Modern entrepreneurs are increasingly curious about the top Saas (software-as-a-service) platforms in the market that can aid them in upgrading their conventional websites into more sophisticated and efficient ones.
Most of them amalgamate tech stacks into their previous platform that suits their business needs. The requirement to create a tech-savvy website for SMEs is legitimate, for nearly 6.6 billion people carry smartphones, making it compulsory for them to utilize advanced technology.
Building a website and application that gives customers the best possible experience creates more buzz. We now and then see new features added to the e-commerce application. But how are they doing it? What would be the USP if everyone were following the same path?
This article will examine the e-commerce technology stack from head to toe. By the end of this article, you will clearly understand some of the best elements to consolidate in your online marketplace.
What is an E-commerce Technology Stack?
An e-commerce technology stack combines digital tools and technologies required to build a website or an application. These tools smoothly aggregate with each other and automate features such as fulfillment, customer service, payment gateways, inventory tracking, etc.
A tech stack, also known as a ‘solution stack,’ typically involves a combination of web development technologies, server-side scripting languages, databases, and content management systems. But why is tech stack important for your business? Let’s delve into it.
Why is an E-commerce Tech Stack Important?
It is estimated that 78% of brands have started implementing VR or AI into their online stores. Moreover, nearly 80% of companies are planning to use chatbots in their CX plans.
The tech stack is significant for businesses as it is the mainstay in the e-commerce landscape. E-commerce entrepreneurs get many options while creating a seamless application or website. Here are some possible reasons why tech stack is the best approach to assimilate into your online stores are-
- Multiple choices under budget: Countless tools are available under a tech stack from which you can pick the most suitable one by evaluating your operations’ size and company’s objectives. Different plan tiers have varied costs. For instance, heavy tools usually come at a higher range, but you can still consolidate them into your system within budget.
- Adaptable with your business: With the digital e-commerce tools, you can combine, plug and play multiple solutions available. You can check the adaptability of a specific tool with your digital ecosystem and integrate seamless data swiftly.
- Comprehensive: Anyone who is not much familiar with the tech stack would see it as one of the most complex segments to understand. Though you may think you must be tech-genius to deploy them into your system, it’s not at all complicated. It provides you with a ‘user-friendly’ manual and tools customized specially for new merchants. You can install, set up, and use the tools, read FAQs, or watch tutorials on the platform that solve all your queries.
- Customer service: Tools available on the tech stack are made to make life easier for customers. Along with the services, features like customer support can be integrated whenever and wherever you want. You can orient the solutions with your business objectives and make them omnipresent. Furthermore, you can incorporate them into the website via email, phone, or live chat.
E-commerce Web Development Tech Stacks
Let’s break down the two primary components of the e-commerce technology stack. Web development is divided into two key elements. These are:
Front-end uses external features of the application, such as the interface and languages that are used in developing and designing the e-commerce website. Front-end takes up a significant chunk of your budget but offers an aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly interface.
The front-end development use:
- Cascading Style Sheets (CSS): A type of markup language to add style to HTML documents
- Hypertext Markup Language (HTML): Standard markup language used for developing web pages
It forms the backbone of the website or application development and is responsible for functionality. The back-end supports e-commerce websites and solutions that interact with each other.
The main categories include:
- Database: It helps access and manage relevant information for e-commerce operations (DynamoDB, MongoDB, MySQL, etc.)
- Storage: A system for storing and managing data (AWS S3, Firebase, etc.)
- Web server: A program that helps you take user requests, analyze, and distributes the web pages based on those requests.
Both front-end and back-end work together to give you a fully functional website or application. Many businesses use a variety of solutions and functionalities that allows the brand to build a custom tech stack.
Elements of an E-commerce Tech Stack
Several third-party solutions play a major role in the tech stack. We have listed some of the technology stacks used by big e-commerce companies.
WooCommerce: This infamous platform has made life easier for both entrepreneurs and customers. WooCommerce is an alternative to WordPress and offers an open-source plugin with Bluehost hosting plans. It has brilliant features to convert your conventional WordPress blog into a full-blown e-commerce store, making it one of the top picks in Southeast Asia.
WooCommerce is the ultimate solution for people searching for the expeditious formation and development of their online store. It is comprehensible and doesn’t overwhelm business owners. Furthermore, it also comes with an extension store, where many third-party developers create extensions for WooCommerce.
Some main features of WooCommerce are;
- Online Store (Website + Blog)
- Multiple caching layers
- Domain Privacy & Protection
- Website Traffic Analytics
- Customer Product Reviews
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Email Marketing
- Unlimited Products
Analytics and data management system
Google Analytics: Google Analytics is the best tool to analyze and manage your data. This is the most prevalent and recognizable platform used all over the world. Google Analytics delivers real-time insights about your website. Through this tool, you can estimate– the traffic coming on your website, time spent by the user, the detailed demographics of visitors, and many other functions.
It is one of the best tools to understand your customer segmentation and gives you extensive valuable data insights. You can connect Google Analytics to any e-commerce platform with a subliminal range of integrations.
Shopaccino: is a plug-and-play e-commerce platform that can turn any website into an e-commerce store with commendable features. These are– payment gateways, marketing campaign tracking, inventory management, and more. Shopaccino is a one-stop destination for entrepreneurs looking for online shopping solutions built from their own websites.
Besides a one-stop solution, it provides APIs for connecting any ERP, accounting system, or other software solution. It can also automatically create coupon discounts that help you gather organic traction.
ReturnLogic: One of the best return process providers automates your return workflow, updates inventory, and maintains visibility. It presents all the tracking information on the platform, making it easier for you and the customer. The Returns provider takes up any refund, return, or purchase history issues.
3PL and ERP integrations allow seamless connection with your existing inventory management system. Smooth navigation supports the users at every step of the process. In addition, it also gives you real-time insights about returns analytics so you can overcome high return rates. Features like a barcode scanner automatically update the return status with a simple scan.
Email management system
Attentive: The Attentive e-commerce plugin is a powerful tool to help merchants improve customer engagement and increase sales. It lets merchants send customers personalized promotional messages and emails with targeted offers. The plugin also offers segmentation options that let merchants send different messages to different groups of customers. It is also used to track customer behavior and optimize their marketing strategy.
CRM (customer relationship manager)
Hubspot: HubSpot CRM is an all-in-one customer relationship management (CRM) system that helps businesses manage contacts, track deals, automate tasks, and so on. It is a potent tool that can help businesses streamline processes and improve customer relationships. With HubSpot CRM, you can manage contacts, track deals, and create tasks and activities from one central dashboard. Additionally, it has some powerful reporting features that allow you to gain insight into your CRM performance and identify areas for improvement.
Gorgias: It is a comprehensive help desk or customer service with robust social media management features such as– responding to DMs, comments, mentions, etc. Gorgias can single-handedly track sales, streamline day-to-day interactions, answer reasonable questions, maintain consistency, and more.
The dashboard of Gorgias manages all types of interactions on social media. It provides user-friendly features built mainly for online stores. It offers a variety of customer support tools to make your social media and authentic help desk.
Referral factory: It is a plug-and-play referral marketing tool that comes with a plethora of features. Some of them are– creating landing pages, tracking, asking your CRM contacts, customers, and website visitors to refer, generating automated emails with a referral link, and much more. With this plugin tool, store owners don’t have to worry about integrating and tracking their referral system.
Recharge: It is a subscription billing service for the Shopify store that allows customers to avail of subscription-based products. It gives you detailed analytical reports and special features like gift options for referral customers. Businesses with replenishable goods or subscription boxes can opt for Recharge, which can help you manage complex billing cycles with the help of automated processes.
Factors to consider as you build your ecommerce technology stack
Here are some essential factors to consider while building your e-commerce technology stack.
An ideal e-commerce tech stack can have tools somewhere between 5 to 20, depending upon your business’ size and how you would like to approach the system. It is imperative to have a budget in handy that also comes with different plan tiers for different sets of tools. You can balance your ROI with tools that would be utilized the most. Remember to always opt for only those tools that can transform your old website into a smart platform.
While you are busy making a budget for an e-commerce tech stack, you can simultaneously evaluate the compatibility of those tools with your business requirements. The digital tools should easily integrate with your e-commerce landscape, enabling a quick and seamless process. The features you choose should combine multiple solutions through direct or third-party integrations.
Ease of use
Any solution you opt for should be easy to use. The tech stack should be easy to install, integrate, and utilize. Digital solutions come with a learning curve, which you can prioritize through user-friendly tutorials, FAQs, and expert training.
Lastly, we have a customer support factor that should come in handy. An excellent customer support solution gives you excellent results and expands your customer base. It should align with your operations and channels like phone, SMS, social media, or email.
Five Tips on Building a Winning Tech Stack
1. Go headless
Headless e-commerce dissociates the front end from the back end, which leads to enhanced customized customer experiences. Going headless enables customers to have unique, personalized, homogenous experiences to ensure their commerce runs smoothly on every channel.
2. Avoid plugin overload
Plugin overload is one of the most common problems faced by store owners. It happens when you try to incorporate different features offered by different plugins. Too many plugins can make your website sluggish and sabotage your customer relationship. Instead of multiple plugins, you can find one platform with multiple functions.
Platforms like WooCommerce, Shopify, and BigCommerce are specially tailored to provide an all-in-one solution to their users. They build a high-functioning mechanism for entrepreneurs so they don’t have to wander anywhere searching for features.
3. Build with modern & flexible languages and frameworks
It goes without saying that entrepreneurs should always choose modern and flexible language and frameworks. This is because it saves a lot of your time while building complex websites and applications. Furthermore, you can do easy test runs to see the available flexibility.
4. Prioritize tech that solves your greatest challenges
Investing in supply-chain technology helps you prioritize tech solutions for the business. This could include inventory management, customer support, fulfillment process, etc. It helps you untie knots that come as an obstacle in your operations. The digital logistics solution solves problems like low order accuracy, high cart abandonment rate, etc.
5. Be careful not to rely too heavily on tech
Technology undoubtedly solves most of your issues and makes the entire process streamlined. However, relying too much on tech can also be hazardous. Apart from solving problems, it should also be able to cut costs and benefit your business from every angle.
Before investing your dime in any digital tool, track your important e-commerce KPIs. Collect insight data of your business to understand your needs in-depth and only then come to a solution.
Your online e-commerce store and powerful tech integrations can elevate customer experience and boost engagement rates. Understanding the e-commerce technology stack helps you determine the best tools to build a comprehensive tech suite for your website.