Shopify Speed Optimization Via Headless Commerce: Your Long-term Solution

September 7, 2021

6153e5b06e6872825d69b3a0 Shopify Speed Optimization Through Headless Commerce Shopify speed optimization

If your site loads with a 100-millisecond delay, your conversion rate could drop by as much as seven percent.

This is a pretty steep drop for milliseconds, and yet it’s what makes Shopify speed optimization so critical for scaling online stores.

Lightning-fast load time is one of many factors of a high-ranking ecommerce site. And once speed is covered, you can continue to focus on the countless other factors of selling online. But slow site speed requires you to prioritize optimizing Shopify speed first.

Speeding up your Shopify store is particularly timely because, by the end of August of 2021, all Google users will experience the core update first announced in May of 2020. This means load time, interactivity, and visual stability will be the primary ranking factors and indicators of page experience. At the same time, mobile-friendliness, HTTPS (security), and a lack of intrusive interstitials (or invasive pop-up ads) will be secondary factors.

In other words, speed is quickly becoming an even more critical factor in whether or not your store appears in search. The experience you craft will impact how your site appears in the SERP, as well as how much you end up paying for your ads.

Improving your Shopify store’s load times can be helped with small, manual tweaks (think using smaller images and compressed video files); but, for brands scaling rapidly—taking your Shopify storefront headless can be a longer-term solution to vastly improve site speed, boost interactivity, and increase conversions.

Let’s get into how going headless can help.

#cta-visual-fe#<cta-title>The ultimate Shopify page speed boost<cta-title>Shogun Frontend enables sub-second page loads for Shopify merchants.Learn more

You’re facing slow Shopify load times. Can headless help?

Yes! And it depends on the way you choose to build your frontend.

Going headless—or using different technology to power your store’s frontend presentation layer—can help you achieve unparalleled site load time from page to page, especially if you choose to go headless via a progressive web application (PWA).

Here’s a little bit about how PWAs work and why they increase both conversions and site speed:


Ultimately, your site’s frontend can be built in a few ways. All ways you choose to build a frontend enable advanced customization compared to traditional websites, but sites built as PWAs are more like native apps, which makes them very fast.

Each page of a PWA surgically replaces only the parts of a page that need to be changed rather than reloading everything.

This speed and interchangeability are accomplished, in part, through what’s called decoupling. That is, with headless commerce, the frontend presentation (or everything your potential customer sees of your store) is separated from the backend (where the inventory, payments, compliance, etc. is housed.) Instead of being one semi-good solution, they become two excellent solutions and speak to one another seamlessly.

#cta-paragraph-fe#Learn more about how headless commerce works by reading our deep dive into What is Headless Commerce.

So, can switching to a headless PWA increase Shopify site speed?


Nomad, a consumer electronics and lifestyle brand, used Shogun Frontend to go headless and speed up its website. Before Shogun, their site suffered from high bounce rates and slow loads. After implementing a PWA and taking their Shopify store headless with Shogun Frontend, their bounce rate decreased by over 15%, and their site speed increased significantly. What’s more, their ecommerce conversion rate went up 25% on account of the improvements.

#cta-mini-fe#See more examples of how PWAs positively impact site speed. Learn more

Headless commerce nets you more than Shopify speed optimization

Headless commerce is a great way to boost your Shopify website’s speed, but there are other benefits to consider too.

Headless handles high web traffic (spikes)

Normally when websites experience traffic spikes, the site speed slows. And when site speed slows, visitors get frustrated. With traffic spikes, your brand’s site can see high bounce rates, site downtime, and lower revenue. But a headless PWA helps your site manage extreme volumes of mobile traffic, which means you’ll keep those sales you would have otherwise lost.

Usually, one of the main solutions for Shopify speed optimization is to pay your website’s host for more bandwidth to accommodate this traffic. But because a PWA helps manage your site’s traffic, you often don’t need to pay for any extra bandwidth.

Headless commerce reduces user demand on servers because of the nature of the PWAs. By changing out only what needs to be changed on the load of a new page, the server demand falls and you can handle all that extra traffic you’re bringing in.

Going headless enables even more Shopify customization

Going headless enables exceptional, on-brand experiences, so ecommerce shops that need to differentiate (who doesn’t!) can create the perfect website. Rich merchandising features like parallax scrolling, GIFs, animations, and video can typically be difficult to add exactly where you’d like them using Shopify’s native capabilities (and almost always mean significant trade-offs when it comes to site speed).

But, with a decoupled frontend for your ecommerce site, you can add dynamic interactions and rich merchandising features with zero reduction in page load times.

61114414638de12ee212c985 stikwood Shopify speed optimization
Shogun customer, Stikwood’s frontend powered by PWA technology allows for lightning-fast load times, even despite all the creative video they’ve got.

Going headless empowers your brand’s marketing team

Headless platforms like Shogun Frontend allow for advanced site and content management by an agile marketing team.

For example, marketing teams with a flexible frontend solution can quickly and independently make changes to a website page, and add whole new pages, all without needing tons of code or burdening developer teams.

613267eadcb01d20c4be406e Experience20Manager20In Blog20Image Shopify speed optimization
With Shogun Frontend’s Experience Manager, teams can work with codeless sections for site updates and structure.

Now, your marketing team can create and add a banner across the site or complete quick site-wide promotional changes without code. In short, marketing teams can use headless commerce to speed up time to market, and run site-wide promotions more independently. More control over your site’s presentation layer, with a whole lot less code.

#cta-mini-fe#Find out if your store is a good fit for headless commerce.Take the quiz

Headless commerce via Shogun Frontend speeds up Shopify sites

Overall, Google’s update at the end of summer 2021 prioritizes site speed as one of the top factors helping your store appear in search, but focusing on speed alone won’t be enough on its own over time.

Now, your brand needs to consider a holistic experience that emphasizes fast load times and effortless experiences. And this is exactly where going headless can help your brand.

If you’ve scaled past the point of implementing just minor tweaks for site speed (compressing your images, optimizing your CDN provider), headless commerce via PWA can be a great long-term solution for Shopify speed optimization while also helping you customize your site to your vision.

#cta-visual-fe#<cta-title>The ultimate Shopify page speed boost<cta-title>Shogun Frontend enables sub-second page loads for Shopify merchants.Learn more

The Shogun Team

Shogun's team is full of whipsmart ecommerce experts, dedicated to making the process of building and customizing your Shopify store simpler, faster, and more intuitive.

The latest ecomm tips sent to your inbox

share this post

You might also like

Advanced Multi-store Discounts

[go_pricing id="pba-discounts"]

We use cookies to store data for analytics, marketing and personalization to give you a better experience while visiting our website. By remaining on this website, you indicate your consent.
We use cookies to store data for analytics, marketing and personalization to give you a better experience while visiting our website. By remaining on this website, you indicate your consent.

Cookie Settings is not available. Cookie Consent is disabled or is just disabled for your country.