What Is Shopify Hydrogen? Fourmeta's Guide 2022
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What Is Shopify Hydrogen? Fourmeta's Guide 2022

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Chances are that you’ve heard about Shopify’s latest developments, Hydrogen and Oxygen. Do you know why Shopify Hydrogen is going to change the world of ecommerce? To answer this question, as well as to explain how Hydrogen will impact your store, check out our latest article.

Shopify Hydrogen - Next Step in the Evolution of Your Business

Every so often, there is a leap in technology that changes how business works. Those who are quick to recognize this leap are able to make savvy decisions which result in smarter investments and healthy profits. Hydrogen is that leap in the world of ecommerce. Shopify Hydrogen is a React-based framework for developing bespoke online shops on Shopify. It combines all the elements, structures, and tools developers need to get up and running quickly while still providing the greatest possible customised user experience.

You might have read that definition and explanation and asked yourself, "But what does that really mean? How does that affect me as a Shopify store owner?" In this blog article, we will break down what Shopify Hydrogen is (without getting into the "techy" details), why it's an excellent step for Shopify, and why it will play a massive role in increasing sales for Shopify store owners.

Why the Need For Hydrogen

The ecommerce business is showing tremendous growth year over year. And with that growth comes increased competition. In order for your Shopify store to stay ahead of the curve, you need to be able to provide a level of customisation and user experience that is unmatched by your competitors.

If you want to succeed in the world of ecommerce, you must keep up with the latest trends and technologies. We all know that a shopper is fickle: he is easily scared off by a slow, unresponsive, or frustrating user experience. If you are not providing the latest in UX, you are in danger of being left behind. This means you constantly have to be on the watch and make sure you are providing a top-notch customer experience while keeping a reasonable cost.

Shopify's mission has always been to make commerce better for everyone. Speed and performance can make or break your store. Out of the need to give you the best possible chance for success, Hydrogen was born. And with Shopify Hydrogen, they are making a very strong push to provide the absolute best user experience for both store owners and shoppers.

What is Shopify Hydrogen?

Shopify Hydrogen is a new JavaScript and React-based framework for creating customised stores on Shopify. Shopify currently offers Shopify Liquid, the platform's in-house scripting language, for site development. Although Liquid is a capable programming language, its usage has several limits.

JavaScript is the most popular programming language in the world, and React is a JavaScript library that allows developers to create user interfaces. By using Hydrogen, Shopify will be able to provide store owners with an unprecedented level of customisation for their stores.

This is a massive shift for Shopify as they move away from Liquid and towards JavaScript. It opens up a world of possibilities for what store owners can do with their stores and how they can interact with their customers.

Shopify has always allowed for a headless approach, meaning that the front-end (what the customer sees) is separate from the back-end (where all of the data and files are stored). This separation allows for a great deal of flexibility and customisation, as the front-end can be completely customised without affecting the back-end. 

Furthermore, the headless approach has numerous advantages over Liquid. We won’t go into a ton of detail (we’ve already done that in our amazing Headless Whitepaper), but one of the biggest advantages of headless is performance. You may reach page speeds of several hundred milliseconds by utilising the newest technologies to generate static pages and caching. You can’t even come close to such speeds with Liquid. Pair that with endless customisation options, and you’ve got one powerful Shopify store.

We’ve written an outstanding 32-page ultimate guide exploring the headless build, which you can download here. It clearly explains the headless architecture, the differences between the traditional and the headless approach, and all the benefits that come with it. You will also learn how we apply the headless build when working with our clients to increase their conversion rates, drive traffic to their Shopify stores, and increase sales and revenue.

Shopify Hydrogen takes this one step further by allowing store owners to use React components to completely customise the look and feel of their store. React, as seen in Shopify Plus and headless, provides customers with versatile, distinctive, and scalable ecommerce solutions. This means that store owners will no longer be restricted to the "theme" that they have selected for their store. Instead, they will be able to create a completely unique user experience for their shoppers.

What is Shopify Oxygen

Now that we know what Hydrogen is, let's briefly discuss Shopify Oxygen. If at this point, you are experiencing traumatic flashbacks to your chemistry class, you can relax. We won't bore you with a long-winded lecture about the periodic table of elements. This will be quick, we promise.

Shopify Oxygen is simply a hosting service that allows users to host their bespoke stores within the Shopify platform. Currently, the only downside of the headless approach is that a third party hosting provider is required. Shopify Oxygen eliminates this need by allowing store owners to host their Hydrogen storefronts on Shopify servers.

This is a massive benefit for store owners, as it simplifies the process of setting up and managing a headless store. It also allows Shopify to provide a higher level of customer support, as they can directly assist store owners with any issues they may be having.

Shopify is banking big on Hydrogen and Oxygen and has hundreds of local servers distributed worldwide. This means incredible speeds and performance!

What This Means For You

Above, we've already discussed the importance of staying on top of trends and ecommerce standards. For example, just look at what happens to businesses that accept only a few payment methods. They often lose out on business opportunities and sales while their competitors flourish. The same can be said for those who don't invest in a mobile-friendly website. Google sees this as a huge ranking factor, and those who don't comply are penalised accordingly.

The same principles apply to Shopify store owners. As the platform continues to evolve, staying ahead of the curve and keeping your store up-to-date is essential.

Shopify Hydrogen and Shopify Oxygen are two of the most significant changes we've seen to the platform in recent years, and they are sure to have a major impact on the ecommerce landscape.

So, the million-dollar question is, "What does this mean for me as a Shopify store owner?"

In short, taking advantage of Shopify Hydrogen and Oxygen means that you will be able to provide a level of customisation and user experience for your shoppers that was previously impossible.

Think about the possibilities:

The bottom line is this: Shopify Hydrogen will allow you to create a shopping experience for your customers that is unrivaled by your competitors.

If you are serious about succeeding in the world of ecommerce, you need to be at the forefront of technology and innovation. Shopify Hydrogen is a significant step forward for the platform, and it is something that all Shopify store owners should be excited about.

Bottom Line

This cutting edge, game-changing technology is yet to be fully released. However, Fourmeta has set a goal of being at the forefront of the Hydrogen revolution. Fourmeta has been a proud partner of Shopify for several years. We know all the ins and outs of Shopify and believe us, we can't wait for Hydrogen to go fully live. Our developers have been studying and mastering the code so that we can hit the ground running once Hydrogen is unleashed. We already have an R&D project built on Shopify Hydrogen that will radically change product display and customisation (stay tuned for more updates).

We are sure that Hydrogen will propel Shopify stores to new heights by allowing stores to sell massive amounts of products yet not sacrifice the performance of the store. If you want to learn how the headless approach and Shopify Hydrogen can transform your store, please contact us to schedule a free consultation.

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Fourmeta's Guide to Increasing Shopify Store Sales

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