Best 8 CMS for Shopify in 2023
Shopify offers a range of benefits for businesses as a high-volume, enterprise-level eCommerce platform. From its customizable checkout process to its scalable infrastructure, Shopify is designed to handle the needs of large and growing businesses.
However, managing and organizing the content on your Shopify store can be challenging with such a large volume of products and customers. That's where a Content Management System (CMS) comes in.
A CMS can help you manage and organize large amounts of content and customize the look and feel of your Shopify store. Several CMS options are available for Shopify, each with its features and capabilities.
In this article, we'll explore the top Shopify CMS options and provide some best practices for using a headless CMS with this powerful eCommerce platform so you can start leveraging headless commerce rightaway.
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Can’t you use Shopify as your CMS?
While Shopify is primarily an eCommerce platform, it does have some built-in content management capabilities. For example, businesses can create and publish pages, blog posts, and other types of content using Shopify's online editor.
However, there are some drawbacks to using Shopify as a full-fledged content management system (CMS):
Limited customization options: While Shopify allows businesses to customize their store's look and feel, the options are relatively little compared to a dedicated CMS platform. This can make it difficult for brands to achieve the specific design and layout they want for their store.
Not so many content types: Shopify is geared towards eCommerce content, such as products, orders, and customers. While it does allow businesses to create and publish other types of content, like pages and blog posts, the options are relatively basic compared to a dedicated CMS platform.
Lack of integrations and extensions: Shopify has a limited number of integrations and extensions compared to a dedicated CMS platform. This can make it harder for businesses to add additional functionality or connect with other systems and platforms.
Gets slow over time: Shopify stores can experience slower load times if they have a large amount of content or high traffic volumes. This is because Shopify has limited caching options compared to a dedicated CMS platform, which can store and serve content more efficiently.
Limited control over server resources: Because Shopify stores are hosted on the company's own servers, businesses may need more control over the resources and infrastructure that support their store. This can make it more challenging to optimize speed and performance, especially for online stores with high traffic volumes.
What is Shopify Plus?
Shopify Plus is like Shopify on steroids –or headless Shopify if you’re into that. Basically, it builds on top of Shopify’s battle-tested features and unlocks access to Shopify’s storefront API. Shopify Plus API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of tools and protocols that allows businesses to programmatically access and manage their Shopify store data.
This can be useful for businesses that want to automate tasks, integrate with other systems and platforms, or build custom applications on top of their Shopify headless platform.
💡Using the Shopify Plus API, online stores can access and modify a wide range of data on their store, including products, orders, customers, and more. It also includes features like webhooks, which allow businesses to receive real-time updates about changes to their store data.
Differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus
Customizable checkout process: With Shopify Plus, businesses can customize the checkout process to match their brand and preferences. This can include adding custom fields, modifying the layout, and integrating with other systems and platforms.
Scalable infrastructure: Shopify Plus is designed to handle large volumes of traffic and transactions without slowing down or crashing. This makes it a reliable and scalable solution for businesses with growing online sales.
Advanced reporting and analytics: Shopify Plus offers advanced reporting and analytics tools, which can help businesses track and understand their sales, customer behavior, and other key metrics.
24/7 support: Shopify Plus includes dedicated account management and technical support, which can help businesses get the assistance they need to run their online store smoothly.
The importance of a headless CMS for Shopify Plus stores
A headless or API-based CMS is a content management system that uses Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to communicate with other systems and platforms.
Headless CMSs play well with a Shopify app, as it offers several benefits over traditional, monolithic CMS platforms where a single source manages everything, from content management to order management and payment gateways.
One of the main benefits of doing a Shopify integration with a headless CMS is that stores can scale tremendously. Shopify Plus stores can handle large traffic and transactions as a high-volume, enterprise-level eCommerce platform.
When coupled with a headless platform and a deployment platform like Vercel or Netlify, your Shopify storefront can handle almost any volume of traffic and data without slowing down or crashing, making it a more reliable and scalable solution for eCommerce stores looking to scale.
Another benefit of an API-based CMS for a Shopify Plus eCommerce website is its flexibility. An API-based CMS can easily integrate with other systems and platforms, such as marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) tools. This can help businesses streamline their processes and work more efficiently.
In addition, an API-based CMS can be more cost-effective than a traditional, monolithic CMS platform. Because it uses APIs to communicate with other systems, an API-based CMS can be more modular and require less upfront investment, helping you build a composable commerce platform.
🛍️ Read more: What is a headless CMS?
Top headless CMS options for Shopify Plus
Agility CMS is a flexible, API-driven content platform allowing businesses to manage and deliver content across multiple channels and devices. It offers a range of features and integrations and is a popular choice for brands building a Shopify site.
There are several reasons why Agility CMS might be a good option to use with Shopify Plus:
Visual editor: Agility offers a visual editor that allows Shopify users to create and edit content using a drag-and-drop interface.
Content modeling: Agility allows brands to create custom content models to match their specific needs and goals.
Multi-language support: Agility supports multiple languages, allowing store owners to easily create and manage content in multiple languages.
Integration with other systems: Agility can easily integrate with other systems and platforms, such as eCommerce platforms like Shopify Plus.
Support and resources: Agility offers a range of support and resources to help businesses get the most out of their platform. This can be especially useful for businesses using Shopify Plus, which includes dedicated account management and technical support.
Prismic is a headless CMS that gives you all the power and flexibility necessary to create unique digital experiences. It integrates seamlessly with your Shopify website so that you can manage your content and store it from one central location.
Some key features of Prismic that work well with Shopify Plus include:
Intuitive user interface: Prismic's user interface is designed with usability in mind. It's easy to navigate, making it simple for users to find what they're looking for without getting lost in a sea of menus and options.
Flexible data modeling: Prismic is a headless CMS, meaning there are no predefined data structures or constraints on how you store your content. This allows you to structure your data exactly how you want it.
Powerful APIs: Prismic also provides powerful APIs that allow developers to access their data from any platform or language they choose. These APIs make it easier for developers to query their data and quickly build custom applications.
Omnichannel content delivery: Prismic CMS also offers flexible content delivery capabilities. This means you can easily and quickly deliver tailored shopping experiences to your customers based on their location or device type.
Hygraph is a headless content platform that provides a GraphQL API for managing and delivering content across multiple channels and devices. GraphQL allows clients to query the data flexibly and retrieve only the data they need, making it ideal for customers who want to integrate it with their headless Shopify store.
Some key features of Hygraph that work well with Shopify Plus include:
Inventory management: Hygraph offers robust inventory management capabilities so that customers can easily find the products they are looking for. It also allows you to track stock levels, manage product descriptions, and set up reorder alerts when stock levels reach a certain threshold.
Marketing automation: Hygraph provides marketing automation tools that allow you to create targeted campaigns and track customer conversion rates across multiple channels. This helps you identify which tactics are working best so that you can focus your efforts on those strategies while optimizing your budget accordingly.
Personalization at scale: Delight your customers with personalization beyond their expectations. Using Hygraph, you can easily incorporate a CDP, DMP, and martech into your digital experience platform to create an outstanding customer experience.
Omnichannel content delivery: Be empowered to reach your customers in any way imaginable. Omni-channel content distribution allows you to share native material across all devices and locales –from websites and mobile phones to wearables, smart speakers, and more.
Sanity.io is a structured content platform for organizing and controlling content like text, images, media, and products. With Sanity Studio's open source, single page application, you can easily create a personalized editing environment in no time at all.
Some key features of Sanity that work well with Shopify Plus include:
Advanced content modeling: Sanity provides an advanced content modeling feature that makes creating custom content structures that fit your store needs. You can use this feature to create custom fields and types and organize them into collections that can be used across multiple stores.
Advanced Content Delivery Network (CDN): Sanity's CDN is designed to optimize performance and scalability for eCommerce businesses by allowing them to serve their content directly from the edge of their network instead of relying on third-party services or web servers located in a single location.
Collaborative editing features: Sanity's collaborative editing features allow multiple users with varying access rights to manage data simultaneously without overwriting each other’s work or compromising security protocols.
Intuitive user interface: Sanity makes working with complex data structures easier than ever before; developers don't need advanced coding knowledge to use Sanity effectively.
Strapi is an open-source headless CMS designed with eCommerce stores in mind. It allows users to manage their online store’s content quickly and provides a wide range of features and tools to help make the process easier. With Strapi, users can create pages, products, collections, customers, orders, and more in one place.
Some key features of Strapi that work well with Shopify Plus include:
Open source platform: You can customize Strapi’s code to fit your exact needs without having to pay for expensive licenses or be locked into restrictive contracts. Additionally, you can access all the latest features as soon as the Strapi community releases them.
Flexibility: In addition to its core features, such as content management, user management, and media library integration, you can extend its capabilities through plugins and APIs. Suppose you have specific requirements or needs for your Shopify storefront, such as payment processing or analytics integration. In that case, you can easily find a plugin or API that will meet those requirements.
Powerful analytics: Strapi allows businesses to track customer behavior on their websites to understand better how customers interact with their products or services. This data can be used to optimize the user experience on the site and improve marketing campaigns or product offerings based on customer feedback or preferences.
Wide range of plugins and extensions: Strapi provides a wide range of plugins and extensions that allow users to customize their websites more efficiently.
Storyblok is a solid companion for businesses looking to streamline their content management. Its intuitive visual composer lets users preview changes before publishing, allowing them to create amazing web pages with just a few clicks.
Some key features of Storyblok that work well with Shopify Plus include:
Simple integration process: Storyblok stands out from other CMSs because it allows you to create a website without having to write any code. It also has an easy integration process that can be completed in minutes without additional plugins or third-party tools.
Customizable platform: Storyblok is extremely customizable, allowing you to tailor your site to meet the needs of your eCommerce store. With drag-and-drop ease, you can easily add features such as payment gateways, product reviews, shipping options, taxes, and more.
Scalable: Storyblok also offers scalability solutions so that your eCommerce store can grow with your business. With its “decoupled architecture” design, Storyblok ensures its performance remains consistent even as traffic levels increase and data needs expand.
Custom webhooks: You can easily automate shipping notifications or order confirmations. Automating these mundane tasks frees up more time to focus on other aspects of running an eCommerce store, like product selection or marketing strategies, instead of spending hours updating customer information after every sale.
Directus is an open-source headless content management system (CMS) designed specifically for developers who need to build and manage custom digital experiences quickly. Unlike other CMSs, its headless architecture allows you to integrate it with any frontend framework or language easily. This makes it perfect for powering dynamic web applications and custom websites.
Some key features of Directus that work well with Shopify Plus include:
Customization options: Directus offers extensive customization options that make it easy to tailor your website's look and feel to your specifications. You can quickly create custom pages and templates with a drag-and-drop builder and an intuitive user interface. Directus’s API endpoints allow developers to access all the underlying data to customize the system further.
Scalability: Directus has been developed with scalability in mind, so you don't have to worry about outgrowing it in the future. The platform allows you to add or modify new features without disruption or downtime easily. And, since Directus runs on AWS, you can seamlessly scale up or down as needed without worrying about server costs or maintenance.
Security: Directus provides excellent security features such as SSL encryption, two-factor authentication, and regular security updates, providing peace of mind when dealing with sensitive customer data. Additionally, Directus is built on top of a powerful caching engine that ensures lightning-fast load times and smooth performance even during peak traffic times.
Analytics: its built-in analytics dashboard provides real-time insights into customer behavior so merchants can make data-driven decisions about optimizing their store.
Dato CMS is an open-source content management system that enables users to store, manage, and publish content on their websites or applications. It is built using Node.js and React, two popular frameworks used in web development. While it allows users to create custom designs and layouts, it also offers pre-built templates that make setting up a website quickly easier.
Some key features of Dato CMS that work well with Shopify Plus include:
Feature-rich platform: Dato CMS has a wide range of features built into its platform, which makes it ideal for eCommerce stores. Most notably, its editing features allow you to create and manage product pages from within the system. In addition, the ability to customize content fields, create custom templates and deploy powerful APIs makes managing complex product data easier.
Easy setup and maintenance: Dato CMS was designed with ease of use in mind, and it shows. Setting up your store takes only minutes, and once you have done so, you can easily add new products or edit existing ones without having to dive into code or hire developers whenever you want to make changes.
Integration with other platforms: The real power of Dato CMS lies in its integration capabilities with other platforms such as Shopify. With these integrations, you can easily sync all your product data between the two systems in real-time.
High performance: Dato CMS ensures your site runs quickly and efficiently by caching all published content on its servers. This ensures that your website will remain responsive and performant no matter how many visitors you have.
💪🏽 Read more: Top Headless CMS for Jamstack in 2023
Best practices when using a headless CMS and Shopify Plus
A CMS can help you manage and organize large amounts of content, but it's important to have a clear strategy. This sounds like a no-brainer, but when choosing a CMS, it's essential to consider your specific business needs and goals as a Shopify user.
Some things to consider include:
The level of customization you want to be able to do
The volume of products and customers you have
The types of content you need to manage
The overall ease of use of the CMS
The integration with Shopify Plus
Leverage your visual editor as much as you can
Add custom pages and navigation menus if you choose a headless platform with a visual editor to change your store's layout and design. You can also use a CMS to manage and optimize your store's content for search engines and add features like email marketing and abandoned cart recovery.
Choose the technology stack that best suits your online store
Many CMS platforms offer integrations with other systems and tools, such as marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) tools. These integrations can help businesses streamline their processes and work more efficiently. For example, you could use an integration to automatically send email marketing campaigns to customers who have abandoned their carts.
Create a content calendar
A content calendar can help you plan and organize your content and product releases in advance. This can be especially useful for managing businesses with a large volume of products and content. Consider using a content calendar to schedule and plan your blog posts, product releases, and other types of content.
Use analytics and data to inform your content strategy
A CMS can provide valuable insights and data about your store and customers. Use this data to inform your content strategy and make data-driven decisions about what types of content to create and publish. For example, you could use data about customer behavior and search trends to identify popular topics and keywords to target in your content.
Use modular and composable technology
Composable technologies are modular and can be mixed and matched to create custom solutions. This allows businesses to tailor their technology stack to their needs and goals rather than being limited to a pre-built, monolithic platform. In addition, composable technologies can integrate other systems and platforms.
👓 Read more: What is composable architecture?
Using a headless CMS with Shopify can offer many benefits for businesses, like customizability, advanced reporting, and scalable infrastructure, among many others.
A headless CMS can help businesses streamline their processes, easily manage and deliver their content across multiple channels and devices, customize their content management system to their specific needs, and easily integrate with other systems and platforms.
When selecting the best headless CMS for your business, several options exist. The most important considerations are integration, customization, scalability, support, and resources.
In our opinion, Shopify's most popular headless CMS options are Agility, Prismic, Hygraph, Strapi, Directus, Sanity, DatoCMS, and Storyblok.
Ultimately, the best CMS for your business will depend on your specific needs and goals. Therefore, it's essential to evaluate the features and capabilities of each CMS to determine which one best meets the needs of your business.
Then, by understanding the options and comparing the features, you can select the headless CMS that will provide the perfect balance of flexibility and scalability to your Shopify website.
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