JawDropping.io Get talents now

The pros and cons of Headless Shopify

Victor BjörklundVictor Björklund • Updated March 1, 2022

Shopify has the latest years become one of the most popular e-commerce platforms out there and it is no wonder since it solves many hard issues in e-commerce such as payments and security thereby allowing e-commerce owners to focus more on the sales and marketing part of e-commerce. In this article, I will go through each of the pros and cons to make it easier for you to decide whether a headless Shopify store is the right choice for your store.

The normal way that Shopify works is that you design and host your store on their platform. And that is great because it makes everything much easier. However, it isn’t the only way Shopify also allows you to use their headless solution.

What is headless Shopify?

A headless Shopify store is a store that does not use the Shopify front-end to display and sell products. Instead, a headless Shopify store uses a custom front-end or a third-party front-end to display and sell products. A headless Shopify store can be customized to match the look and feel of your website, and you can use any front-end you want.

Pros of Headless Shopify

Full creative control

The biggest pro with headless Shopify is that you can choose exactly how you want your store to look and feel. Shopify’s possibilities are large but sometimes you can run into things that just aren’t possible to design on Shopify’s platform. It can be both the design and custom functionality. That’s when you can reach for the headless option since it enables you to build anything using a customizable solution. You can use any front-end you want. You aren't limited to Shopify's built-in front-end. This gives you a lot of flexibility to create the exact look and feel you want for your store.

Integration into an existing website

Another use case is that you might want to integrate a webshop directly into an existing web app or website without having to have a separate part of the website as a dedicated webshop. Perhaps you have a blog and you want to enable users to shop directly from the blog posts. I’m not sure if that is a great idea when it comes to the user experience but as you see headless Shopify does not limit you to a traditional webshop.

Cons of Headless Shopify

Availability of Add-On Apps

One major benefit with Shopify is the rich library of Add-On Apps in their marketplace. Since you're not using Shopify's front-end, you won't have access to all of the available add-on apps. This can be a downside if there are specific add-on apps that you need for your store.

Cost and time

If you are building frontend from scratch using a different language and framework building it will usually take a longer time than if you are using Shopify’s out-of-the-box solution. And since it takes a longer time to build it will usually also result in a higher cost of development and maintenance.

Less Ease of Use

Since you're not using Shopify's front-end, you'll need to be familiar with the codebase and how to integrate it with your store. This can be more difficult than using Shopify's front-end, which is designed to be easy to use.

Less Support

Shopify has a great support team that can help you with any issues you run into with your store but since you aren’t using Shopify's front-end they won’t be able to help you with any issues related to that. This can be a downside if you need help with integrating your store or troubleshooting any issues.

So should you choose headless Shopify for your store?

I would always start with the assumption that using Shopify's normal e-commerce store solution is the way to go. It will make the development process faster and more cost-effective. It will also make changes in the future much easier and you will have access to all of the apps on Shopify’s marketplace.

Last Updated on March 1, 2022 by Victor Björklund
Victor Björklund

Victor Björklund

Victor Björklund is a full-stack developer and the founder of JawDropping.io. He has experience with Node, Svelte, React, Python and Elixir. At the moment he prefers to build amazing things using either Elixir or Svelte (This site is built using Svelte and the backend is using Elixir).

Do you need developers or designers?

Write to us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.