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Custom Development for Large-Scale eCommerce

There is no dearth of hosted eCommerce and off-the-shelf software, but when you want absolute control over your online store, custom-built is the way to go. Custom development provides the flexibility to tailor the eCommerce solution to the nuances of your business, while allowing for seamless integration with in-house and third-party systems. With the choice of technology and development frameworks available today, forward-thinking retailers are opting for fully customized eCommerce solutions that will be faster, scalable, and maintainable.

Flexible

Your business is unlike your competitor’s. How then, would their solution fit yours? You may need different product catalogs for multiple online stores. Inventory management across stores and departments can be complicated and you could decide to automate certain procedures. A custom order workflow might suit you better or you may want an AI-powered recommendation system to personalize the customer experience. Pre-built eCommerce software cannot meet all such criteria out of the box. While customization is supported, it is limited and often tedious due to the monolithic structure.

Cost Efficient

Enterprise eCommerce software licenses are available from $50,000 upwards. More economical alternatives can be severely limited in features. Given the “black box” nature of high-end solutions, tailored modifications will be pricey with talent relatively scarce. Costly customizations on top of recurring license costs can be a huge drain on your ROI. Also, you may choose custom development if you don’t want to be tied down to a vendor forever. Every new feature development, upgrade, or integration can be dependent on the provider and subject to high fees. Migrating to a new platform when you hit a growth hurdle can be an even bigger pain.

Faster and Maintainable

Platform expertise is often limited or exclusive in the case of enterprise-grade solutions, posing a challenge to fast-paced implementation. Approvals for customization done on hosted solutions can further delay releases. Developing your own bespoke solution can be faster with the numerous tools, frameworks, and services available today. Infrastructure as a service, BaaS or FaaS providers, and DevOps practices make it possible to host and scale solutions without a large team or long development cycle. Using modular approaches such as microservices architecture (MSA) can also ensure speed and scalability.

Your business is unlike your competitor’s. How then, would their solution fit yours? You may need different product catalogs for multiple online stores. Inventory management across stores and departments can be complicated and you could decide to automate certain procedures. A custom order workflow might suit you better or you may want an AI-powered recommendation system to personalize the customer experience. Pre-built eCommerce software cannot meet all such criteria out of the box. While customization is supported, it is limited and often tedious due to the monolithic structure.

Enterprise eCommerce software licenses are available from $50,000 upwards. More economical alternatives can be severely limited in features. Given the “black box” nature of high-end solutions, tailored modifications will be pricey with talent relatively scarce. Costly customizations on top of recurring license costs can be a huge drain on your ROI. Also, you may choose custom development if you don’t want to be tied down to a vendor forever. Every new feature development, upgrade, or integration can be dependent on the provider and subject to high fees. Migrating to a new platform when you hit a growth hurdle can be an even bigger pain.

Platform expertise is often limited or exclusive in the case of enterprise-grade solutions, posing a challenge to fast-paced implementation. Approvals for customization done on hosted solutions can further delay releases. Developing your own bespoke solution can be faster with the numerous tools, frameworks, and services available today. Infrastructure as a service, BaaS or FaaS providers, and DevOps practices make it possible to host and scale solutions without a large team or long development cycle. Using modular approaches such as microservices architecture (MSA) can also ensure speed and scalability.

Building a Modern eCommerce System

Modular Architecture with Microservices

A typical enterprise eCommerce solution, being the complex monolith it usually is, can be expensive and difficult to scale. With tightly-coupled systems, deploying the smallest of UI changes becomes complicated. The modern approach to eCommerce system architecture is to adopt microservices, which allows for feature sets to be decoupled and developed in isolation. This decentralization will give you deployment and development flexibility resulting in faster time to market.

Independent development

In a microservices architecture, each microservice is an atomic business function that can be developed independently.

Granular scaling

The system as a whole becomes more efficient as you need scale only those services that are more frequently used.

Resilience

Fault isolation possible with an MSA ensures that the system continues to function even when one of the services is down.

Flexibility in technology

Each microservice can use a different tech stack (including independant SQL/NoSQL datastores) making it possible to choose the most apt technology for the specific service. Adopting newer technologies also becomes easier and less risky.

Distributed teams

Microservices is best when working with extended teams or when your development units are dispersed around the globe.

Code maintainability

Each microservice is a separate block of code and this decomposition makes the application code easier to maintain.

Deployment ease

As with development, microservices can be deployed individually and rolled back easily, if needed, without affecting the rest of the system.

Re-Architect Your eCommerce System into Microservices

Can your eCommerce system keep up with your business growth? Is it proving difficult to support dynamic content changes and provide a flawless omnichannel experience?

reArchitect

Consider re-engineering your legacy system around microservices. Rather than rewriting the entire system at once, it may be a better approach to re-architect the monolith in parts, starting with the least dependent services.

Set up a consultation with our team. We will analyze your business case, identify suitable services, and build your architecture roadmap. With proper planning and risk management, we can keep your migration super smooth.

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Stateless Servers

Most of the traditional commerce applications maintain the information about changes in state (user details, profile preferences, items in shopping cart) on the server. Each time a change in state occurs, that is, the shopper adds or deletes an item from the cart, the information is recorded on the server and the user session is tied to that server. Consequently, as the number of concurrent users increase, the performance of the application takes a hit.

When the code is rendering on the client-side, the session/state is stored in the browser. The client holds the responsibility of maintaining state and the server-side logic is independent of the previously stored state. The server receives the state information along with each request and proceeds to service it. This ability to pass session-related data across servers interchangeably realizes horizontal scaling in stateless eCommerce applications.

Design for Scalability

Microservices + Stateless ServersEffective Horizontal Scaling

Service-oriented architecture is therapeutic for a scalable eCommerce system, but horizontal scalability fails if the microservices are stateful. Should one of the servers go down, your users won’t be affected when the state is maintained in their browser. Overall, statelessness affords horizontal scalability and a better user experience.

Backends for Frontends Pattern

As the number of microservices grows, the eCommerce system can become very complicated. Each new service has to be designed specifically to interact with every other dependant service. Backend for frontend (BFF) design pattern refers to the concept of designing backends for each user experience. The BFF acts as a layer between the user experience and the resources it requests. This layer is responsible for organizing the microservices by taking disparate calls and converting them into a common form before passing it along.

Backend Infographics

Unfailing Performance

With customers expecting instantly responsive sites, speed and performance are critical to your eCommerce application. From optimizing images or using isomorphic JavaScript to leveraging cloud technologies such as ELBs, CDNs, and appropriate caching mechanisms for faster response times, we adopt numerous steps to enhance application performance. Nevertheless, applications have to be designed for high performance. The modular architecture will allow independent optimization of services, and stateless systems can be efficiently scaled out using appropriate cloud infrastructure.

Handling Traffic Spikes on BFCM or Sale Days

  • Forecast traffic during flash sales and seasonal holidays (Black Friday & Cyber Monday) based on historical data.
  • Conduct load tests to assess the system preparedness for traffic surges and plan for necessary hardware capacity and server configurations.
  • Enable and configure load balancing and auto scaling in the cloud infrastructure.
  • Define rules based on which auto-scaling setup would bring up server instances or shut them down.
  • Configure the minimum and maximum number of instances to be used.

DevOps Culture

Devops is a key component of the approach towards agile development and operational efficiency in an eCommerce enterprise. When building a large application using multiple encapsulated services, we focus on developing new business capabilities autonomously, without the need for a large system-wide release. Each microservice can be developed, tested, and deployed independent of other parts of the application. So microservices architecture works better when applied with DevOps practices of continuous integration/deployment (CI/CD) and automated testing. We enhance continuous delivery by adopting a blue-green deployment approach. In effect, we are able to adapt the system to rapidly changing market needs without disrupting production service.

Enterprise eCommerce Features

B2C or B2B, having an eCommerce website has become an irrefutable part of doing business. Core modules inherent to an eCommerce system include:

Product catalog
Order management
Accounts and membership
Product search
Pricing and tax calculator
Discounts and coupons
Inventory management
Shopping cart
Reviews and rating

To meet the challenges of enterprise commerce, your eCommerce solution will also need to support features such as omnichannel retailing, advanced analytics, and artificial intelligence.

Multi-Country, Multi-Language, Multi-Brand

When selling internationally, you may want your system to support multiple storefronts, each with its own local currency and language preference. Multi-store functionality allows you to have different stock in different markets. You can tailor promotions and product upselling for each store and manage targeted selling to diverse markets. To ensure the best performance in every region, the stores can be hosted on location-specific servers. Direct integration with international warehouses and shipping carriers is also essential for successful global eCommerce.

Omnichannel Commerce

Your physical stores need to be linked with your online channels so customers can order anywhere and collect the goods anywhere. True omnichannel refers to providing shoppers a unified experience across the various channels. Multi-channel listings, POS integrations, automatic syncing of inventory and order in real-time across channels, IoT devices, and integrated marketing contribute to creating such a continuous customer journey. A mobile-first approach to eCommerce development along with smart use of beacons or RFID technology for proximity marketing can help you to effectively connect with your on-the-go customers.

AI Chatbots

Customer service expectations have grown tremendously with the advancements in big data processing and machine intelligence. Artificial intelligence is being used to enhance the user experience and boost sales. Bots built with machine learning and natural language processing capabilities can hold contextual chat conversations with customers. You can integrate these trained robots to offer round-the-clock support to website users or engage your customers on other digital platforms. Virtual shopping assistants can also be employed to augment the in-store experience.

Enterprise Integration

An omni-channel commerce solution needs to be integrated with all of the enterprise systems such as ERP, CRM, and BI. Integrations consolidating data from in-store, email, social network, mobile app, IoT, and website channels make the experience richer, smoother, and consistent for the user. A modular, loosely-coupled architecture provides greater flexibility and eases the integration with legacy systems.

Personalization

A personalized search that will add recommendations based on user preferences can woo consumers away from your competition. The standard catalog search API can be optimized using machine learning algorithms to provide results based on user preferences. The recommendation engine can be tuned to consider latest stock availability in addition to previous purchase patterns, wishlists, product ratings, and profile preferences.

If you want an eCommerce software that perfectly matches your needs and scales seamlessly with your business, let’s get it custom built.

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Not ready for a fully custom shop? Check out what we can set up on the Magento platform.