22nd March 2022
Deliver Performance and Flexibility at Scale with a Modern E-Commerce Architecture
Having a modern, extensible e-commerce architecture is key to delivering unrivalled performance and flexibility at scale. But how fit for purpose is the monolithic, off-the-shelf solution your business implemented five to 10 years ago? If, like many retailers, you’re grappling with inflexibility, slow response times and abandoned baskets, read on.
The scenario above is just the tip of the iceberg. With so many moving parts—think UX, transaction capabilities and supply chain operations—delivering an end-to-end solution can be a real challenge. Open source technologies and microservices are one way to bridge the gap.
The global e-commerce market is predicted to reach $5.55 trillion in 2022, with supply chain ownership, mobile shopping apps and interactive experiences all cited as key growth areas. However, with new capabilities come new challenges, and where there are opportunities for exponential growth, fierce competition naturally follows.
It’s time to rethink your e-commerce platform
Legacy challenges surrounding scale, performance and flexibility can often resurface, prompting retailers to rethink their e-commerce strategies. In doing so, there are a number of key considerations for retailers:
Consumer habits are changing.
Customers expect a seamless shopping experience across desktop and mobile, while demand for interactive shopping experiences is also on the rise.
Software development practices have evolved.
Enterprises used to simply build or buy their own proprietary systems. Now, businesses are seeking more flexible, extensible system architectures and greater control to meet changing market requirements.
There is a growing move from monolith to microservices.
This allows organisations to group individual applications together to enable more agile delivery, increased scalability and more frequent feature deployments.
With so many open source libraries and frameworks to choose from, selecting the right technologies to create truly customer-centric software is easier said than done. In this article, we reveal how we build highly performant, scalable e-commerce architectures to create digital advantage for our online retail and e-commerce customers.
Why you need a modern e-commerce architecture
Whether you’re a traditional retail business that’s adopted an online presence over time, or a digital native e-commerce store, consumer behaviours have evolved massively in recent years. As online traffic has increased, so have customer expectations. The e-commerce system architecture you chose a decade ago may therefore no longer be fit for purpose.
In the words of Shopify, “if it’s not fast, it’s broken”.
Over time, legacy architecture can slow down performance and negatively impact the user experience—resulting in frustrated customers, missed ‘add to basket’ opportunities and lost sales.
Having the flexibility to quickly and easily add new features and services into your technology stack is a key differentiator; this is far easier when you have your own code base, instead of relying on a vendor to update its product roadmap with new features.
A well-architected, modern tech stack can provide your organisation with the extensibility to integrate new, purpose-built tools and APIs as needed—something that a commercial, off-the-shelf product would not support.
Integration with third-party tools is also becoming increasingly important to provide customers with a convenient and flexible service. This includes alternative payment options (such as Stripe or Klarna’s ‘buy now, pay later’ scheme), loyalty programmes (either points-based or tiered systems) and a variety of click and collect and delivery options.
Ensuring your e-commerce architecture is built to accommodate these growing market requirements is essential to providing a strong customer experience.
At NearForm, we take a pragmatic approach to e-commerce architecture and understand that a ‘rip and replace’ solution isn’t always the right decision. Depending on your business’ needs, we’ll work with you to build a fast, composable e-commerce platform—whether that’s building from scratch or enhancing your existing monolith to ensure business continuity as you scale.
Building end-to-end e-commerce architecture at scale
We build flexible, scalable and cost-effective e-commerce solutions to help retailers improve performance and meet growing demand, reduce the time to market for new products and services and unlock greater agility to future-proof their businesses.
With experience delivering end-to-end e-commerce stacks encompassing UX, transactions and integration with supply chain and delivery operations, we know what it takes to build resilient platforms from the ground up.
We leverage a variety of platforms including Shopify to create powerful, headless e-commerce engines that integrate seamlessly with fulfilment centres, while enabling new features as required, such as delivery monitoring and real-time customer alerts.
Our digital-first approach enables us to deliver e-commerce solutions rapidly, creating digital advantage while reducing the burden on your organisation’s teams.
Embracing microservices for e-commerce architecture
At NearForm, we use cutting-edge, open source technologies, such as Node.js, to create secure, scalable and high-performance backends, which form the building blocks for our purpose-built e-commerce solutions.
We choose to build our retail clients’ software on e-commerce microservice architectures, as this enables engineers to break applications down into concentrated services for easier maintenance and faster releases.
“Moving from a slow, closed, monolithic platform to a fast, open and composable platform equates to greater control, reduced costs, flexibility and purpose-built tools creating strategic differentiation and an accelerated route to market versus competitors.”
Colin Houlihan, VP of Consulting, NearForm
Our microservices approach to application development accelerates innovation since software updates can be made to individual services as needed—without compromising your entire application.
What does this mean for our online retail and e-commerce customers? Increasing the time to market for new products and services, greater agility and an undeniable competitive edge.