What Is A Modern Ecommerce Technology Stack?
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What Is A Modern Ecommerce Technology Stack?

In this podcast, experienced consultants James Gurd and Paul Rogers talk about the typical systems that are being plugged into modern ecommerce platforms, such as PIM.

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What does a typical ecommerce technology stack look like for SMEs? Many organisations have moved away from the ‘one source of truth’ platform that does everything e.g. application, logic, compiling code, submitting the html to the browser. Instead, they have a hybrid setup where ecommerce plays a more closely defined role, sometimes it’s simply just a shopping basket & checkout!

An important distinction is now being made by ecommerce teams as to what the role of an ecommerce platform should be and how it enables the business to achieve other functionality e.g. how to support an RMA process without having to be responsible for the heavy lifting of processing returns. James Gurd and Paul Rogers talk about the typical systems that are being plugged into modern ecommerce platforms, such as PIM, what purpose they serve and how they benefit ecommerce businesses.

Tl;dr – what we cover

  1. How the move towards API driven systems is changing the tech people use
  2. Typical 3rd party systems being plugged into ecommerce platforms
  3. The role of middleware
  4. Example vendors and the types of business they suit

Key Discussion Points

  • Why have API-first setups changed the ecommerce stack?
    • Abstraction of logic and move towards exchanging data
    • Not dependent upon the underlying ecom application for your front-end presentation layer
    • Use ecom to send data to other systems like a CMS or a customer front-end application e.g. Vue Storefront, PWA, SPA
    • There are front-end solutions for specific platforms as well as platform agnostic e.g. JMango360 has its own PWA app but also has a front-end for BigCommerce B2B
  • Let’s work from the backend to the front and start with middleware: why is middleware used & how is it used?
    • Handling the logic to enable data to be transmitted in the correct format into legacy systems like ERP, reducing need for expensive and complex updates to back-end systems (Beauty client using BigCommerce whose agency did this with their proprietary middleware to avoid tinkering with Netsuite across multiple countries)
    • Protect against future rework of integration e.g. if swap out an ERP, just need to change the data flows to the middleware, doesn’t impact ecommerce integration
    • Why & how some brands are trying to avoid an ERP
  • Now the role of a PIM, which we’re seeing more of to tackle product data and promotion challenges for business with larger/more/translated catalogues:
    • Some SaaS platform don’t handle translations for product data well, can be fiddly using 3rd party apps like Weglot
    • Modern PIMs like Akeneo and Pimberly enable translation to be pushed direct into their database at product level and support multiple version of data fields, then can push the appropriate version via API out to the ecommerce application
    • Also can be useful for scheduling pricing and promotions to go at the right local time rather than all scheduled from one locale time zone
  • Other systems:
    • CMS & front-end
    • Search
    • Merchandising
    • Customer service e.g. ticketing
  • Shipping & order management:
    • Complex shipping matrices including volumetric, hard to find an ecommerce platform that has the logic natively – people using 3rd parties like ShipperHQ
    • OMS often essentials can be handled with order routing from ecommerce into an ERP, typically ERP takes on the logic though where you need to do things like order delays into warehouse, split shipments, stock allocations from different warehouse etc.

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