We are off to the races in 2023 already with Shopify officially launching Commerce Components by Shopify (CCS), an improved offering for large retailers. CCS allows enterprise retailers to access Shopify’s foundational, high-performing components, such as its checkout, along with flexible APIs to build dynamic customer experiences that integrate seamlessly with a retailer’s preferred existing services.
But larger brands don’t just want composable commerce. They also want — actually, need — complete, accurate, actionable data. Have Shopify’s new Commerce Components been designed with the modern data stack in mind?
There are lots of good things to say about Commerce Components. Enterprise retailers can take the components they need and leave those they do not, and developers are “free to build with any front-end framework they choose”, says Shopify. CCS uses Shopify’s global scale infrastructure, which has over 275 network edge points to enable fast storefronts and checkouts no matter where customers are located — and in a year where consumers are savvier than ever and demand a great experience.
While we are excited about how this will attract larger brands to the Shopify ecosystem, we feel the Data Analytics component is underwhelming — and won’t allow enterprise brands to track full server-side event data for building marketing attribution, product recommendation, or personalization data models.
This component uses ShopifyQL, launched in mid-2022, as a neat query language for charting. But data analysts using ShopifyQL to query Shopify’s own data tables can only query the current state of the customer or order, and not understand the customer journey that led to that order. Popular reports such as marketing attribution by campaign or channel are just not possible from this data set.
Furthermore, most enterprise brands we talk to want to own their own data warehouse and have the flexibility to use best-in-class tools like BigQuery, Looker, and dbt to store and analyze the data. Littledata provides a raw event data feed, directly sourced from Shopify’s servers to power just such a modern data stack — and gives analysts the flexibility to build their own data models.
Littledata is excited to work with brands using Commence Components (including headless stores), but we think Shopify will need to lean on its partner network to provide the breadth of functionality, especially in data analysis, that enterprise brands require. For now brands on our Littledata Plus plans are skeptical about the initial release of Commerce Components, just as they have been about Shopify’s new Web Pixel and overall Shopify Theme changes.