eCommerce Technology Stack: Retail VS Manufacturer Tech Instruments
When it comes to the creation of eCommerce solutions, the technology stack is the essential set of tools that help build the foundation, introduce the features, customize, optimize, and finalize the new software. The importance of knowing your tech stack and getting all the underlying tools right cannot be overestimated – the right tools save costs, streamline performance, and boost the overall end product quality.
So let’s get into it and figure out the ins and outs of eCommerce tech stacks employed by both retail software providers and digital manufacturers.
What Is eCommerce Technology Stack?
eCommerce Web Development Technology Stacks
To really get a grasp on the eCommerce tech stack and figure out how it works to come up with the best fitting tools, one should first figure out the basics of web development. In particular, the standard subdivision of software parts into front-end and back-end.
The front-end of an eCommerce application is the user-focused part which usually includes the user interface and all other related external elements (like visuals, buttons, menus, etc.). This is where the “storefront” of your eCommerce store is laid down with a heavy focus on the design and feelings it invokes in users (stimulation of the buying impulse, motivation to explore the site, etc.).
The most common basic tools employed in the front-end creation usually include:
- HTML – Hypertext Markup Language is the basic tool for creating web pages;
- CSS – Cascading Style Sheets are used to add style and finalize the visual design of HTML pages;
Other popular tools and frameworks for front-end creation also include:
On the flip side, there is the internal part of the eCommerce website which requires a set of dedicated back-end tools. The back-end is all about the implementation of internal, server-side, and database functionality that sets the front-end part in motion. The essential back-end aspects include:
1. Server – a web server must be implemented in order to process user requests online and provide requested pages accordingly (this is how the basic user journey is outlined). The most common solutions are:
- Google Cloud
2. Database – dedicated database stores all the information related to eCommerce operations, with the most widely used database management systems and tools including:
3. Data storage – then, there are also systems for storing all the data, like system data and content published on the eCommerce website. The most popular data storage systems today are cloud solutions like:
- AWS S3
- Firebase Storage
- Azure File Storage
Why Is Getting Technology Stack So Crucial For Retailers And Manufacturers?
The tools you employ in eCommerce development can make or break the future online store. Well-picked tech stack software maximizes both the internal user experience for the smooth performance of dedicated specialists and the external UX that the end users get.
This is commonly achieved through automation of tasks (such as data processing and templating) and front-end user features (like automated order processing and tracking, tech support, etc.).
You need a market-defining tech stack to implement all of that and stay ahead of the competition technologically at the same time. Make sure to stay in the know and analyze your competition to point out the most relevant tools – websites like Wappalyzer and BuiltWith can help you see which technologies your main competitors put in the foundation of their solutions.
How to get a complete picture of the tech stack to achieve utterly streamlined results? Let’s take a look at the essential areas you need to cover with proper eCommerce tech one by one.
11 Aspects An Efficient eCommerce Tech Stack Should Cover
To get the required tech stack tools right, you should first pinpoint the exact tasks and aspects these tools will be used to work on. To make your life easier, here are all the areas you should build a tech stack around in order to achieve a feature-complete, high-performance eCommerce solution.
First off, you need the basic environment where you can start building a new online store. An eCommerce platform is a specialized “storefront builder” which you may connect to the existing hosting and kick off eCommerce development. Many platforms also offer hosting options of their own to make it all easier for you. The most widely used eCommerce platforms today are:
- Shopify – the most well-known platform out there that offers extensive eCommerce development flexibility with a range of both out-of-the-box and custom capacities (the range of powers depends on the plan you pick), reliable hosting, highly responsive tech support, and flexibility (all of which, however, comes at a felt price).
- BigCommerce – a very flexible platform focused on achieving the in-depth polished user experience through customizations, omnichannel sales opportunities, and SEO features.
- WooCommerce – a cost-efficient platform that provides good control over the developed online store and prioritizes manual customization over expensive readymade integrations.
- Magento – an extremely popular eCommerce platform that puts open-source flexibility and freedom of customization above all else. An option that requires proper expertise yet delivers highly versatile end solutions as a result.
- Wix – a platform that packs an extensive range of sales tools and offers convenient templates, which makes a great option for projects that are not looking for in-depth customization in favor of speed of development.
Read more about starting a B2B eCommerce platform:
Order & Inventory Management
Next up, you need a tool to track orders and manage the inventory of products you offer online. Order tracking helps consolidate orders flowing in from different sales channels. And inventory management helps you track stock to avoid “out-of-stock” occurrences and automate replenishment of products in stock.
To track orders and manage inventory, you may use:
- Inventory Planner – a cloud-based, multichannel inventory management tool that offers stock replenishment automation, financial planning, and sales channels consolidation;
- Skubana – an intuitive solution with a versatile, feature-rich dashboard that boasts convenient order analytics and planning capacities;
- Order Desk – a highly-automated, multichannel eCommerce order management application that allows centralizing order-related features and streamlining business performance via over 300 handy integrations.
Order & Payment Processing
Orders and payments attached to them must also be properly processed. Not much new is happening in this aspect – all you need to do to automate and speed up the processing of product payments is to integrate with a reliable payment gateway, such as:
- PayPal – an extremely widely used international payment system that helps businesses and private entities alike handle daily transactions;
- Stripe – a payment processing API suite widely integrated across websites, apps, and services for real-time online payments;
- Swift – the backbone of most existing banking structures today, Swift stands for the Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, granting highly-protected transaction real-time opportunities;
- Google Pay – Google’s own solution for mobile payments that helps Android smartphone users to turn their device into a full-on virtual wallet;
- Apple Pay – a mobile payment solution for Apple users that allows virtualizing your existing banking cards to use them via a smartphone.
Commonly, the best idea is to integrate a bunch of payment systems or all of the above to give customers the freedom of picking the most convenient way to pay for products.
Fulfillment & Shipping
After the order is tracked and processed along with the underlying payment, it needs to be conveniently fulfilled and submitted for shipping. Thankfully, there are specialized solutions that you may integrate with your eCommerce store to automate fulfillment and shipping throughout, including the most optimal shipping route search and sending of goods to the closest warehouse. For that and more, you may integrate:
- ShipBob – an international omnichannel fulfillment platform that offers a range of shipping organization opportunities connected to a variety of channels;
- ShipStation – an integrated solution for versatile shipping management that serves as a one-stop shipping engine for many companies out there;
- Shippo – a suite of multi-carrier shipping software solutions meant to help eCommerce businesses streamline the shipping stage all-around.
Each of the above solutions helps optimize and automate shipping logistics in a variety of ways, from shipping rate calculation to shipping labels and packing slip printing.
Customer Service & Support
The quality of customer service and support you provide essentially defines the overall level of your eCommerce. And even with a good team of customer-oriented specialists by your side, you can still improve the way you offer assistance to customers in need with proper software, like:
- Simplr – a pre-designed customer support interface that inherently integrates with ShipBob for boosted results;
- Gorgias – a Shopify-oriented virtual helpdesk that helps to sync up order processing and customer support for streamlined UX;
- TalentPop – a powerful integration that provides pre-trained virtual assistants for ultimate customer service performance.
Enterprise Resource Planning
Enterprise resource planning or ERP systems make a great fit for large businesses and enterprises looking to consolidate resource tracking and accounting across a number of connected channels. Popular performance-streamlining ERPs today are:
- Oracle – a leading financial suite with a focus on intuitive processes of improving enterprise budgeting, product pricing, and core accounting;
- SAP – Oracle’s main rival that consists of convenient modules for processing accounting data in Systems, Applications, and Products (SAP);
- Netsuite – an agile ERP solution that helps automate all underlying financial accounting processes throughout.
In today’s market reality, competitive eCommerce providers are multichannel, meaning that they are able to cover a wide range of data and sales sources for the ultimate commercial productivity. This allows covering vast retailing customer audiences and maximizing profits. Especially for this purpose, there are platforms that let you conveniently manage multichannel retailing with a good dose of automation, such as:
- ZenTail – a common pick for ambitious market players looking to cover a range of leading sales channels, including eBay, Amazon, and Walmart Marketplace;
- Brightpearl – a versatile solution that combines ERP, CRM, and PoS capacities to give you convenient multichannel management dashboards;
- Sellbrite – a popular choice for SMBs that are looking to consolidate and optimize multichannel order management through listing automation, inventory syncing, and more (has a specialized Shopify extension).
Some of the traditional eCommerce platforms mentioned above also offer various multichannel retailing management capacities either out-of-the-box or as an extension, like BigCommerce and Shopify.
An important part of high-quality customer service that stimulates traffic and drives sales is a painless product return and refund process. This is why an efficient returns management system is another must for your eCommerce tech stack. Here are some well-tried-and-tested solutions you can use:
- Returnly – a handy integration that smoothes out returns through shipping notice auto-generation, syncing up return merchandise with automated credits for fast refunds, and more;
- Happy Returns – a PayPal solution widely preferred by industry giants for facilitated product return processes with a real-time inventory view, diverse return options, and intelligent customer suggestions;
- Loop Returns – an integration with its own API for automating refunds, setting advanced eligibility rules, and more.
Data & Analytics
Data is the most valuable asset for any business operating in any industry. This is why you need to complete your eCommerce technology stack with efficient data management and analytics tool. A tool that enables tracking, collecting, and displaying. You may confidently pick one from the following:
- Tableau – a powerful system for centralizing data management across multiple channels, getting automated forecasts, and digging up invaluable insights into data flows and patterns;
- Microsoft Power BI – an in-depth data management and analytics solution with a familiar interface that allows exploring data flows inside out;
- SAP BusinessObjects – a whole business intelligence suite by SAP that offers a range of features to acquire insights for better-informed business decisions.
Marketing automation with the help of a proper integration boosts the way you drive sales through accelerated social media and email marketing, insightful marketing campaign strategizing, and facilitation of small routine tasks. For all that and more, you may use:
- Marketo – one of the leading marketing integrations for B2B marketing and lead management that unravels capacities to the max when integrated with the existing Adobe or Target platform;
- Overloop (formerly Prospect.io) – a widely integrated tool that fits all business sizes with great features for streamlining sales planning and lead generation;
- Hubspot – a SaaS powerhouse of marketing integration that offers opportunities starting from email marketing personalization to automation of lead scores, webhooks, email newsletters, etc.
Product Information Management
Last but not least, PIM solutions are employed by businesses with dynamic product stocks that have to be constantly tracked, updated, and replenished. In particular, SKU and inventory management can be automated and smoothed out separately with solutions like:
- Akeneo – a popular open-source PIM tool for convenient visualization, tracking, and optimization of product data across channels or company departments;
- Gepard PIM – an ultimate PIM solution with extensive product data consolidation, personalization, transformation, and syndication opportunities that help to keep all products timely tracked and updated while boosting the products’ demand-hitting prospects;
- PIMcore – another popular open-source PIM platform that centralizes digital data inside a convenient dashboard.
Read more about choosing a flexible PIM solution:
How to make sure a PIM solution you are looking to adopt would perform to the max and bring sales-boosting results in the field? Here’s a guide on the main properties of a flexible PIM tool.
Gepard Technology & Architecture
Gepard PIM is a specialized solution with a heavy focus on inside-out product data optimization. When integrated with the eCommerce technology stack, Gepard helps take all product content-related processes to a market-defining level due to the following specifics.
API-First Structure For Next-level Connectivity And API-Driven Opportunities
An API-focused architecture makes Gepard easy and fast to integrate and use across any number of product content channels and endpoints. The platform can be easily extended with third-party solutions to ultimately accelerate data import/export capabilities even from the most remote locations.
Cloud-Native Performance For Unlimited Scalability
No downtime and remote access to the PIM system at any time, from any location, makes product information management versatile and rapid. Users get full control over the cloud format (private, public, or hybrid) while cloud security is insightfully managed by the provider.
Headless Architecture For Time-Saving, Well-Structured Processes
Decoupled front-end and back-end data touchpoints allow for a separate focus on data structuring and front-end scaling without affecting underlying data. This gives ultimate flexibility to collaborative product content management and improvement.
Technology Stack FAQ
What Is Shopify Tech Stack?
As with any other available eCommerce platform, putting Shopify at the core of your eCommerce development and further management, you may build a tech stack around it. This is done by integrating available tools, extensions, and services that are compatible with Shopify constraints. Shopify App Store has a range of available applications.
For instance, it can be easily integrated with Facebook/Instagram for social media performance, PayPal/Stripe for convenient payments, Hubspot for streamlined work with customers, QuickBooks for order processing, Gepard for consolidated product info management, and more.
What Are The Future Trends Of Building Tech Stacks In eCommerce?
When it comes to assembling up-to-date eCommerce tech stacks, major trends for years to come are focused on modular architectures that can be built and optimized “brick-by-brick” instead of monolithic solutions; multichannel opportunities that combine all existing sales and marketing channels; smart automation with AI- and ML-powered processes; and in-depth product data management approach for streamlined sales.
What Makes A Good Tech Stack For eCommerce Business?
An efficient eCommerce tech stack can only be achieved with relevant, well-tried-and-tested tools picked and integrated in line with your business capacities, including business size, budget, scaling prospects, and development time requirements.
Sealing Up Your eCommerce Tech Stack
Setting up a perfectly fitting eCommerce technology stack can be quite confusing with the vast availability of various dedicated tools and solutions in the market. Let this here article be a cheat sheet for picking some of the top technologies in the field. As the final pro tip, it would be a good idea to prioritize product data and the way you consolidate and manage it.
Gepard offers an all-in-one solution for centralized product content management that cuts time-to-market and saves costs while boosting marketing capacities through focused automation. With Gepard, you get vast eCommerce connections out-of-the-box, an ability to receive verified product content without going far, a way to standardize data separately for brands and for retailers, and more.
Learn more about the capabilities of Gepard in practice – submit for a demo.
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