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Headless Shopify: What It Is and Why You Should Consider It

If you are looking for a way to create a custom and flexible ecommerce store, you might have heard of the term “headless Shopify”. But what does it mean and what are the benefits of going headless? In this blog post, we will explain what headless Shopify is, how it works, and why it might be a good option for your online business.

What is headless Shopify?

Headless Shopify means that the front-end (or the “head”) of your Shopify store is decoupled from your ecommerce back-end. This means that your headless Shopify store will use different technologies and frameworks for the front-end layer, like GatsbyJS, NextJS, or ReactJS and then pull data from Shopify via the Storefront API.

The Storefront API is a GraphQL-based API that allows you to access and modify data related to your store’s products, collections, customers, checkouts, and more. By using the Storefront API, you can create custom storefronts that communicate with Shopify’s back-end without relying on Shopify’s default themes and templates.

 

How does headless Shopify work?

To set up a headless Shopify store, you will need to have a Shopify Plus account, which is Shopify’s enterprise-level plan that offers more features and flexibility for high-volume merchants. You will also need to have a front-end developer or a partner agency that can help you build and maintain your custom storefront.

The basic steps to create a headless Shopify store are:

Choose a front-end framework or technology that suits your needs and preferences. Some popular options are GatsbyJS, NextJS, ReactJS, VueJS, and NuxtJS.
Create a Shopify app that will use the Storefront API to fetch and update data from your Shopify store. You can use Shopify’s app development tools and documentation to guide you through this process.

Build your custom storefront using your chosen front-end framework and connect it to your Shopify app. You can use Shopify’s UI components, such as the Buy Button, the Cart, and the Checkout, to create a seamless shopping experience for your customers.

Deploy your custom storefront to a hosting service or platform that supports your front-end framework. Some examples are Netlify, Vercel, AWS, and Firebase.

Point your domain name to your custom storefront and launch your headless Shopify store.

Why should you consider headless Shopify?

Headless Shopify offers several advantages over the traditional Shopify architecture, such as:

Creative freedom: You can design and customize your storefront however you want, without being limited by Shopify’s themes and templates. You can also create unique and engaging experiences for different devices and channels, such as web, mobile, voice, and social media.

Performance: You can optimize your storefront for speed and performance, by using modern web development tools and techniques, such as static site generation, server-side rendering, and progressive web apps. You can also leverage the power and scalability of Shopify’s back-end infrastructure, which handles millions of transactions per day.

Flexibility: You can integrate your storefront with any third-party service or tool that you need, such as a CMS, a CRM, a DXP, or an analytics platform. You can also swap out these services whenever your business needs change, without affecting your back-end functionality.

Omnichannel selling: You can sell on any digital medium that your customers use, by creating multiple front-end experiences that connect to a single back-end system. You can also sync your inventory, orders, and customer data across all your sales channels, using Shopify’s APIs and apps.
Is headless Shopify right for you?

Headless Shopify is not for everyone. It requires a higher level of technical expertise, a larger budget, and more maintenance than the standard Shopify architecture. It also comes with some trade-offs, such as losing access to some of Shopify’s native features, such as the online store editor, the theme settings, and the sections.

Therefore, before you decide to go headless, you should consider the following questions:

What are your business goals and needs?

What are your customer expectations and preferences?

What are your current pain points and challenges with Shopify?

How much control and customization do you need over your storefront?

How much time and money are you willing to invest in building and maintaining your headless store?

How comfortable are you with working with code and APIs?

If you are looking for a way to create a custom and flexible ecommerce store that can handle complex and dynamic requirements, headless Shopify might be a good option for you. However, if you are happy with the simplicity and convenience of Shopify’s default themes and templates, headless Shopify might not be worth the hassle and cost.

The bottom line

Headless Shopify is a Shopify Plus feature that allows you to separate your front-end presentation layer from your back-end functionality. This gives you more creative freedom, performance, flexibility, and omnichannel selling capabilities. However, it also requires more technical skills, resources, and maintenance than the traditional Shopify architecture. At Innovature, we are happy to assist in your journey to glory. Get in touch to know more.

 

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