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How to go headless with Shopify?

Last updated: 08 December 2022

You are ready for a better online shopping experience and want to go headless with Shopify. But how do you go about it and what are the options? When going headless there are two paths you can take. In this chapter, we cover both in-depth.

2 ways to go headless with Shopify

Built from scratch
Frontend as a service

Built from scratch

The first option is the completely bespoke and custom route, it's the traditional or even outdated way of going headless. When going down this path merchants build their entire backend and frontend from scratch. 

The advantage of this approach is that you have full control and ownership of all your eCommerce functions. From backend functions to microservices, third-party add-ons, and middleware components. 

When going down this path you need to either hire an agency or work with your in-house developers. Both options have their pros and cons. 

Pros of working with an agency
Expertise with taking Shopify stores headless.
Offer extra help at the design stage
Can build from scratch or work with a frontend as a service platform
Can help with ongoing maintenance and updates
Cons of working with an agency
You’ll be on your own when it comes to managing your store
Or you will be dependent on the agency for any changes you want to make
Requires a large investment (time and money)
Pros of working with in-house developers
Complete ownership of all your eCommerce functions
Simple and fast communication
Cons of working with in-house developers
Takes a large development team
Requires expertise in working with frameworks like React.js (no more Liquid with headless)

Going headless the completely bespoke way might be for you if:

  • You are a very large brand with a big software infrastructure

  • You need more flexibility in your tech stack

  • You have a large development team

  • You have the budget to invest in an agency

Frontend as a service

The other option which is getting more popular by the day is working with a frontend as a service platform. With the rise of headless commerce, such platforms set out to make headless accessible for more eCommerce brands. 

A frontend as a service platform is basically a prepackaged software solution with all the components you need to go headless. From out-of-the-box connections with Shopify, Headless CMS software, unique frontend components, hosting, server-side rendering, and more.

Essentially the right frontend as a service platform allows you to go headless without any of the difficulties you experience with building a headless Shopify store from scratch.

Popular frontend as a service platforms are: Shogun, Frontastic, and Instant Commerce.

Pros of a frontend as a service platform
Eliminate the eCommerce teams’ reliance on developers
Headless commerce at the fraction of the costs
Out of the box integrations with all popular eCommerce tech such as Klaviyo and Algolia
Full control over your webshop and functionalities
Launch your headless store in days instead of months
Complete focus on your brand and content
Cons of a frontend as a service platform
Loss of control, some functionalities might not yet be available

Building via the frontend as a service approach is for you when:

  • Want to go headless without the headaches

  • Want to stay in control of your store and make changes independently

  • Want to enable your eCommerce and marketing team to work in a no-code environment

  • Keep your organization lean and agile

Headless Shopify with Instant Commerce

Most headaches revolving around headless commerce are caused by the way merchants embark on their journey. From selecting the right agency to the complexity of the whole project and the costs involved. At instant commerce, we are simplifying headless commerce for merchants that use or want to use Shopify. 

As a frontend-as-a-service platform, we eliminate the stress and uncertainty that usually comes along with going headless. For Shopify brands who want to scale, Instant Commerce is the no-code headless storefront solution that enables faster-site speeds, higher conversion ratios, and eliminates developer dependencies.

If you are interested in learning more about Instant Commerce feel free to get your demo here. Talk soon!

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