Shopify Hydrogen: An Ultimate Guide

Shopify Hydrogen - An Ultimate Guide

In this era full of divergent competitors, no Shopify store owner would prefer keeping their store’s main page or product pages similar to their competitors. Today, everyone prefers to establish a unique identity in the marketplace and wants their store to be customized and appealing.

And if you’re looking to build a customized storefront, you must look outside the pre-made stores. That’s because a pre-made store or theme won’t let you customize the storefront as you want.

Now, as Shopify has moved towards headless commerce, it is an opportunity for merchants to leverage the benefits of this since it helps businesses to become more dynamic.

With Shopify’s Hydrogen, you can get options to go beyond what Shopify’s standard frontend provides.

So, what exactly is Hydrogen? How does this work? What are its pros and cons? How can it benefit your business?

We understand there would be millions of thoughts running through your head right now, but we are here to help you know everything about it.  

What is Shopify Hydrogen?

Shopify Hydrogen is a react-based framework that is used for building customized stores on Shopify. The main goal behind the introduction of Hydrogen is to build unique Shopify custom storefronts quicker.

Earlier, Shopify store development was available only with Liquid (Shopify’s coding language). Despite Liquid being a coding solution for Shopify, it imposes certain restrictions, particularly regarding the performance of the site.

With the introduction of React, unique storefronts can be created easily. Also, it has resulted in improving the user experience on Shopify stores.

Before the introduction of Hydrogen, the developers had to choose between blazing fast loading speed and intuitive user interfaces.

Now, with the help of Shopify Hydrogen, one can create unique and dynamic storefronts without sacrificing the performance of the store.

In simpler terms, Shopify Hydrogen offers a speedy user experience with the world’s best store merchant functionalities.

What is Shopify Oxygen?

Shopify Oxygen is a hosting alternative to the Shopify storefronts. When we talk about delivering blazing-fast speed to the Shopify storefronts, Shopify Oxygen wins the race.

The introduction of Shopify Oxygen aimed to manage storefronts that generate large traffic volumes. At this time, the speed of the store gradually decreases. Thus, Oxygen prevents your store from crashing and offers the best experience to the users and customers.

Moreover, Shopify’s Oxygen eliminates the need for maintaining the server infrastructure while you deploy customized Hydrogen storefronts.

How does Shopify Hydrogen work?

Just like other headless e-commerce solutions, Shopify Hydrogen uses a React framework that helps create customized online storefronts.

One of the reasons why Shopify built the Hydrogen framework is that they discovered that the Jamstack framework that was used for building Shopify storefronts wasn’t ideal for the platform.

When you proceed to a Hydrogen Shopify storefront from your Liquid-based storefront, the store’s frontend is only connected to the backend via APIs.

Shopify Hydrogen contains some pre-built hooks that map straight into your backend for a smooth transition to headless.

What are the Pros & Cons of Shopify’s Hydrogen?

Everything in this world has its own set of pros and cons. Similarly, Shopify Hydrogen possesses its own advantages and disadvantages.

Let’s get started with them.

Pros of Shopify Hydrogen

Undoubtedly, Shopify has given a number of reasons to prefer Hydrogen. Below are some of the most important pros of using Shopify Hydrogen.

  • Beginner Friendly: If you are just starting up with Hydrogen, you will get various stunning templates and demo stores in your starter package. It will be helpful for you to get pre-built elements for your store, but still, you need to create certain components by yourself.
  • React JS: As mentioned above in the blog, Shopify Hydrogen uses the React framework. It is great for creating high-performing and customizable store frontends.
  • Reuse The Components You Build: When you get a starter pack at hand, you can develop components that you may reuse later in your storefront.
  • Pre-Built Apps: You can find many Shopify applications that are linked with Hydrogen. It includes some of the most popular apps such as Klaviyo, Nosto, Gorgias, Recharge, Contentful, Sanity, and more.

Cons of Shopify Hydrogen

Along with the benefits, there are some drawbacks of Hydrogen too. It is vital that you learn about it before you prefer going headless with Hydrogen.

  • Know-How of Tech Knowledge is a Must: You would be knowing that Shopify is easy-to-use with its drag-and-drop tool. But when it comes to Shopify Hydrogen, only an individual who has technical skills will be able to build the store. Any individual with non-tech savvy background won’t be able to make changes to the store’s frontend.
  • No Store Preview: When you’re creating a customized storefront on Hydrogen, you will get no options for getting the store’s preview. This is an issue for the team members with no tech know-how. 
  • Poor Support for Third-party apps: For certain apps, APIs aren’t available, and thus, you have to develop your own API to use any Shopify app.
  • Supports Web Storefronts only: With Shopify Hydrogen, you can only build a web storefront. You can’t build storefronts for mobile devices, applications, or video games.

How Does Shopify Hydrogen Benefit Your Business?

If you’re thinking to establish a custom storefront for your business, there’s nothing better than opting for Shopify Hydrogen.

Do you want to know why?

Let’s get into it!

1. More Design Flexibility

With Shopify Hydrogen, the frontend and backend of the Shopify store are separated and they communicate through APIs. This way, the storefronts are able to get diverse design options since the frontend is modified without affecting the backend.  

All credit goes to the headless approach, it gives you endless design options and also allows the stores to try out many layouts and content modifications.

Moreover, Shopify merchants who have no tech-related knowledge can easily drag and drop the layouts or use any pre-built templates and blocks to build new store pages. With that, you can easily create and publish new UX/UI designs that can give your customers an engaging purchasing experience.

2. Optimize Site Performance

Shopify Hydrogen helps improve the website performance drastically.

By following the headless approach of Shopify Hydrogen, you acquire the ability to unlock the blazing-fast speed of a web page, despite all the dynamic content, features, and functionalities.

Getting your storefront designed on Shopify Hydrogen can help you minimize the page loading speed from a few seconds to some milliseconds.

In simpler terms, Shopify Hydrogen allows you to create fully customized and dynamic store content that can be worked on properly without hindering the website’s speed and performance. With that, your store visitors and customers will have a great experience in the store.

3. Fast Development Process

Shopify Hydrogen offers hooks and utilities that make development faster than usual. The reason is Shopify’s foundational tech stack and commerce capabilities that help speed up the frontend development. Also, it works with the store’s API to retrieve the data quickly.

Shopify’s components and hooks that are included in Hydrogen are quite simple and easy to use. It allows merchants to design endlessly with ready-to-use UI components.

In addition to this, Shopify Hydrogen helps reduces the complexity of the third-party integrations for creating a customized storefront.

4. Better Customization

Creating personalized experiences for the visitors or customers helps boost the ROI, increase order value, and retain more customers in the store.

With Shopify Hydrogen, any store merchant can easily create and host customized stores. Also, developers won’t have to worry about creating complex designs for the store and pay more attention to creating personalized user experiences.

Hydrogen makes it possible for merchants to create custom storefronts and dynamic content. One can easily design the blocks on the store’s page. Besides, you can even create discount blocks for the customers and give them the best shopping experience in your store.

5. Demo Store template

Shopify Hydrogen provides a Demo Store template which makes it easier for the merchants to build custom storefronts. In addition to this, it gives a full shopping experience just from the demo.

The Tailwind CSS utility package that’s included in the framework allows you to style or customize the Demo store template. It allows you to reuse certain elements with specific objectives without modifying the CSS classes. Also, you can design your style or utilize Tailwind’s library. 

Conclusion

For e-commerce stores, Hydrogen provides a new sector of opportunities. It offers various design options, better loading speed, and the capacity to customize the shopping journeys of the customers.

No doubt, there are different approaches as well, but Shopify Hydrogen is a game-changer that we all wish to see in the future. Following it can you one step ahead of your competitors.

If you wish to have endless design opportunities, blazing-fast speed, and full control over the store to deliver a better experience to the customers, Shopify Hydrogen can help you.

If you’re looking for a team to help you go headless with Shopify, let our developers help you. Reach out to us today!

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