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A Guide To Constructing An Ecommerce Tech Stack In 2024

As your company expands, leveraging your ecommerce technology stack becomes an essential edge against your competitors.

This collection of tools and custom software that powers your online store should deliver an engaging purchase experience that demonstrates your business is reliable and innovative. It should also encourage customers to stay loyal and recommend your business to others.

Innovation is crucial for business growth, but it often comes with a hefty price tag. As technology continues to evolve rapidly, companies are under pressure to strike a balance between cost and flexibility when building their tech stacks. According to our latest report on SaaS Commerce Platforms, a significant number of businesses (67%) are either revising or planning to revise their current commerce platform architecture to cater to future demands. Choosing the right platform to anchor your tech stack is crucial for achieving your business objectives.

You're on the right track if you're considering moving away from an inflexible, all-in-one legacy system to gain more adaptability. Constructing the ideal tech stack that aligns with your business's specific needs can be challenging. To help you with this, we've put together a brief guide that outlines the steps you need to take to create a tech stack tailored to your business.

Ecommerce Technology Stack

An ecommerce technology stack, or tech stack, is the collection of software solutions that facilitate the various processes of an ecommerce website or online shop. This includes everything from payment processing and inventory management to shipping, with each component potentially requiring different technologies based on specific needs.

Ecommerce tech stacks typically consist of platforms, frameworks, tools, applications, and programming languages and are divided into two main components:

  • Front-end (client-facing): This involves the applications and languages used to develop and design the website or online storefront.
  • Back-end (server-facing): This includes the server, application, and database systems that operate behind the scenes to serve customer needs.

A 2023 Forrester report indicates that 30% of digital projects fail in their first year, often due to rapid scaling. Your ecommerce platform must grow with your business without becoming a burden. Here are key points to consider:

Migrations can be complex and costly, potentially diverting resources from revenue generation.

Dependency on a single platform like Salesforce Commerce Cloud may require hiring specialized developers, increasing time and financial costs. Composable commerce, while flexible, can increase complexity and maintenance demands, potentially slowing down development and time to market.

Shopify offers a variety of scalable solutions, from headless and composable to full platform options. A recent IDC survey found a preference for a mix of composable front-end and full-stack back-end—Shopify's recommended setup. Our enterprise offerings for 2024 are designed to handle scalable growth, with capabilities like managing up to 40,000 checkouts per minute.

Build a Robust Enterprise Ecommerce Stack

Building a robust enterprise ecommerce tech stack enhances business operations and scalability. Here’s how to create a winning setup

Start with a Managed Commerce Platform

If you're looking to develop scalable, secure, and easy to maintain applications, consider using a platform that provides a curated set of tools, workflows, and best practices. Such platforms are built on well-designed APIs and opinionated abstractions that encode best practices, making it easier for developers to implement solutions that adhere to industry standards.

For instance, an opinionated templating language can help prevent security vulnerabilities, such as XSS attacks. Additionally, managed runtimes with execution limits and circuit breakers ensure consistent performance even under high load. These platforms offer standard interfaces that simplify functionality, prevent poor practices, speed development, and reduce maintenance costs.

By using a platform with a curated set of tools and best practices, you can ensure that your applications are secure, scalable, and easy to maintain.

Adopt a Modular Architecture

A crucial aspect of a retailer's technology infrastructure is the ability to integrate and replace apps or components effortlessly to improve capabilities. Shopify's Commerce Components platform is one such solution that empowers retailers to adopt the features they require and replace parts as needs change. This modular approach ensures that the technology stack stays up-to-date, offering flexibility while minimizing costs associated with integration and maintenance. This setup provides continuous benefits and supports growth at every stage of the retailer's journey.

Shopify's comprehensive partner and developer ecosystem, consisting of over 20,000 app developers and agency partners, supports this capability. The ecosystem has created more than 8,000 public applications, all accessible through Shopify's comprehensive ecommerce APIs, to provide retailers with the necessary tools to manage their businesses efficiently.

Balance Component Isolation

Component isolation can be very helpful when it comes to organizing engineering teams and scaling systems. However, going overboard with isolation can lead to complications. This is particularly true for microservices architecture, where over-isolation can make systems difficult to audit, scale, and debug. The key is to strike a balance and use service isolation judiciously, maintaining robust service-level separation and integration. Platforms like Shopify make this easy by providing shared infrastructure, code primitives, and service contracts. As a result, teams can work seamlessly across services with reusable tools and contexts while ensuring that security measures are enforced throughout the system.

The choice of tech stack is ultimately dependent on your specific business needs. Smaller brands may benefit from an all-in-one platform that offers comprehensive functionalities, while larger and more complex organizations may require a diverse set of tools and technologies. This includes prebuilt and custom-coded solutions, which can be combined to meet their specific and detailed requirements.

Selecting Tools for Your Tech Stack

When selecting tools for your ecommerce tech stack, consider these four key factors:

Cost: Balance affordability with functionality. The price depends on your brand’s size and operational complexity. While some tools, like advanced analytics or CRM systems, might be expensive, a cost-benefit analysis will help determine if they are a worthwhile investment for your business.

Complexity: Assess the complexity of the tech stack against its functionality. A complex stack might offer extensive features but could raise operational costs due to maintenance needs. Conversely, simpler, managed platforms might reduce costs but provide limited functionality. Aim to find a middle ground that meets your business needs without overextending your resources.

Compatibility: Ensure that the tools in your tech stack work seamlessly. This can be achieved through direct integrations or third-party services like ShipStation or Shippo, which connect disparate tools. Consider your existing tech infrastructure to determine how new tools will fit and whether your stack’s architecture (modular, composable, or proprietary) supports easy integration.

Support: Opt for tools with robust support options, including technical assistance, bug fixes, and help with integration or customization. Reliable support is crucial for swiftly resolving issues and optimizing your store’s performance.

Choosing the right tech stack involves a thoughtful assessment of cost, complexity, compatibility, and support factors to ensure it aligns with your specific business needs and goals. Whether you choose a complete platform or customize your stack, the right mix of tools and solutions is essential for ecommerce success.

Essential Business Functions for Structuring Your Ecommerce Tech Stack

As you develop your ecommerce tech stack, focus on aligning it with your core business functions. Here are key areas to consider, along with top vendor suggestions for each function:

Content Management System (CMS): A CMS allows you to create, manage, and update your website without technical skills. Shopify offers an intuitive interface with easy content creation, media management, and access to templates and themes. Alternatively, consider a headless CMS, which separates content storage from presentation, using technologies like a React-based framework for more flexibility.

Shipping and Logistics Software: Advanced shipping and fulfillment solutions are crucial for expanding enterprise businesses. Consider integrating with a Third-Party Logistics (3PL) provider to handle order fulfillment, warehousing, and shipping, which can streamline your operations significantly.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software: CRM systems help manage customer data, track sales, automate marketing, and provide customer support. Notable options include Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zoho CRM, which offer comprehensive tools for maintaining customer relationships.

Analytics Tools: These tools are vital for monitoring key metrics such as sales, customer behavior, website traffic, and marketing effectiveness. Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics are popular choices, offering deep insights to inform business decisions and drive growth.

Checkout Conversion: Shopify boasts a high-converting checkout process, claiming a conversion rate up to 36% higher than competitors, according to a 2023 study by a major consulting firm. Additionally, Shop Pay, Shopify’s secure and accelerated checkout option, has been shown to increase conversion rates by as much as 50% over guest checkouts, significantly outperforming other fast checkout options.

When running a successful ecommerce business, building the right tech stack is crucial. You can optimize your operations and achieve greater efficiency by incorporating the right tools and solutions for key business functions such as inventory management, order processing, customer service, and marketing automation. However, selecting the right vendors can also make a big difference in your e-commerce success. It's essential to evaluate potential vendors based on cost, reliability, scalability, and ease of integration with your existing systems. By carefully considering these factors and strategically building your tech stack, you can position your ecommerce business for long-term growth and profitability.

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