is the co-founder of Shogun, a custom storefront tool that helps DTC merchants create stunning,
fast-loading custom storefronts that drive more conversions, revenue, and
brand loyalty. As both a founder, angel investor, and operator, Nick’s
knowledge spans eCommerce, SaaS, and startups. In our conversation, we dive
Shogun’s big break and its next commerce evolution
Optimizing for user needs in product development
How merchants can start test driving headless commerce
“Consumer expectations have changed drastically over the past decade. They
expect quick, seamless, and exciting mobile experiences. And the correlation
is there. It’s their experience that converts directly into revenue
The Early Days: Learning from Customers
Shogun was able to win over 20,000+ loyal eCommerce customer brands with
their first product, Shogun Page Builder: a drag and drop page-builder app for customizing Shopify
The product has made it super easy to design and A/B test landing pages,
blog pages, & product pages, without the need to code. However, it
wasn’t clear from the start that Shogun would become software for shopping.
But by listening to partners and clients in the early stages, Shogun
pivoted into the eCommerce ecosystem. Over time, by slowly addressing
more and more client pain points, Shogun nailed its MVP.
“We exhausted trying to sell the original version of Shogun until we got
feedback from an agency. They told us eCom was going to be a big thing. And
if we made this software work seamlessly with Shopify, they’d have clients
How to Build Customer-Centric Products
Once the Shogun team refined its earliest MVP, the customers started
And with a distinct category focus, Shogun continued to craft its core
product to match the evolving needs of merchants within the Shopify
ecosystem and expanded to BigCommerce and Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Nick
points out that during this early growth stage, his team “Listened to
customers, took their feature requests, categorized them, and designed our
roadmap based on their feedback.”
As the team got to know Shogun’s customers better, it became clear the
Shogun Page Builder product was not only for small businesses and aspiring
entrepreneurs but also SMB and mid-market enterprise brands.
The larger clients, though, had unique and complex feature requests
Faster site speed and performance
Richer visual merchandising (without site speed tradeoffs)
Advanced content management use cases like internationalization (e.g.,
multi-store, multi-language, multi-currency)
Shogun built new features for Page Builder - but the requests kept coming -
and it became clear that Shogun had an opportunity to evolve. At the same
time, headless commerce was heating up.
In the broader landscape, headless technology was marketed as a magic serum
for designing rich shopping experiences.
Merchants were saying they wanted it, encountered this buzzword, but they
didn’t understand just how complex it was to stand up.
Shogun knew there was an opportunity to meet customers at their next phase
of store growth, so it built a unified frontend platform, Shogun Frontend. The software simplifies the creation of rich, highly performant eCommerce
experiences using Progressive Web App technology.
Brands like Nomad, TULA Skincare, OneBlade, and more are using it to transform their stores into a
high-converting experience with greater merchandising capabilities, advanced
content management, and unmatched performance.
“Our latest product, Shogun Frontend, is headless in the colloquial sense
that you're using a different technology for your frontend than you are for
your backend. But in reality, it’s more like a “head” for “headless” -
software for codeless visual merchandising and content management that
creates websites with unparalleled speed. We work in concert with eCom
platforms and fully composable architectures, we've just brought a unified
“no-code” platform to the frontend so it’s more accessible to
The Shogun Playbook: Headless 101
Headless commerce decouples eCommerce website technology, exposing all
functionality and data through APIs (application programming
While traditional website storefronts come as a pre-packaged suite,
headless commerce stores operate without the front-end (“head”) and rely on
a system of requests between the presentation and application
Shogun Frontend aims to make headless less of a headache, and more
merchant-centric than ever. What used to be the realm of developers, Nick
and the team are democratizing for non-technical eCommerce team
Phase one: should brands even adopt headless? (Hint: they
According to Nick, headless architectures were rising to address the pain
points experienced by successful and scaling merchants - namely around site
performance and content management.
Additionally, pandemic behavior shifts and unprecedented levels of venture
capital and private equity have made the eCommerce software vendor landscape
However, because headless architectures are API first and
developer-oriented, many times they end up causing more pain than they solve
Nick believes that merchants don’t need “headless”, but instead a software
solution that addresses the pain points around headless - namely:
Advanced content management at scale
Rich visual merchandising experiences
Excellence in speed and performance
In this way, merchants benefit from a solution that is friendly to them (no
code/low code) - empowering them to be more agile with content and reap the
revenue benefits of a faster site. Customers also benefit from the improved
experience (more fun merchandising interactions on the site, and of course,
unparalleled site speed.
Phase two: which merchants should adopt headless?
To a merchant, segmenting and optimizing its front-end might seem like a
The value prop is there, but it requires deep tech talent - full-time
software engineers - that are not always staffed on eCommerce teams. “You
get a ton of power and flexibility when you decouple. You know what else you
get? A ton of complexity and overhead cost,” Nick adds.
If a merchant has reached enterprise-level scale, Nick recommends going headless by:
Assessing vendors in the headless, MACH, and composable commerce landscape
Leveraging the functionality and flexibility that headless has to
Carefully balancing the decoupling and consolidation of systems
If a merchant is still operating in mid-market,
he advises holding off on headless and waiting to double down on new tech
until they have in-house engineering resources and at least hundreds of
millions in GMV.
In the case that the merchant is interested in software built to
address the value props of headless, they might want to check out Shogun
Frontend, which includes:
The ability to execute content management at scale
The ability to create Rich visual merchandising experiences
The ability to have a site that has unparalleled speed - increasing
conversion and AOV
The eCommerce space is changing rapidly - from new entrants to increasing
customer demands. In Nick’s words, one thing will always remain true:
winning technologies will be those that were designed with and for the
customer. Ultimately, that’s Shogun’s northstar.
“It’s an exciting time. New players are popping up and introducing tech
that is quickly rising to address consumer and shopper pain points. The next
couple of years will be very, very telling across the digital commerce