Take Care of Your E-commerce Backend

Reading Time: 5 minutes

E-commerce website: let’s face it, it’s not enough for it to be pretty; it should also rake in profit. That will indeed happen when the e-commerce backend machinery of your website is so efficient that it motivates visitors to complete a goal, such as signing up, providing leads, or making a purchase. 

This ability to convert traffic so that it contributes to your bottom line is known as the e-commerce conversion rate, which is the goal of every e-commerce biz. A lot of that rides on how well you have built and maintained the backend of your website, and how flawlessly it integrates with the interface and design. 

But first, understand what the backend is. Compare it to the front end of the website, which is what the visitor looks at and interacts with. On the flip side, the backend is the engine that runs everything; it powers the website so that it can do what it’s supposed to do, such as respond to queries speedily, allow users to pick and choose a product or service on a catalog or menu, put the item in the cart, pay for everything at checkout, and so on. 

Unless you are the e-commerce web developer as well as the owner of the online business at the same time, it’s very likely that you know little of web dev principles much less build or maintain the backend or server-side of your website. So how should you care for the backend then? Here are some tips to help you out:

FIND A GOOD WEB DEVELOPER

Getting a good person or team to work with you is crucial to your website’s success. It’s very likely this working relationship won’t be a one-off. It will be mid to long term, so consider that person’s abilities as well as their temperament. There are a lot of roles that go into web dev so it’s also important to be clear on what you want to be done, and the skills you require.

There are people who can do both design and development while others focus on backend programming alone. Plus, e-commerce backend programming costs A LOT of money, depending on the difficulty of the tasks and scope of work, so you must enter into a working arrangement wisely. 

When screening referrals, always peruse their portfolio of work; check out all the projects and navigate through the pages. Analyze the quality of work through your user experience; are the controls and functions intuitive? Do they inspire you to keep exploring the site and keep going until a goal is completed? Does the user interface show a seamless merge between aesthetics and functionality? And finally, do their fees fit your budget?

UNDERSTAND TECHNICALITIES

Some people step out on a limb by pouring their full trust into the web developer without knowing the first thing about it. While you don’t need to take a course or be a pro, (because, otherwise, what’s the point of hiring one?), you should at least see the big picture. This covers a general understanding of the interaction between frontend and backend.

It’s illustrated by the back and forth interaction going on between the server that directs the info, the database, which is the “brains” and cooks up the responses for all queries, the language, which is what the program is built on, and the framework, which provides the libraries and the tools for the web developer’s tasks.

You should also know the terms, such as UI (user interface), UX (user experience), client-side (the frontend), server-side (the backend), the different languages available, database, software, and framework, for starters. 

Without this, you might become the business owner who made unreasonable requests because they didn’t understand the nuts and bolts of the matter, which led to time wasted on unrealistic expectations while collaborating with their developer. 

With a healthy understanding of backend principles, you and your developer can work in harmony, discuss matters in-depth, and let you see for yourself if you’re getting your money’s worth. 

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WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS? 

Be aware of what language, framework, and database you need to build the best e-commerce site for your business. Your web developer will ultimately be the authority on this, but read up on the options, and look for a developer who is skilled in the language, database, and framework that you think is the best for you.

For languages, which is responsible for using logic in your web applications, you might come across PHP, Ruby, Node, or JavaScript, the latter being the most popular as it is supported by all the major web browsers, and can be used for both your backend and frontend development. 

For the database, you will not consider document databases, but rather relational databases as e-commerce deals with back and forth transactions. You might want to look into NoSql which is used by big retailers like eBay, or other framework brands like MongoDB or Redis. 

Meanwhile, your choice of framework depends on what language you’re using for your website. For example, you must use RAILS if your language is Ruby; Django, Flask for Python; or Expressjs for Node.

INTEGRATE SLOWLY BUT SURELY

Don’t integrate your entire website yet but consider gradually creating the e-commerce part for a set of items one at a time. It’s cheaper to do it this way and lets you iron out all the bugs and fixes before you layout the backend system completely. It might require a bit of manual integration in the beginning until you slowly build up to full integration where online orders and fulfillment run like clockwork.

Take Care of Your E-commerce Backend

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