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Shopify Liquid vs Shopify Hydrogen: Which should your brand choose?

by Eliran Siboni9 March 2023 3 Min Read

If you’re thinking of launching an e-commerce business or building out your existing business to include a D2C sales function, you've probably already considered Shopify.

Established in 2006, Shopify is a cloud-based e-commerce platform that lets users build and manage online stores. Its comprehensive range of features makes it the go-to platform for over 4.5 million e-commerce sites. It’s what we used when we helped Caroline Hirons launch her industry-first Skin Rocks app. 

Shopify offers two build options: Shopify Liquid and Shopify Hydrogen. So which version should you go with?

Shopify Liquid

Shopify Liquid is a template language written in Ruby and created by Shopify. You might even say it’s the OG Shopify.

Pros 🟢

  • Easy to use: Shopify Liquid is designed to be easy to use, even for people with little or no technical expertise. This means that merchants can set up and manage their e-commerce site with minimal assistance from developers.

  • Plug-and-play: Shopify's Liquid comes with a variety of built-in features and functionalities, such as product pages, shopping carts, and checkout pages. These features are ready to use out-of-the-box, which means that merchants can start selling their products right away.

Cons 🔴

  • Limited customisation: While Shopify Liquid allows for some customisation, merchants are limited to the templates and design options provided by Shopify. There is also some restriction on the code level and less access to the store's data.

Shopify Hydrogen

Shopify Hydrogen is a React-based framework for building dynamic, custom storefronts using Shopify’s foundational tech stack.

Pros 🟢

  • Customisable: With ShopiHydrogen, merchants have more freedom to customize the look and feel of their e-commerce site. This allows them to create a unique and distinctive online presence that stands out from their competitors.

  • Headless architecture: Hydrogen allows for a headless architecture, meaning that the front-end and back-end of the e-commerce site can be built and maintained separately. This allows for a more flexible and scalable solution that can accommodate more complex requirements.

  • Speed: Hydrogen is built on top of Shopify's powerful and scalable infrastructure, which means that it can handle high traffic and large amounts of data with ease.

  • Scalability: With Hydrogen, merchants can easily scale their e-commerce sites to accommodate growth and changes in their business.

Cons 🔴

  • Increased development resources required: Building a headless e-commerce site with Hydrogen requires more development resources. This may include more time and money spent on hiring developers and implementing the site.

Shopify Liquid vs Shopify Hydrogen: which to choose? 

With its easy-to-use design and plug-and-play functionality, Shopify Liquid is the perfect choice for merchants who are just getting started with e-commerce. If you’re low on resources and funds, choosing something more off-the-shelf is a safe bet. The same logic goes for leveraging off-the-shelf AI tools too.

Shopify Hydrogen is a good choice for merchants who have a specific vision for their e-commerce site and want more control over its design and functionality. The headless architecture gives you more freedom to build custom, unique e-commerce experiences for your brand.

Ultimately, the decision will depend on many factors such as the size of your business, your product offerings, and your budget. Whatever you do, make sure you consider the future growth and scalability of your business.

Loves to go into the depths of things: to explore, discover and solve things creatively. But I mainly love food.
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