Headless with Shopify

Maximize your E-Commerce Performance with Hydrogen: A Shopify Headless setup

Does your brand have the ambition to reach the absolute pinnacle when it comes to e-commerce performance and experience? Then considering a headless architecture is worth your while. As the first Shopify Plus Partner in the Benelux, Code has launched hundreds of brands on Shopify over the past six years, and our team is now ready to help brands like yours go headless. 

What is Headless Commerce?

In headless commerce you decouple the front-end from the back-end, making it able to replace the front-end with another framework. This means bypassing any limitations of your e-commerce platform and creating a lot of flexibility in design, while still being able to use the functionality of the backend (in this case Shopify) where needed. With their high loading speeds, headless stores can be seen as the formula-1 of e-commerce performance.


Mauricio - Code - Shopify-2

Headless with Shopify: Hydrogen & Oxygen

With the launch of Hydrogen and Oxygen, Shopify became an important headless player for e-commerce brands. Shopify’s React-based headless commerce stack (Hydrogen) and their own hosting platform (Oxygen), help merchants to go headless without the risks that came with a homegrown headless setup, like framework maintenance and agency lock-in. You can think of Hydrogen as the powerful engine of your Formula 1 car, with Oxygen as the fuel. High speed guaranteed, but keep in mind that the upfront costs and maintenance expenses are higher than with a regular car. The decision to go headless should, therefore, be made very carefully, and we are here to assist you!

Contact us to get personal advise on an optimal E-Commerce Platform setup for your brand.

When to choose Headless Commerce with Hydrogen?

  1. Site speed 

Page speed is the main USP of going headless. With a traditional (Liquid) Shopify store, Code gets loading speeds down to, say, 2 seconds. However, with headless it goes down to 1.2, 1.3 seconds or even subsecond (>50% speed increase). That might sound negligible but it feels much faster, especially with feature-rich sites that have product configurators and whatnot. You can build feature-rich shops that still feel very crispy. This is much harder to achieve with a liquid setup. Experience it firsthand by clicking around Shopify's demo store:

Check out Shopify’s Hydrogen demo store here 🏎

It’s proven that more speed equals more conversion, which equals more revenue. Improving your store’s conversion with as little as 0,1% translates into a 10% revenue increase. 

Example: Imagine your yearly online revenue is €50 million with a 20% profit margin, a 10% increase in conversion rate could yield an extra €1 million annually—more than enough to cover the investment in a Headless store.

€50M * 10% * 20% = €1M

Example: Imagine your annual online revenue is €30 million with a profit margin of 20%, a 5% increase in conversion will earn you 300,000 euros per year. This might not be sufficient to justify the investment in a headless store.

€30M * 5% * 20% = €300.000

This illustrates that going headless is not for everyone. In our view, you need a substantial annual online revenue level to balance the extra costs, but then it can make real sense.

2. Content & multi-language flexibility

Do you want full control over your content and flexibility to manage localized content across multiple (language) stores? Headless CMS solutions like Builder.io, Sanity or Contentful excel in this area.

  1. Integrations & a seamless omnichannel experience

A headless architecture doesn't just make your front-end faster and more flexible; it also empowers you to seamlessly integrate new tech, enabling you to stay ahead of trends and easily connect various sales channels for a smooth omnichannel customer experience.

Code CEO Wouter Monkhorst explains: “Anything that has an API can be theoretically connected to Shopify - but it will be easier and better integrated in a headless setup. If you can achieve what you want with a few apps from the Shopify app store, then stay with Liquid, because the extra cost will probably not be worth it. But if your brand uses an ERP, a (legacy) loyalty system, a PIM, a WMS, you name it: then its very interesting to choose for a headless setup.

7 signs that a headless e-commerce architecture fits your brand

  1. You are a large (+50-150 mio), established brand at (or approaching) enterprise level;

  2. You expect significant conversion improvement from fast loading speeds;

  3. You yearn for an efficient CMS solution to manage your international multi-language storefronts effortlessly.

  4. You want a feature-rich store with a spectacular user experience and also maintain excellent performance;

  5. You have an internal front-end development (React) team to adjust and maintain your headless store. For the initial build and more complex optimizations, you want to work with an agency partner;

  6. You want to integrate your e-commerce platform with a complex tech stack that changes frequently;

  7. You want to offer your customers a seamless omnichannel experience, and you encounter limitations in a headfull architecture.

What does a headless store on Hydrogen cost?

The costs for (re)building a headless store on Shopify vary depending on your needs and factors such as the complexity of your architecture, how feature-rich your site is, and your design requirements. Would you like to receive an estimate and cost range for your specific situation?

Get in touch with us

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Start your headless project with Code

Headless can provide your brand with the speed, flexibility, and innovation power to stay ahead of your competition and connect to consumers. Do you expect that the top performance of headless and the additional flexibility will be a game changer? Then we're ready to kick off a project with you!


Need help with headless? Code is ready to help!