How to enrich Shopify’s capabilities with headless commerce — Vue Storefront and Contentful use case

Illustrated graphic of an internet shopfront, standing for enriching shopify capabilities with headless commerce
Published
November 8, 2021
Category

Partners

For over a decade, Shopify has been climbing towards the position of a leader in the ecommerce landscape to become an obvious choice for ambitious non-tech online retailers finally.

However, what triggers an online presence over time becomes a stop-gap for boundless growth. Here is a real-life use story of how Contentful and Vue Storefront enhance Shopify’s performance.

Shopify perks and trade-offs

There's a reason Shopify has become the market leader of agile and fast online store takeoffs. By eliminating users' worries about the technical aspects of running an online store, guaranteeing a quick start and providing an intuitive dashboard, Shopify quickly earned a large audience of no-tech and low-tech enthusiasts.

Already America’s top choice for ecommerce, Shopify continues to gain momentum thanks to an easy configuration that enables secure operation within one day. Its intuitive and customizable dashboard and satisfying mobile-first approach make it an easy choice. Having covered basic matters, Shopify evolved over the years into the most recommended starting point on an ecommerce landscape. 

Numbers don’t lie. Shopify’s broad stack and pool of extra features back over one million businesses in 175 countries. Reaching global traction, Shopify now keeps a single shopper three minutes on average, and the same online purchaser visits, on average, three eComms raised on Shopify's foundations. 

However, no matter how user-oriented the vendor is, it’s hard to keep up with all the demands, expectations and algorithm changes in a vastly changing market. A widening gap between the expectations of one party and the delivery capabilities of the other has led to a shift in approach to forming the ecommerce arena. And this is how headless commerce was born.

Illustrated icon of a PC screen with speech bubbles

What is headless commerce?

Headless commerce is a modern response to the emerging gap in the ecommerce market. Generally, a headless approach in ecommerce implies decoupling the front-end and back-end of an ecommerce website. Moving from monolith to scattered linking via APIs enables instant front-end changes to be made without wrecking the back-end. As a result, headless commerce brings greater responsiveness, performance and marketing flexibility able to generate higher incomes.

Headless was a pretty expensive undertaking in the early stages of its existence since one had to start with full migration of the back-end and create a custom front-end for it. However, as technology evolves itself, it tends to reduce repetitive tasks and replace them with ready-to-use, future-proofed, community-supported resources. Thus the creation of headless commerce from scratch has become a thing of the past.

Is headless commerce only reserved for the big players?

Headless has climbed to a higher branch of evolution in recent years, allowing for fast and secure deployments, assuring the best user experience and hassle-free ecommerce marketing initiatives. The market leap ensured that becoming headless is no longer exclusive to big players. Often, solutions that secure a broad headless market adoption are open-source. Previously mentioned communities actively support that model, thus flexing the implementation for a wide range of SME merchants. 

Headless agility keeps up with emerging ecommerce trends. Thanks to headless solutions (like Vue Storefront) that wrap the integrations with 3rd party services up, new tactics become easier to implement, new tools are quicker to test, and domain-specific actions to adapt. VSF’s headless bonding provides unlimited freedom of adjustability, enabling to fit any back-end (even in SaaS-model, like Shopify) faster, easier and cheaper. Vue Storefront assures speed and stability at a low cost, which is what small and medium-sized enterprises crave. And this is the story of one such use.

How to make the most of Shopify with headless commerce 

Here is an example of how Aureate Labs made the best use of headless commerce for an American retailer of high-end, at-home spa equipment. Pure Daily Care, an online merchant running a compact catalog for a very tech-savvy target audience needed fast and flexible tech nourishment. By decoupling Shopify and enriching with bodiless Vue Storefront frontend, Aureate Labs was able to set up a new, agile and headless shopping experience. 

Illustrated icon of a retail store

Standing at the headless front with Vue Storefront

Vue Storefront is a platform-agnostic PWA, frontend boilerplate aligned to work with any ecommerce backend via API. Engineered in response to the needs of the ecommerce market, agencies and developers to keep swift frontline operations in line with the visually responsive audience. As a front foundation rooted in the agile community, Vue Storefront remains open to further customization

Thanks to that setup, Aureate Labs was able to nourish Pure Daily Care without having to make a big revolution. SEO aspects have been secured and performance has been bumped up thanks to well addressed PWA-related issues affecting search ranks. By adopting a headless direction on the Shopify backend, a lot of flexibility was unlocked, rendering front-end deployments independent of development effort and advancing up UX and marketing activities. On top of that, Vue Storefront offers out-of-the-box integrations with powerful tools, like Contentful, to unleash marketing potential. One more to add, the vast dev team is constantly working on future-proofing these integrations, hence the secured set warranty.

Enriching content experience with Contentful

Going headless means unlocking marketing possibilities, which is a big bonus for a merchant that wants to interact with a tech-savvy audience. This was the case with Pure Daily Care. Since content possibilities offered by Shopify are pretty basic, to provide unrestricted options for displaying and shaping content, Aureate Labs recommended Contentful. 

Contentful's extensive capabilities include two key functionalities the beauty merchant valued – scheduled publishing and out-of-the-box translation and localization capabilities. The content platform provides advanced scheduling for broad activities, giving users up to 200 pending scheduled entries in each environment within a space. Scheduled publishing doesn't require being at a desk to launch a new campaign or product, or to delete the published content if needed, which makes scheduling and publishing content easy. 

Content plays a crucial role for ecommerce, and it’s essential that content always reflects the correct language and local nuances for the user. Contentful has easy to set and run language options, with a possibility to integrate translation management systems. And the localization capabilities meant that Pure Daily Care could easily manage country-specific text, images and other types of content to ensure that content is always appropriate for the area where it will be published, which in turn gains the trust of shoppers who feel the experience has been tailored to their needs. 

Illustration of a report page

Headless flexibility drives revenue 

Many companies are still struggling with the decision of whether to move to a headless approach. In Pure Daily Care's case, this proved to be the right move, as it freed up their resources and operations, allowing them to juggle with ease between launches and promotions. Leveraging the resources they were already using, decoupling the front-end from the back-end and powering the Shopify engine with Vue Storefront capabilities and Contentful quickly resulted in a 270% revenue increase from mobile and an increase in 95% users. A slam dunk!

Learn more about Vue Storefront and see how you can start implementing for your own project.

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