CMSs, CRMs, AI and print publishing tools, translation and proofreading software, etc.) to enable automation that is tailormade to organization’s needs.     
  • Custom Workflows that boost efficiency: Apart from a quick search and automated asset upload, there is an immense need to increase efficiency. A headless DAM can be connected with tools to send notifications for task completion to team members, revise asset listings, add new images; hence, making efficiency a continuous phenomenon.
  • Scalable headless DAM: Growing online businesses rely on multichannel marketing, forever expanding into newer markets, and hence need the latest real-time content. Besides seasonal spikes and sales, new technologies, channels, and devices keep getting added to the fold. Therefore, only a scalable headless DAM would be the right fit. 


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