Shopify empowers developers to build fully customized e-commerce experiences by leveraging three key APIs: Storefront API, Admin API, and Payment API. Each API targets specific functionalities, interfacing with different parts of the Shopify ecosystem. This approach allows developers to craft unique shops for each and every business needs and is known as "Headless" solution.

What is Shopify’s Headless solution?

Shopify opens the door to a unique approach with its "headless solution." But what does that really mean? Well, it's like having the freedom to craft your own tailored shopping experience using the various APIs Shopify provides.

You gain access to all your product information, orders, client-facing resources, and essential features like checkout and payment solutions. Keep in mind, though, some exclusive features, such as Multipass, are reserved for Shopify Plus users – we'll get into that later in this post.

Why would you go for it?

Choosing Shopify's Headless solution brings forth several compelling reasons. You can trust that many crucial (and often delicate) aspects of a robust e-commerce platform are already taken care of, ensuring smooth functionality.

Consider the handling of sensitive customer and payment data. Shopify’s APIs take care of this heavy lifting seamlessly – from authenticating your customers to managing product information and overseeing the entire purchase flow, from aisle to checkout, metaphorically speaking.

All of this is accomplished while empowering you to construct your unique front-end solution, providing your user base with the tailored experience you envision.

By opting for Shopify's Headless Solution, you not only save time, money, and development resources but also do so with the confidence of building on a solid and guaranteed foundation.

How to go about it?

First and foremost you will need a Shopify Partner account.

This account will allow you to create custom apps within your store. Through these apps, you gain the ability to define access scopes for your API credentials that connect your client side app to your store’s data.

These access scopes provide a finely-tuned approach, allowing you to specify precisely what actions or data an app can interact with, ensuring a robust and secure connection.

The Storefront API:

A GraphQL API that presents you with the essential features for the customer-facing side of the commerce experience, covering everything from handling products and adding them to the cart to ultimately creating a checkout instance to complete the purchase.

Interacting with this API allows you to execute various queries and mutations (operations that GraphQL uses to create and update data).

The Admin API

Supporting both REST and GraphQL, the Admin API provides access to and modification capabilities for the inventory data, as well as products, orders, shipping and other pertinent store information.

This is the API you’d want to use if you’re interested in expanding your Shopify Admin platform’s functionalities.

The Payments Apps API

Another GraphQL API empowering you to resolve, pend, or reject payments sessions. Additionaly, you can use this API to reject or resolve captures, refunds, and void sessions.

This is an advanced feature and won't be covered in the article, but you can most definitely read more about it here.

The Multipass API

Multipass serves as a convenient tool to enhance the user experience for your customer base. It achieves this by seamlessly creating a Shopify user session, allowing users to make purchases through your headless web application without the hassle of manual Shopify logins.

When a user employs their credentials on your separate app, Multipass checks for a match and establishes a user session.

In cases where no match is found for the user, Multipass goes the extra mile, creating a customer account for those credentials and automatically authenticating them. The beauty of it? No need for users to go through the process of registering as new customers.

It's important to note that this feature is an exclusive perk for those who are part of the Shopify Plus plan.

Considerations for Checkout and Payments

Given the sensitive nature of payment-related data, Shopify maintains stringent standards on how modifications to their checkout and payments experience are allowed.

In the realm of a headless Shopify web app, the conventional approach to the purchase process often involves redirecting the user to a checkout instance within the native Shopify Store.

For scenarios where completing the checkout process without exiting your application is crucial, Shopify provides an alternative through their Payments Apps. These apps undergo thorough a thorough review and validation by the Shopify’s team, ensuring a secure and reliable solution.


Opting for a headless approach with Shopify emerges as a brilliant and savvy strategy for tackling e-commerce. It empowers you to maintain the distinctive character of your brand through customized user interfaces and experiences, all without the necessity to overhaul the fundamental structural and logical aspects inherent to any business of this nature.

Consider it a streamlined solution, sparing you both time and costs, particularly during the initial implementation phase of your app.

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