Back To Online Store 2.0, Should You?
Nov 23, 2023
By Paul Phan3 mins read
Back To Online Store 2.0, Should You?

In 2015, all we talked about was going headless. Fast forward to 2023, all we talk about is going back to Online Store 2.0.

Going back to OS is a logical choice for many use cases. However, you don’t simply go back from Headless to OS. Just like you don’t simply find a solution first, and then a problem later.

Don’t get me wrong, hashtag#backtoOS has its merits.

Headless used to be hard and expensive. In the past, it came with a huge tradeoff: You have a performant, flexible, content-rich storefront, but you also have to bear a hefty server expense. For instance, deploying on Next Commerce meant using Vercel, and the costs escalated rapidly as you scale. Additionally, the monthly charges for headless CMSs like Sanity or Contentful were not budget-friendly, at all.

Going back to OS made even more sense when Shopify rolled out a horde of powerful features like Section Everywhere, Native Metafields definition, and metaobjects.

Making a content-rich Shopify store is suddenly easier. You don’t need to go headless unless you have really niche requirements, or you prioritize speed like no one else. You also save a fortune on server hosting and maintenance because Shopify Oxygen does this for free. Section Everywhere can do what most headless CMS can do when combined with metaobjects and meta fields. So you save another fortune. More importantly, merchants now have theme customize to manage content.

There seems to be no reason not to go back to OS 2.0.

But it’s not that easy. Staying on OS is easy. Staying on OS is likely a good choice, but that doesn’t mean going back from headless is also a good choice. The migration process is especially burdensome for Plus merchants with a huge amount of content. Converting from React to Liquid also equals clipping the Product team’s wings: They are used to balance creativity with optimal performance, and now they have to choose one. Going back from headless to OS meant a momentous shift in workflow, architecture, and team collaboration. It takes time, effort and resources. It’s never the no-brainer as the trend portrays.

If you want to move back to OS, but without bearing the cost, what do you do?

Shameless plug here: This is a problem I thought about a lot before building Weaverse, and now I really believe merchants can ripe the benefits from both worlds, by using Weaverse with Shopify Hydrogen and Oxygen.

  • With Weaverse, you have a theme customizer that works just like OS 2.0. Same effort, but with superior output, you have a Hydrogen storefront that’s lightning-fast and versatile.

  • You can also define Section Schema just like Liquid, making Weaverse friendly to developers who eat and sleep Liquid.

  • Migration from React to React is more straightforward and cost-effective than from React to Liquid. - Deployment to Oxygen is free. Plus, when you use Weaverse, you no longer have to bear the financial burden of server expenses and headless CMS tools.

    Of course, even this solution is not a silver bullet. Every solution means you give up some to gain some, but sometimes it might be best to opt for the one with the least amount of trade-off. :)