Imagine you are an entrepreneur going through digitalization and opening the door of your brand-new online shop. At the start, platforms like Shopify make entering e-commerce a piece of cake. But then a thought crawls into your mind whispering, "Hey, maybe we could create a shop by ourselves, adjusting it specifically to our needs?"
We have prepared an article, "To whom it may concern," showing the benefits, challenges and components of a self-made e-commerce product. It could help you clarify some issues about creating online shops.
Read the article and, as they say, "Choose your destiny".
Through the Looking-Glass and What You Will Find There
POV: you deal with online retail and have a shop made with an e-commerce platform. You have permanent customers and a stable income. But you feel that you can do more and decide to develop and create your own website.
Now that you've created the website, you must consider its security. An online store deals with sensitive customer data such as credit card details, personal information, and login credentials. It is crucial to ensure the website is secure against potential threats like hacking, malware, and phishing attacks.
The next step is organizing a payment process. An online store requires payment processing functionality, which involves integrating payment gateways, managing transactions, and handling refunds. Developing a reliable payment system from scratch can be tricky, especially when dealing with multiple payment methods, currencies, and countries.
And actually, have financial issues ever been simple?
But that is not as scary as building your own DevOps infrastructure and handling website architecture. One of the challenges is continuous integration and deployment. Developing your own deployment process to ensure that changes are tested, integrated, and deployed quickly and reliably can be a complex task, especially if DevOps principles and tools are exotic to you.
Infrastructure management is another point. You must manage your servers, databases, and other resources to ensure that an online shop can handle high traffic and provide high availability. This requires significant technical expertise and can be time-consuming.
So, we should admit that making a handmade shop can be possible but challenging — even for professional developers.
What Makes the Difference?
Using an e-commerce platform, e.g. Shopify or WooCommerce, provides a pre-built platform with built-in features, such as payment processing, inventory management, and shipping options. These platforms also offer lots of themes and plugins that help you customize your store's appearance and functionality without writing any code.
On the other hand, creating an online shop without using an e-commerce platform gives you complete control over the store's design, functionality, and infrastructure. This approach allows you to build a custom solution tailored to your distinct needs and preferences.
E-commerce platforms generally provide more extensive support options and resources, such as customer support, forums, and documentation, making it easier to get started and troubleshoot issues. Conversely, creating an online shop without an e-commerce platform requires you to rely on your own knowledge and resources or seek external help from third-party vendors or freelancers.
Moreover, you will need to invest significant time and effort in developing your own DevOps processes, tools, and infrastructure to ensure your online shop is reliable, scalable, and secure.
Long story short, using an e-commerce platform provides an out-of-the-box solution with built-in features and customization options. At the same time, creating an online shop without one offers complete control and customization at the cost of higher technical expertise and development effort.
E-Commerce Architecture Components
Let's look closer at a typical microservice architecture of an e-commerce project exemplified by an online store. Below you can see the scheme and its interpretation to describe the backstage of the website.
Mobile Clients: A mobile application on popular platforms (Android and IOS)
Web Clients: Clients using a PC or mobile device to log in
Routing Endpoints Level
API Gateway: API gateway for mobile applications
WEB Interface (or WEB UI): The main client interface that end-users work with
Commerce Services and Integration
Here come the components of our platform.
Core APP: The central core of the platform, the main module that interacts with all other services. Its primary responsibilities include the implementation of the central business logic of the platform, interaction with all services and future integrations that will be implemented.
Queue: Processing customers' queues, that is, orders or goods delivery that need to be processed. These can be products such as Kafka or RabbitMQ. However, what exactly to store in the queue and what logic to use is a separate topic for conversation.
Authentication: The service responsible for logging into the system of our users. It can have SSO login integration (login through third-party services such as Facebook/Gmail/etc.) or provide access after a prior registration (standard authorization via login and password).
Main Database: The central database of our platform.
Caching Storage: Mostly used for "hot cache", for example, the most popular products customers buy. Using a cache will speed up the platform.
Email Gateway: Mailing with end users (registration/password recovery/newsletter). This service can also be integrated with popular mail services (MailChimp, mailgun, SendGrid, and others).
Payment Gateway: Customers pay for the product with its help.
Order Service: Order processing service.
Shipping Service: Registration and tracking of goods delivery.
Customer Service: Used for operating the platform with a client profile: e.g., calculating a bonus system of discounts or special offers for the client.
Static Content: Storing of all static content for the products. With its help, our platform uploads data to it. In our case, we do not consider the type of disk where the content is stored because there are several options for organizing static content storage; we only focus on the fact that storage should be separate.
Search engine: The search service that enables finding our products on the website.
Each of these components should be under control to keep the processes smooth. So if you build a resource independently, you need to be ready for it.
"So What Shall I Do?"
It's up to you.
We don't want to discourage you: we give you the keys, but you choose the door. Based on Quema specialists' experience, we know how much time and effort it takes to implement an online store yourself. Still, you can create something new, and we are ready to support you with our knowledge.