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Best Headless CMSs to extend your Headless Shopify Plus eCommerce store

Published on August 31st, 2022 by Sahil Saini

A comparison of Hygraph, Contentful, Prismic, and Storyblok as Headless Shopify Plus Content Moderation Solutions.

Shopify’s native content fields can be limited for most eCommerce storefronts. For stores built on Shopify’s Liquid Theme, a simple search for Custom Fields can help overcome the need for better content segmentation and moderation. However, when evolving from the native Liquid Theme to a headless storefront built on React, the limitations of being restricted to Shopify’s ecosystem are removed. There’s a much wider array of more robust headless CMSs available to structure the information architecture for your Shopify Plus headless storefront. With more variety comes decision paralysis—about which Headless CMS will best suit your specific needs of managing content for pages, collections, and Product Details Pages (PDPs).

We will focus on four of the top headless CMSs in the market in this article: Contentful, Storyblok, hygraph (formerly GraphCMS), and Prismic. We will compare them across multiple categories of critical features. The main distinctions between these top headless CMSs for custom Shopify storefront development are highlighted in this post.

Pre-built integration

Choosing a content management system for a custom Shopify storefront begins with how it integrates with the Shopify environment; this category contrasts pre-built integrations of the headless CMS platforms under consideration.

  • Contentful: Contentful provides integration with headless Shopify through its Shopify App plugin. The plugin makes it simple to connect Shopify products, collections, and details to Contentful entries. It lets users preview their options and browse products from the Contentful interface.
  • Storyblok: Storyblok allows users to import their Shopify store data into the content management system using its e-commerce Field-Type plugin. Following the plugin installation, users must connect Storyblok to their Shopify store using the Shopify storefront access token. After that, they can use the Storyblok CMS to import, add, and manage Shopify products and collections.
  • Hygraph (formerly GraphCMS): To integrate Hygraph with headless Shopify, users must first create a self-hosted UI extension that will be configured to pick up details from the Shopify environment and load them into Hygraph. UI extension is a Hygraph feature that enables integration with third-party platforms. The feature is currently in a preview/beta phase.
  • Prismic: By following the step-by-step instructions on their website, users can interact with third-party services via Prismic’s Integration Fields feature. With the help of Integration Fields, users can push and pull data from a specific Shopify API endpoint. Because the Prismic Integration Fields is in the beta phase, it is not yet available to all users. However, there's an option to request access to the feature via the community forum.
  • Winner: Contentful

    With its easy-to-use Shopify App plugin, Contentful offers a seamless solution. For other CMS, certain configurations are necessary to make the headless Shopify integration function.

    Content Modeling

    Breaking down custom Shopify storefront content into simple chunks for improved user experience is one of the reasons for adopting a content management system. Therefore, content modeling is crucial to choosing the right headless CMS.

    • Contentful: Contentful divides content into "spaces" that group related resources for each project together. The spaces contain a content model that provides a variety of content types that allow users to store various types of content. Text, Rich Text, Numbers (Integer and Decimal), Date, Time, Location, Media (One or Many files), Boolean, JSON, and Array are among the available content fields.
  • Storyblok: Depending on the component of a custom Shopify storefront a user wants to design, Storyblok provides an elaborate selection of content structures called "Schema." Using Schema, users can specify page structures and constituent parts. It also provides an array of default content type blueprints that include:
  • Landing: to develop landing page content.
  • The graphical user interface (GUI) lets users set up the detailed content fields, including title, slug, default slug, creation and publish dates, language, and translated slugs.
  • Hygraph: Using Hygraph to create and manage content structures is a seamless process. Its Schema Builder feature enables users to sketch out content structures quickly. The Schema Builder has the following capabilities:
  • Field Validation: lets users specify which fields in a content model are required and how they should be formatted. 
  • The Hygraph Schema Builder gives users the flexibility needed to design unique content models.
  • Prismic: Prismic builds each component of a page structure as a “slice.” To set up a slice, users must:
  • Import the JSON code into the JSON editor.
  • After importing the custom-defined content structures into the JSON editor, other users will only see the graphical implementation of the defined content model.

    Winner: Hygraph

    While Storyblok competes effectively by offering highly customizable fields and a user-friendly interface to build content models, Hygraph's Schema Builder offers an even more sophisticated content modeling experience. In this instance, Contentful and Prismic demand the writing of custom codes, which may not be intuitive for all users.

    Content Governance (Roles & Permissions)

    It's critical that users can control how much access collaborators have, particularly when several employees playing various roles need to use the content management system. Consequently, role management is an additional important consideration when selecting a CMS for a headless Shopify storefront.

  • Storyblok: Users can declare different roles in Storyblok and assign permissions accordingly. Storyblok enables the association of multiple roles with each user account. It also allows users to hide content tabs for specific roles and permit specific content items.
  • Hygraph: Hygraph roles and permission features are grouped into four categories as follows:
  • Granular Permission: This allows developers to declare detailed roles and permissions programmatically.
  • Custom roles and permissions: It enables project admins and owners to manage the permissions of users based on their teams efficiently.
  • Conditional PermissionChecks: It allows the granting of conditional permission based on content field values.
  • Prismic: Prismic offers pre-built roles based on the user plan. All users in the Basic Plans are assigned an Administrator role. The Professional plan has Writer, Publisher, and Administrator roles as the only available roles. Prismic also has a feature that allows users to assign roles by locale. If you have contributors from different languages, you can give roles strictly based on the language in which they contribute.
  • Winner: Hygraph

    Hygraph's comprehensive and flexible role management features are distinct in this category. Contentful also compares with similar features, while Storyblok trails right behind it. Prismic, in this case, offers no flexibility to create custom roles, despite its unique role management by locale feature.

    Internationalization (Translation)

    Customers must be able to see Shopify products in their native tongues if you want to run headless Shopify storefronts that serve users from various regions. 

  • Hygraph: The Hygraph enterprise plan comes with a pre-built, AI-assisted translation feature. The Hygraph internationalization service allows users to define and manage multiple locales within the content modeling interface. It also has unique localization features. These include:
  • Locale-specific roles and permission: This enables role association for users based on the locales they are working in.
  • Prismic: Content localization is an integral feature in Prismic CMS. It allows users to localize content and assets in various languages, including images and links. It also offers a translation workflow feature that allows for accessible communication between team members working on the same project, regardless of their languages.
  • Winner: Prismic

    Indeed, all four platforms offer a well-defined and feature-rich internationalization service. However, for Contentful, there's a need for integration with a plugin. Storyblok also requires configurations. While Prismic and Hygraph offer an in-built solution that requires little or no configuration, Prismic's workflow translation feature makes it a preferred choice in this category.

    Interface (Usability and Accessibility)

    The goals of using a CMS for headless Shopify development are to simplify workflow and improve flexibility and scalability. Therefore, it is crucial to consider the ease of use of the interface of the CMS service before choosing it for your Shopify storefront.

    Winner: Hygraph

    Based on the information in the preceding categories, it is clear that Hygraph outperforms others by providing an easy-to-use interface for many of its functionalities. Aside from the Shopify integration, which requires some workarounds, the content modeling, role administration, and translation functions are available through graphical interfaces. Storyblok, Contentful, and Prismic also have a decent number of graphical elements, but some features need users to get their hands dirty with coding. Despite our preference for Hygraph, this category is more about your personal preferences.

    Learning Curve

    The amount of time that users need to invest in learning about a CMS platform and becoming proficient in using it is a worthy consideration—especially for rapidly growing eCommerce businesses.

    Winner: Storyblok

    Apart from integrating with Shopify, which requires some workaround, getting started with Storyblok features is simpler and more self-explanatory than other headless CMSs under consideration.


    The flexibility of deployment across various platforms is another criterion to look out for.

    Winners: Hygraph and Contentful

    Both CMSs can be deployed across various platforms, thereby offering the required flexibility for a custom headless Shopify storefront.


    Users must properly review the pricing for their headless CMS platform to ensure that it reflects the value and features that it offers.

    All plans have unlimited locales and API calls.

    Winner: Prismic

    It offers more flexible plans, each of which offers unlimited access to locales, API calls, and integration.


    Users have dislikes, regardless of how many features a CMS platform has. Below are some notable downsides of each CMS.





    Winner: Hygraph

    Each CMS has its unique downside. However, Hygraph appears to have fewer cons and annoyances.


    The native Shopify CMS is limited in its ability to create and manage content, especially for headless Shopify development. Therefore, it is imperative that users adopt third-party content management platforms to overcome the limitations. With the wide array of CMS available for headless Shopify development, we have handpicked four of the best CMS available on the market—to help you reduce and overcome decision paralysis.

    We hope that by comparing the CMSs across broad features, you will be able to make an informed decision on the platform that will best suit your headless Shopify storefront content management.

    How can AKOS help?

    At AKOS, we pride ourselves on building accessible, secure, and scalable Headless Shopify Plus storefronts. Our experience in having tested and integrated multiple external Headless CMSs with Shopify helps us lead the charge of building Headless Shopify Plus stores with knowledge and experience. We’re happy to schedule a consultation and figure out the best headless CMS for your Shopify Plus store. Just say Hello!

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