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Headless ecommerce: Shopify

by Dan Kossoff | 20 January, 2023 | 2 min read.

Shopify makes it easy to enter the ecommerce world. The platform is well-documented and not costly to start with - create your product catalog , install a theme, fill in banking information and there you go.

But what if you need a bit more than the regular Shopify Storefront alone can provide?
As your business grows and you scale your demands for faster performance, more detailed customization and better user experience also grow
and that's where you start to face barriers of traditional ecommerce...

Headless Shopify

What is headless ecommerce?

"Headless" means that the HEAD of the store(product catalog, inventory, checkout options etc. a.k.a. back-end) and the BODY(customer-focused side of your store a.k.a. front-end) are separated and communicate via API(Application Programmer Interface).
Traditional off-the-shelf e-commerce architecture is rigid, meaning that head and body are hosted at the same place and have an impact on each other.

So what's the point in breaking apart those two layers?

Headless Shopify gains

1. Faster speed and performance

Using Shopify in a traditional way, you're locked into a certain level of performance as platform's components try to do everything for everyone at the expense of adding up some heavy code and functionality that slows your store down causing a whole bunch of unnecessary interactions that the browser has to process. 

He who controls the server controls the speed ©

You obviously cannot manage Shopify server infrastructure and it's a huge limitation. With headless architecture dev team is fully in control of performance and able to implement modern and more efficient solutions.

2. Better Customization and Personalization

Headless approach gives developers the power and freedom to create a unique personalized front-end experience without having to worry about the back-end.

Also fixed Shopify URL structure can be very limiting. 

3. Easier Omnichannel selling

Delivering messaging, content, and products to any existing channels or devices becomes easier while you keep tracking everything from a single backend.

 

Headless Shopify losses

Headless Shopify losses

1. Time consuming and costly

Going headless takes time and money - you need to invest in developer and infrastructure costs. It’s expensive to implement. Extended functionality and customization only add up to that. Plus annual maintenance costs.

2. Developer dependency

Switch to headless is a complex process where deep technical knowledge is mandatory and therefore requires skilled developers. Not only initial setup but also regular maintenance.

3. Apps

With headless approach you also lose loss of native Shopify functionality. The far majority of apps that depend on Shopify engine will be affected by the transition and consequently will stop working.

Is Headless Shopify for you?

 If your business is doing well enough with a traditional architecture, there's no point in going headless. But if you want to jump to the next level, get top speed and performance, more personalized customer experience and have time and budget for it , then headless may be right for you.

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for greater speed and usability

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