How to Use Shopify for Headless eCommerce
As Internet-equipped devices become more prevalent in our lives, Shopify sites of all sizes are reaping the benefits of headless eCommerce. By decoupling the front and back-ends, business owners can expand their operations among the entirety of the Iot.
If you missed our blog post on headless eCommerce, you can check it out for a thorough explanation of the innovative technology. Today, we’ll discuss the simple steps to get started using Shopify for headless eCommerce.
How to Build a Headless eCommerce Storefront With Shopify
There’s good news coming if you’re already a fan of Shopify and interested in going headless: the platform is one of the most popular solutions for expanding into the headless eCommerce world. In fact, Shopify works in combination with an additional CMS to serve your content on any internet-equipped device.
So, let’s discuss the three steps you need to take in order to get started:
- Choose the technology for your storefront and set up an API.
- Generate your access token with Shopify.
- Design and build your storefront.
Choose the Technology for Your Storefront & Set Up an API
When selecting the technology on which to base your storefront, you’ll first need to consider the design and technical requirements of your ultimate goal. It’s also important to weigh the skill set of your development team, versus the investment of outsourcing more complicated work.
Shopify provides example custom storefront apps using React.js and Ember, so those two technologies may be strong contenders in your decision. However, using a static site generator framework (like Next.js or GatsbyJS) can improve website SEO and TTI/responsiveness.
Next, it’s important to familiarize yourself with Shopify’s storefront API. If you need more information, Shopify has provided two excellent resources: GraphQL and Its Benefits, and Getting Started With The Storefront API.
Generate Your Access Token With Shopify
The next step to begin using Shopify for headless eCommerce is generating your access token. This token allows access to your store’s API, which then opens the way for custom-built app functionality.
To generate your access token, follow the steps below:
- Navigate to the Apps section from your Shopify admin dashboard.
- Click “Manage Private Apps.”
- Select the option to create a new private app.
- Fill in the name of the app and the developer’s contact information.
- Then, allow the app to access your storefront data using the Storefront API by selecting which types of data you share with the app.
- Click “Save.”
Once you’ve saved your new app information, the Access Token will display at the bottom of the page.
Build Your Storefront
Once you’ve generated an access token for your new app, you can begin building your storefront. If you’re not so familiar with the development of apps like this, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with Shopify’s sample storefronts, linked above.
Considerations to Keep in Mind While Using Shopify Headless eCommerce
Due to the uniquities of a cloud-based backend disconnected from the front, you will lose some of Shopify's front-end functionality when transitioning to a headless eCommerce system.
For example, you will no longer be able to utilize the theme or rich text editors to format your shop’s design. Instead, you’ll have to do so through your custom CMS. Additionally, front-end applications installed from Shopify’s app store will no longer work. However, back-end apps will not lose functionality. Plus, while using headless Shopify, customer accounts will become unavailable. In order to utilize these accounts, your developer will have to create a custom solution via your storefront API.
Go Headless With Shopify to Expand Your eCommerce Potential
Headless eCommerce is the way of the future, allowing business owners to deliver content, products, and payment gateways wherever customers spend their time. If you’re considering expanding your selling potential in this regard, do so with headless Shopify.
Headless eCommerce with Shopify allows you to heighten marketing flexibility, facilitate easier international commerce, develop and install updates more efficiently, and optimize your site for increased conversions. Go truly omnichannel and reach more customers than ever before with the selling power of headless Shopify.
If you’re not sure headless is right for you, reach out to our eCommerce experts today. We're here to help you in whatever manner best benefits your online empire.