Is Node.js Good for E-commerce? Building Online Store in 2021

E-commerce platform is a complex system from a technical perspective. To make all the pieces work together, you need a reliable technology that will support it. Node.js is fast and scalable, but how to make sure it’s the right match for your platform?

The Beauty of Building Apps with Node.js

Node.js is a Javascript environment that lets you develop performant and scalable applications. It’s a perfect match for applications such as real-time collaboration tools, chats, streaming apps or other applications that deal with multiple I/O operations. However, it doesn’t cope well with CPU-heavy software as the long-running calculations block incoming requests, which can lead to a drop in performance.

Performance

Node.js supports multitasking by giving better outcomes with lower costs. Comparing it to – say – PHP, it’s way more convenient. As the buyer’s journey at an e-commerce store involves numerous operations, such as adding things to the basket, changing product features, choosing payments etc., it’s crucial from the performance viewpoint that the technology serve such tasks efficiently. And Node.js effectively handles different operations conducted at the same time, which makes it a good choice for e-commerce.

Scalability

Node.js enables quick scalability. In a short period, your e-commerce store can grow substantially. It is an important factor to consider when choosing the technology. Node has an inbuilt mechanism that helps to manage scalability and adjust it to your individual needs.

Big and Active Community

The Node.js community is a very active and vibrant group of developers who contribute to the constant improvement of Node.js. Thanks to their cooperation, the framework is well-documented, up-to-date and continuously supported, which makes the development much easier and faster. They produce a ton of ready solutions, codes in Github, plugins, modules and many more possibilities. In addition, if a problem pops up, chances are you already have the answer on StackOverflow.

Many Plugins and Packages in npm

Node.js comes with a great deal of packages that can be easily implemented in your app. That way, developers don’t need to write everything from scratch but can leverage reliable open-source solutions. It significantly increases the speed of development. There are great packages available for e-commerce too.

One Language on Back- and Front-end

Node.js is a JavaScript-based environment, and many popular front-end frameworks (such as React, Ember, Angular) use the very same language. Therefore, you can create applications which are isomorphic that is written in one language. It streamlines the development process, the communication between front- and back-end teams is way easier, and they can understand both sides of the codebase much better. Potentially, you might have a smaller and more efficient team that is easier to manage. Finally, with no technological diversity recruiting new people in case of scaling up won’t be a problem.

Tips and Things to Remember

After you weigh up all the options and decide to go for Node.js, there are a few things to consider about the development.

Choose the Right Solution

Depending on your needs, the number of features and the complexity of an application, you will have a bunch of options to develop your e-commerce store. There are a few ready solutions to create such an app including platforms such as Prime Fusion, Reaction Commerce and Trader.io. Naturally, you can also build an app from scratch if your project requires unique characteristics. Let’s go through all of the options.

  1. Prime Fusion
    Prime Fusion is a product fully based on MEAN stack, a full-stack javascript framework that includes MongoDB, Express, AngularJS, Node.js as well as GraphQL, webpack, React, Gulp, Babel and Mocha. All the above mentioned databases and frameworks provide developers with a complete set of tools to build a stable e-commerce platform. Prime Fusion can be easily modified and doesn’t require special knowledge about creating a store – everything comes with the framework.
  2. Reaction Commerce
    Reaction Commerce is an open-source, real-time platform based on Meteor Framework. It is a fast, flexible and scalable solution that plays nicely with npm, Docker and React. The codebase is modular, so you can tailor the solution to fit your needs. Everything can be extended, overwritten or installed as a package. It also provides extensive real-time analytics to help you make better business decisions.
  3. Trader.io
    Trader.io is also built around MEAN stack. It offers a flexible, scalable API and all basic functionalities you will need in your e-commerce store. The solution was built by a team of developers who had previously created a lot of e-commerce applications and then decided to take that existing code and make it open-source.
  4. Own solution
    The last option is to code your own solution that would be fully in line with all your needs. Building it from scratch will give you much bigger flexibility. However, it will take more time and money to create it and require more experience from developers.

Consider Technology Coherence

Node.js serves only as a backend for your e-commerce store, and you also need to think about what technologies you will use for other parts of the application. It’s important that all the frameworks and solutions stay consistent. That’s why the best option is to use a ready package offered by e-commerce platforms mentioned in the previous section. That way, you will avoid many problems that may appear when developing the app.

Is It a Good Choice?

In many cases, Node.js can give you higher performance than other technologies. It’s also proven that it’s a stable and fast solution for building e-commerce stores. It comes with a bunch of ready frameworks that make development easier and quicker. However, choosing stack is an individual case and depends on many factors.

10 Best Open Source Ecommerce Platforms

Online presence is vital if you want to stay competitive in today’s world. This is true both for small and medium-sized companies. However, before contacting an e-commerce agency, it is important to choose the right platform that will meet your business needs. Because all companies are of different sizes, processes and target audience.

In this article, we will review top eCommerce platforms you can choose from, including the open source eCommerce platforms comparison. Using this information, you will get a clear picture of modern eCommerce technologies.

To begin with, you should decide whether you need an open source eCommerce solution or another type of platform. Before choosing any platform, you should first answer these questions:

  • Does my online shop have custom features?
  • Do I have enough budget to hire a team of eCommerce developers?
  • Is the custom web design essential for my business?

If your answer is “Yes” to all those questions, we can move further, because your option is an open source eСommerce website builder.

Also read:How to Launch a Successful e-Commerce Website: The Ultimate Checklist

What is the best eCommerce platform 2021?

Today there are many types of open source eСommerce software for every business. Their main benefits are:

  • Most of them are free.
  • Platforms give business a customizability opportunity.
  • You can scale your online shop anytime.
  • Most platforms with open source have developed community support.

In this article, we are going to share the open source eСommerce software comparison.

1.  Magento Community Edition

Many online retailers think that Magneto is the best open source eСommerce platform. Why? Because currently, it holds about 26% of the e-commerce software market. That fact makes Magento an industry leader. However, it does not suit all companies. There are different plans on this platform. For instance, Magento Enterprise Edition, mostly used by big companies, costs about $16,000 a year. Nevertheless, Magento also has a solution for small and medium companies. With a Community Edition, online retailers can enjoy loads of features for free. The most notable features are of using different currencies and supporting languages, managing multiple stores, and customs modules.

Another benefit of using Magento is a wide range of plugins and add-ons. That way, this platform provides users with flexibility and infinite scalability.  

At the same time, Magento has its drawbacks. First, since the community is very big, it could be a challenge to find the answer to your need in the forums. In most cases, even if an online retailer has knowledge in coding, he would rather hire an e-commerce agency to make all the necessary changes.

You should not pay for Magento Community Edition, but if you want some custom features or a beautiful design, you should buy extensions, plugins and templates at the marketplace.

2. osCommerce

If your business needs a platform simple in maintenance, osCommerce is a perfect choice. This “old reliable” solution is still popular among online retailers.  To provide your online shop visitors with custom designs and functionality, you can use 7,000 extensions created by osCommerce developers.

osCommerce platform has developed a community that includes over 26,000 online retailers. In case of any problems with your website, you can use the support network.

If you think that osCommerce suits you the best, you should know about its disadvantages. The platform is quite old and not as powerful as modern e-commerce solutions. In this case, online shop scaling could be a challenge.

3. OpenCart

This platform suits perfectly to online retailers, who have a small business and are not technological persons. This solution is easy to set up. OpenCart has basic e-commerce functions that might be helpful to start your first online shop. However, this can also be a disadvantage if you plan to scale your business and launch marketing activities.

Meanwhile, in the first stages of setting up an OpenCart website, you need to hire an e-commerce agency to help you with some code. To add more functions and to make your online shop more flexible, you can use tons of different plugins.

OpenCart weak point is that some plugins do not always work together and have poor compatibility. Another drawback is updated that may never come. If you are not scared to put your business at the mercy of software developers, you can use this solution.

4. Spree Commerce

This online store platform was developed on Ruby on Rails. With many online business owners, Spree Commerce platform is growing very fast. Why is it so popular? Users say this platform is easy to learn and has rich functionality.

The platform also provides many ready-made extensions so users do not need to use a third party for improving feature list.

Spree Commerce has advantages of scalability and flexibility. Online retailers can add any custom feature to their website. Such advantages make this e-commerce solution one of the top eCommerce platforms in 2018.

5. PrestaShop

This solution is very popular among online retailers. For this reason, we decided to add PrestaShop to this open source eCommerce platforms reviews.

PrestaShop has the intuitive admin panel. Users can easily install an e-commerce website. With this platform, you can determine the level of technical control since there are both self-hosted and fully hosted options. Moreover, both of them are free.

Nevertheless, PrestaShop also has its disadvantages. There are limited options for website customization. If you are looking for a platform that allows your business to create the bright design and many graphic elements, look for something else.

To customize the design on PrestaShop website, you can buy extra themes.

6. Zen Cart

Zen Cart platform has many users and a great supporting community. If you need a platform with developed product management features, this one will fit your business. This open source website builder has over 150,000 members in the support community.

What advantage will you get with Zen Cart? The main advantage as we said before, is great product management. Users are free to create sales, specials and control inventory.

However, pay attention that adding too many products may slow down the system. If your business offers many products, you should consider another open source eCommerce software.

When choosing Zen Cart as an open source e-commerce platform for your online retail business, you should be aware that this platform has a kind of unattractive design by default. To make an e-commerce website on Zen Cart attractive, you will need some help from developers. You can also buy templates to make your storefront look more attractive.  

7. WooCommerce

If you’re into WordPress and want to start an online business, we can offer you several options. However, in this part, we are going to tell you about the most popular WordPress plugin WooCommerce. This leading open source solution for e-commerce also has a great user community. One of its benefits is that you can set up and manage your online shop without any technical knowledge. User-friendly admin panel made WooCommerce very popular among many retailers.

This platform is mobile friendly. With this feature, your online shop visitors can make orders from their mobile devices or tablets. As a result, you increase your sales. Moreover, one of the add-ons even allows you to create a mobile app with your products.

Take into account that WooCommerce works only with WordPress websites, which is not suitable for some types of businesses. Nevertheless, if you are familiar with WordPress admin panel, WooCommerce will be a great option for your business. To get custom features out of this open source e-commerce solution, online retailers should pay for extensions and templates.

8. JigoShop

JigoShop is one more option for WordPress fans. Like WooCommerce, this solution is easy to set up. If you want to make your online shop effective and convenient, you should pay for additional themes, extensions and plugins.

The main disadvantage of Jigoshop, as for WooCommerce – you cannot link product variations with this platform. For instance, if a business sells products of different sizes and colors, the platform requires specifying a color option for every size. The process of creating so many pages may take plenty of time.   

Default features of Jigoshop are very basic, but you can buy additional upgrades to satisfy your business needs.

9. Drupal Commerce

If you are familiar with Drupal admin panel and looking for an e-commerce solution, Drupal Commerce may be the right choice for you. This open source e-commerce solution is not only SEO-friendly but also flexible. Do not forget about clear administrator panel and advanced payment modules, even subscription-based.

As you understand, this solution works only with Drupal websites. From the beginning, Drupal Commerce has only basic features for e-commerce. To extend a website functional, you can buy Commerce Kickstart” package. Consisting of the most popular add-ons, it will give the new online shop a nice start.    

Consider this option if you are looking for an online shop with basic features, but you plan to expand it with third-party extensions.  

10. VirtueMart

VirtueMart is an e-commerce extension developed for websites on Joomla. It is extremely easy to set up and run an online shop with this solution. Especially if you want to sell overseas since it has multi-language capabilities.  

This extension is popular for SEO friendly features, allowing online shop owners to get more traffic that is organic. VirtueMart provides users with not only inventory management but also invoicing.

How to choose the Best Platform for your online business?

Since you now know about the most popular open source eCommerce solutions, you can make the right decision for your business. In the table below, we share additional information about most platforms solutions and maintenance prices.

 MagentoWooCommerceOpencartosCommerceDrupal Commerce
The number of online shops216,548396,171179,10080,14113,989
% share of top 100,000 eCommerce websites using open source technologies58.2Data not valid6.011.17.2
Number of add-ons, extensions and plugins availableHighHighMediumMediumMedium
Availability of expertise for development and maintenanceVery easily availableVery easily availableSuitable expertise is difficult to findSuitable expertise is difficult to findVery easily available
Overall development and maintenance costLowLowHighHighMedium

In this table, we share the comparison of pros and cons of the top e-commerce open source platforms.

E-commerce platformPrice from (per month)Pros “+”Cons “-“
Shopify$9Ease of use, wide range of features, extendable, mobile-friendly, great supportAdvanced customization difficult, expensive, no blogging capabilities
BigCommerce$29.95Easy to use, feature-rich, great design options, SEO and marketing, payment options, customer supportConfusing plans, expensive, lack of ownership
Magento$5Feature-rich, third-party integrations, customizable, scalable, marketing-friendly, well-supportedUnsuitable for beginners, can be hard to find a developer, can be costly for the enterprise
WooCommerce$0Cost-effective, easy to setup and use, feature-rich, customizable, well-supported, SEO and marketing, full ownershipAdvanced customization skills required, dependent on WordPress, true costs difficult to calculate

Shopify just made a $2 billion windfall on Affirm IPO, six months after their partnership
The two companies forged a partnership in July for online lender Affirm to become the exclusive provider or point-of-sale financing for Shop Pay, Shopify’s checkout service. As part of the deal, Shopify was granted warrants to buy up to 20.3 million shares in Affirm.
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/13/shopify-makes-2-billion-on-affirm-ipo-six-months-after-partnership.html

Conclusion

Without knowing your business size, specific and needs, it is impossible to say which platform is the best.

If you are looking for an online shop with basic features, you do not need to pay for advanced modules and extensions. Yet conversely, if you want to surprise website visitors with a bright design, custom features and you have enough budget, high-performance platforms suit your business more.

We hope that our open source eCommerce software review was helpful to you.

How to to Speed up PrestaShop

Although online shopping is much more convenient than going to a brick-and-mortar store, people tend to be less patient when making purchases over the internet. Users expect instantaneous reactions when they click on links. The longer they have to wait, the more likely they are to get cold feet. Consequently, online stores that prioritize speed make more money.

If you use PrestaShop for your ecommerce website, you have many tools available to fine tune your shop’s performance. This guide will cover some simple ways to speed up PrestaShop.

How to speed up PrestaShop: 8 tips to optimize your shop’s performance

PrestaShop is an open source platform that allows anyone to create their own online shop. Written in PHP, PrestaShop is a popular solution for websites of all sizes thanks to its wide selection of add-ons. Check out each of the 8 tips below for advice on how you can speed up your own PrestaShop site.

1. The three C’s: Combine, compress, and cache

This option will condense all of your CSS, JavaScript, and HTML into single lines of code, therefore, getting rid of any whitespace or unnecessary characters. Thus, your file sizes will be smaller, and your web pages will load faster. From the top menu bar, look under the Advanced Preferences tab and click on Performance. Then, look for the CCC option.

2. Choose a cache module

The importance of implementing a cache module cannot be underestimated. On top of reducing page load times by several seconds, in some cases, they can drastically reduce your server load since delivering cached files consumes minimal resources.

However. not all caching modules are created equally. There are free ones out there, but serious online stores should invest in a premium option like JPresta Page Cachextendify Express Cache or Page Cache Ultimate Module.

3. Double up your web servers

When it comes to choosing a web server, Nginx or Apache are your obvious options. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, so which one should you use? The answer is both! Using the two servers simultaneously makes up for their individual deficiencies. The most common approach to this is to put Nginx in front of Apache as a reverse proxy. That way, Nginx will handle all of the static content requests while Apache handles dynamic content requests. To learn more, check out our complete Nginx vs Apache guide.

4. Invest in a CDN

If you haven’t already, take advantage of a content delivery network (CDN) to speed up content delivery. Once you set it up, simply input the media service information into PrestaShop. A content delivery network will cache your static assets across its network of edge servers around the globe. Therefore, a visitor’s request can be routed to the CDN’s nearest edge server as opposed to traveling to the origin server each time.

5. Use the latest version of PHP

Installing or upgrading to the latest version of PHP could bring some major speed improvements. PHP 7 was a substantial upgrade in terms of performance compared to PHP 5.

A few pros of PHP 7 include:

  • The request handling limit for PHP 7 is double that of PHP 5.6, and it responds to each request quicker.
  • By altering how it internally handles data, PHP 7 is 3.5 times more memory efficient than PHP 5.6.

Read this complete PHP 5 vs 7 article to learn more.

6. Optimize your database

For your database, you might want to try Percona Server or MariaDB rather than the standard MySQL for improved scalability. Alternatively, you may want to use a separate server for your MySQL if your website has lots of traffic. The size of your sever ultimately matters less than how it’s set up.

Also, don’t forget to optimize your database every now and then. The free PrestaShop Database Optimization module does a sufficient job. Just make sure you don’t accidentally wipe out order information or catalog data!

7. Take advantage of PrestaShop add-ons

Speaking of modules, the PrestaShop store has a whole section of add-ons for improving your online store’s performance. Such tools allow you to implement lazy loading, image optimization, and other strategies to optimize your user experience.

8. Uninstall any unused modules

PrestaShop 1.7 comes preloaded with hundreds of features and modules, many of which you don’t need. Disable and uninstall any modules your store doesn’t use so that they don’t get loaded.

Speed testing tools

Of course, you can’t know if your optimization efforts are paying off unless you quantify your gains. Thankfully, speed testing tools can evaluate your website’s performance and point out areas for improvement. Whichever tools you choose, run tests regularly to make sure you’re operating at optimal speed.

What not to do

  • Don’t bother with PHP accelerators such as Xcache or APC. Instead, try OPcache for faster PHP delivery.
  • Don’t bother with the PrestaShop stats modules since they take up space in your database. Instead, use an alternative like Google Analytics.
  • Don’t rely too heavily on fonts or files from external sources. Also, limit your use of external tracking scripts.
  • Don’t try to scale large photos with HTML. Optimize images in a program like Adobe Photoshop or with an image compression module.

Evaluating your progress

More important than any metric is your bottom line. Are your optimization efforts driving more sales? While website speed is probably the most pivotal factor to an online store’s success, it’s still just one of many. Your site layout, your prices, and your products are all important. Nonetheless, if customers have to wait for long load times, they’re not likely to stick around to see all that your store has to offer.