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Headless CMS development with Shopify

Headless is popular among Shopify merchants because of its well-structured software architecture. Much like any eCommerce strategy, it also comes with a few pros and cons. 


Should you jump in and join the bandwagon? Before we make a deep dive about headless CMS development, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page. 

What is headless CMS development?

A headless content management system (CMS) has a back-end content management system where the “head” presentation layer is set apart from the “body” or content repository. 


In Shopify, headless CMS development entails the separation of the back-end infrastructure from the front-end customer touchpoints. 

headless structure

To put it simply, you can decouple your digital storefront from the other engines and systems used for business. That means you can run your CMS, CRM, and web apps within your website without being limited by the capabilities of a single ecommerce platform.

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of Headless CMS?

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of headless CMS. 



1. Improve URL structure 


A Shopify store comes with a specific URL structure. And that’s perfectly fine for your SEO. However, merchants migrating from a site that depends on their organic ranking may find refuge in Headless’ possibilities. 


2. Improve control 


Headless lets developers create seamless shopping experiences via their preferred programming language. 


For merchants, this means you can upgrade your current platform at your own pace and adapt to the current technological trends. As your business grows, you’ll be able to leverage custom solutions and adopt more tools to scale your website. 

3. Boost performance 


With Headless, developers can leverage current technologies like Gatsby.js to build static pages. You can also utilise caching to improve site speed and achieve higher scores for Google’s Core Web Vitals. Even if Shopify has a few tools to boost site performance, at least you won’t be limited by the platform’s options. 

4. Improve personalisation and UX


Headless gives developers an option to decide how they’ll display their data to customers across multiple devices. 


You have full reign over the aesthetic, functionality. and UX of your website. You can even leverage third-party systems and implement one-of-a-kind changes to your storefront. 


Thanks to these capabilities, you can present and upsell your products in a unique way and get customers down the sales funnel. 


1. No access to theme customiser 


The switch to Headless entails losing access to popular features like the theme customiser. You won’t be able to preview your theme within Shopify. To avoid this pitfall, your designers need to figure out how to simulate the same experience in your new platform. 

2. Inability to use Shopify features 


Because the theme customiser is disabled, you’ll also lose access to the rich text editor, fonts, and styling options available. More importantly, you won’t be able to use their plugins and front-end applications. 


If you don’t have a skilled designer or developer in the team, you’ll have a hard time starting from scratch and customising your website. 

3. Additional hosting costs


As the front-end of your Shopify store is no longer using Shopify as it’s hosting provider you may have to pay for additional hosting costs and everything else that comes with hosting your own website such as SSL certificates.

What’s upcoming? 

Shopify Hydrogen is an upcoming headless commerce solution. It’s a development framework that provides all the necessary tools to get quickly get started with creating custom storefronts. It can be paired with Oxygen, a Shopify-powered hosting solution which provides a fast and easy way to host your Hydrogen storefront. For more information visit


We hope you have enjoyed this blog on Headless CMS; it’s becoming a very exciting space for eCommerce merchants developing in Shopify. Get in touch with us today to find out more!


Headshot of Chris

Chris Thomas

CEO & Founder

Chris Thomas


Chris Thomas

CEO & Founder

Chris has been at the forefront of eCommerce and a pioneer of online retailing since the early 00s. A 5-time Drapers Award winner, Chris has extensive experience in developing fashion brands online.

Chris founded Cake in 2016. Based in Birmingham, with offices nationwide, Cake specialises in helping fashion brands understand their market online and then helps to develop appropriate strategical direction to achieve their plan, all backed by his 20 years of operating in the retail market.