How we build fast Shopify stores

Omar Benseddik's photo
Omar Benseddik
Updated 2023-11-13 路 8 min
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It is no surprise that ecommerce page speed is a key factor in user satisfaction, conversion rates, SEO, and brand perception.

Research clearly shows that the slower the ecommerce is, the less likely visitors are going to purchase; 79% of customers are less likely to buy again if dissatisfied with site performance, and 64% of mobile users expect an ecommerce to load in 4 seconds or less.

In this article, we will go through 5 tips on how Tinloof creates Shopify stores that satisfy both users and search engines.

How we build online stores

Before we get into the tips, it's worth noting that we build Shopify stores with a headless architecture instead of relying on themes.

This means that we decouple the frontend (what users interact with) from the backend (where staff handles inventory, returns, customer data, and other admin-related items).

Aside from page speed improvements, this architecture comes with different benefits, like setting up Sanity as the headless CMS, picking the best 3rd party tools for each functionality (analytics, A/B testing, translations, etc.), and designing the ecommerce without any constraints.

Here's a simple diagram of the architecture:

Design with performance in mind

Considering we have full control of the design, we are able to follow certain practices to keep page speeds fast, these are:

Modular design system

Ecommerce pages we build are modular and based off a design system, meaning they are composed of blocks that are stacked on top of each other.

This approach allows developers to reuse code, making it easier for the browser to execute and therefore reducing page load.

Here is an example of our Figma mockups:

Traditional pagination

Our directories use traditional pagination to avoid enormous requests and make all their content accessible to both search engines and users with 0 JavaScript.

We also have control of how many items to show in a directory, and which types of assets to display.

Browser native elements

We rely on browser native elements when possible to avoid bloating the JavaScript and CSS.

Use Remix as the framework

We use Remix, a React framework built with performance in mind, to build the frontend of Shopify stores.

It was acquired by Shopify, and offers excellent developer experience that enables performance optimizations.

We render pages on the server and heavily cache them. When a user opens any page, they can immediately see it.

Since the content of these pages is fetched from various sources (e.g. Shopify, Sanity), a request is made to the server from time to time to check for updates.

This way, not only pages are fast, but they are always up to date with the content immediately.

Assets optimization

Images and videos are assets that tend to slow down page speed. Their optimization is key if we want to reach peak performance.

Image optimization

We store images on Sanity and use the transformation API to optimally fetch images based on the device size and pixel density.

By default, images on all the ecommerces we build are optimised considering we have developed internal libraries that offer an image component built with performance in mind.

We also lazy load images, meaning the browser only loads them when the visitors scrolls.

If you haven't heard of Sanity, it is the #1 ranked headless CMS according to G2. It enables top tier content editing management and excellent developer experience. Shopify invested in it.

Video optimization

We integrate Mux with Sanity to store and optimally stream videos. We no longer have to worry about video compression and distribution.

Instead of loading videos immediately, we first show the first frame as the poster, that way visitors see content instead of an empty component that would later hurt CLS (Content Layout Shift), a Core Web Vital.

We also enable lazy loading of videos, so we only load videos when visitors scroll to them.

Mux integration with Sanity on Tinloof's website
Mux integration with Sanity on Tinloof's website

Controlling the frontend

Script loading

Since we have full control of the frontend, we are able to optimally load third-party scripts.

Scripts are added whenever you decide to add a functionality with an app outside of Shopify, like Facebook Ads for marketing, Intercom for chat, Greenhouse for recruitment, and so on.

These scripts tend to be heavy on page load, and it is primordial to be able to indicate the browser when to execute them.

Picking the right libraries

We are able to compare libraries' bundle sizes and download times (mainly with Bundlephobia), that way we pick libraries that would not bloat the browser.

In some instances, we entirely avoid relying on libraries and develop the functionalities from scratch.

For instance, when we built Tinloof Store, instead of using external libraries to implement filters, we decided to build our own select component that wraps the native HTML select. The component works without JavaScript and matches the store brand.

Deployment on Vercel or Netlify

We rely either on Vercel or Netlify, two top-tier Deployment-as-a-Service tools, to deploy Shopify stores.

They both provide out-of-the-box great CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) and serverless functions to deploy Shopify stores.

This means that your Shopify store would load fast regardless of the visitor's location.

For example, if the visitor is located in Germany, a Frankfurt server would serve the store.

On the other hand, if the visitor is in the US West Coast, a San Francisco server would serve the store instead. Same logic applies to different geographies.

Other advantages include not relying on a DevOps team, enabling scalability, and not being afraid of DDOS attacks considering these platforms adhere to the highest security standards.

Measure performance on slow devices

We measure performance on slow mobile devices and desktop too.

By securing a high page speed on mobile, we are guaranteed to reach top speeds on desktop as well.

We mainly three tools to measure page speed:

Google Page Speed Insights

It also helps us see which Core Web Vitals we can improve, and scores speed out of 100.

This is what the output looks like:

Google Page Speed Insights - Tinloof Store
Google Page Speed Insights - Tinloof Store

Webpage Test Speed

We mainly use the Visual Comparison feature to compare the page load of multiple ecommerces, mainly competitors.

This is what the output looks like:

Video poster


Towards the end of a project we bulk measure page speed of each page.

This is what the output looks like:

Experte bulk page speed - Tinloof Store
Experte bulk page speed - Tinloof Store

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