How to Create a Node.js eCommerce Platform
Interested in building a Node.js eCommerce platform?
This is a huge market that still has enormous potential.
According to Meticulous Research, “the global e-commerce market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.1% from 2018 to 2025 to reach $24,265.12 billion by 2025”
Developing an eCommerce platform represents an opportunity for companies to make serious money. Here’re a few amazing case studies of companies who hired DevTeam.Space to build their eCommerce products:
- South Florals – Floral eCommerce Web Application
- SoBe – Furniture Retail eCommerce Web Application
- Fun And Function – Toy eCommerce App
What is eCommerce?
Before we move on to this Node.js eCommerce tutorial, let’s discuss some basics.
eCommerce involves buying and selling goods over the Internet. Items are listed by sellers for buyers to purchase. Many think of eCommerce as buying and selling physical goods online, however, it also includes digital products and services.
The first eCommerce transaction took place on August 11th, 1994. It involved the sale of a music CD through a website named “NetMarket”. This website is an American retail platform. Read more about eCommerce in “What is eCommerce?”.
The global eCommerce market
As I said in the introduction, the eCommerce market is huge and is expanding rapidly. Several of the top eCommerce sites are now massive multinational companies.
A Statista report shows that global retail e-commerce sales amounted to $3.535 trillion in 2019. This report projects that by the end of 2023, this figure will reach $6.542 trillion. That’s a substantial growth in a large sector!
As things stood in 2019, several countries have massive eCommerce markets. The top 10 countries in terms of their eCommerce market in 2019 are as follows:
• The USA;
• The UK;
• South Korea;
Read more about this in “Ecommerce sales by country in 2019”.
As of August 2019, the top 7 eCommerce companies in terms of “Gross Merchandise Value” (GMV) are as follows:
You can read more about this ranking in “The 7 largest e-Commerce companies in the world”.
What is Node.js?
Asynchronous event-driven programming eliminates blocking processes, therefore, developers can easily add capacity. Read about it in “Understanding Asynchronous Event-Driven Programming”.
Advantages of Node.js
Node.js offers the following benefits:
- Developers can easily create real-time web apps with it.
- It‘s open-source, therefore, independent developers have helped ensure there are a large number of modules and tools. “Node Package Manager” (NPM) has over 60,000 modules! There is a vibrant community of Node.js developers, therefore, we can expect many more such helpful modules in the future.
- Node.js makes data streaming easier.
- “Platform as a Service” (PaaS) providers like Heroku have enthusiastically embraced Node.js. PaaS providers make development easier, therefore, this is an added incentive for developers to use Node.js.
Popularity of Node.js
Ryan Dahl had created Node.js. The first release of Node.js was in July 2011, and it has gained significant popularity within a decade. Twitter, BBC, and aliexpress are some of the most popular websites that use Node.js, as you can read in this SimilarTech report.
The “Stack Overflow developer survey results 2019” report identifies Node.js as the most commonly-used web framework. 49.9% of the survey respondents stated that they use Node.js.
Why build a Node.js eCommerce platform?
So, is Node.js good for eCommerce?
Building an eCommerce platform with Node.js makes sense due to the following advantages:
- Cross-platform development is easy since developers only need to know Node.js.
- Performance is crucial in an eCommerce platform, and Node.js offers robust performance.
- Asynchronous event-driven programming helps with the scalability, and eCommerce websites need that. This is an advantage of Node.js.
- The vibrant Node.js community is a big help to developers since eCommerce platform development can often be complex.
- There are many plugins available for Node.js development, and these take care of various functionalities and features.
- Data streaming is important for eCommerce websites, and Node.js is a very helpful tool for this.
- Node.js is open-source. You will likely find skilled and experienced developers relatively easily.
- Node.js supports both frontend and backend development. This helps in building real-time communication that customers of eCommerce websites need.
- Websites built with Node.js are lightweight, and they load quicker. This matters to eCommerce platforms.
Read more about why it’s a good idea to build a Node.js eCommerce platform in “Benefits of implementing Node.JS in e-Commerce industry for 2019”.
How to develop a Node.js eCommerce platform?
While SEO platforms such as 3dcart can help eCommerce sites reach their customers, unfortunately, they cannot build a site for you. This requires companies to get their hands dirty.
A software development project to build a Node.js eCommerce open-source platform involves the following steps:
Step #1: Embrace Agile software development
eCommerce entrepreneurs frequently enhance their apps, therefore, iterative development is imperative. Agile is the right methodology for this project. Read “How to build an Agile development team?” for more information.
Step #2: Induct a skilled team
You need a development team with the following roles:
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- Business analysts;
- UI/UX designers;
- Node.js developers;
- A project manager (PM).
Note that you will not need infrastructure architects or cloud platform architects since I recommend you use a “Platform as a Service” (PaaS) provider. Read on.
Step #3: Use Heroku PaaS
One of the most reputed PaaS providers, Heroku offers several advantages:
- Like other reputed PaaS providers, Heroku enables development teams to focus on coding. Heroku handles the cloud infrastructure, networking, servers, middleware, operating system (OS), runtime environment, 3rd party API integration, and scaling.
- Heroku has a razor-like focus on being a great a web app development platform. This ensures a good developer experience.
- Heroku enables developers to deploy, manage, and scale Node.js apps. You can access their comprehensive documentation here.
I have earlier explained how Heroku works, in “How to deploy your Dart app to Heroku?”.
Step #4: Download and install Node.js
Take the following steps to download and install Node.js:
- Visit the Node.js download webpage. Here you can find the platform-specific installers.
- Install Node.js using “Node Package Manager” (NPM). NPM is a popular package manager, moreover, it has a large collection of reusable code. Visit the js package manager webpage to learn how you can install Node.js for your platform.
Step #5: Use a reputed Node.js eCommerce framework
You can expedite the Node.js eCommerce development project using well-known frameworks. There are multiple options, e.g.:
Option #1: Ymple eCommerce Node.js framework
Ymple eCommerce Node.js open-source framework is a robust choice for eCommerce. It offers the following features and advantages:
- It uses a modern technology stack.
- You can get fully responsive design templates. Buyers can use it easily on mobile devices.
- It provides complete integration with frontend and backend.
- There are integrations with PayPal and Stripe.
- There is extensive documentation
- You can check out their eCommerce modules here.
- The development team can also access the detailed NPM documentation for Ymple.
Option #2: Schema.io eCommerce Node.js framework
Schema.io is an eCommerce Node.js framework platform, and it offers the following features:
- There are powerful APIs covering eCommerce functions.
- Entrepreneurs can easily configure their eCommerce store using the admin dashboard, where they can set up workflows.
- You can easily set up a responsive website that will work equally well on smartphones.
- The platform enables offers high performance.
- Entrepreneurs can customize how their eCommerce store will work.
- You can access their documentation here.
- There is also a comprehensive NPM documentation for Schema.io. It covers installation, connecting, usage, caching, etc. Your team can access it here.
Option #3: Total.js framework
- It‘s a full-featured framework, and it enables fast development.
- You can build a high-performance eCommerce web app, and scaling it will be easy.
- The framework includes appropriate NoSQL databases, which are important for eCommerce.
- Media streaming, location, etc. are important for eCommerce, and this framework ably supports these.
- There is high-quality documentation for this framework.
- Your programmers can also access their host of tutorials.
- The coding team can also read the NPM documentation for Total.js.
Option #4: Koa.js framework
Koa.js is a Node.js framework that can help in eCommerce web app development. Check out the following:
- Their NPM documentation, which covers installation, various “How-to” guides, requests, responses, etc.
- There is a detailed tutorial that covers the development of the eCommerce web app with Koa.js, which can benefit your development team. You can read it in “E-Commerce for Node.js developers [with Koa.js tutorial]”.
Option #5: Reaction Commerce platform
- It’s a fully open-source project, developers have complete access to the code base. This enables flexibility.
- Product management, inventory management, adding product images, etc. is easy.
- The platform enables easy order management, customer profile management, check-out processing, and email management.
- “Reaction Commerce” offers product search, user authentication, payment gateway integration, etc.
- It‘s easy to configure discounts, promotions, and flexible shipping rates.
- The UI design is easier with its large library of themes, moreover, the platform has mobile-responsive design templates.
- “Reaction Commerce” has extensive documentation for their platform.
Visit their GitHub repository to download “Reaction Commerce”.
Step #6: Use Heroku DevOps for “Continuous Integration” (CI)
This is an iterative app development software project. Your team will develop, test, and deploy in multiple iterations. You need appropriate tools for build management, test automation, and deployment management.
With Heroku, which is a fully managed cloud PaaS, this is easy, as follows:
- They offer a robust CI process using their DevOps processes, methods, and tools (PM&T).
- Read about their DevOps capabilities in “Heroku is for developers”.
- Heroku also describes their “Pipelines”, CI, review process, GitHub integration, release, etc. with a considerable amount of details. Read “Continuous delivery on Heroku” for a description.
Step #7: Project management with the “Scrum” technique
The best approach for managing this project is to use the “Scrum technique”. I have described this in detail earlier, and you can read “How to build a Scrum development team?”. You need to do the following:
- Form a cross-functional team where designers, developers, testers, etc. work together. This is a “Scrum team”.
- The project manager performs the role of a “Scrum master”.
- You have one or more “Product owners”, who provide the requirements as features in a document. This is called the “Product Backlog”.
- Iterations in a Scrum project are called “Sprints”.
- The team conducts a “Sprint planning meeting”. Here, they estimate the features, and slots different features in different sprints, based on their overall priority.
- When the team works on a “Sprint”, they conduct a “Daily stand-up meeting”. This is for project status reporting.
- When the features are working, and ready for a demonstration, the team calls a “Sprint review meeting”. The project stakeholders approve the sprint in this meeting.
- At the end of the sprint, the team meets in a “lessons-learned” exercise called “Sprint retrospective meeting”.
- Consider using a good project management tool like Asana. I have explained the importance of this in “The 10 best Agile project management tools in 2018”.
- Finally, it’s a good idea to build a minimum viable product (MVP) as it’s a crucial part of the Agile development process.
Developing APIs when building an eCommerce platform using Node.js
You need a consistent framework for the front-end of your app to access the backend, don’t you? I am also sure that you would like to scale your development processes sufficiently to cater to future enhancements.
Well, you need to develop APIs for your core features then. How would you do that? Take the following steps:
- Create RESTful APIs since REST (Representational State Transfer) is the de-facto standard for API development.
- Use a tool like Postman to develop the APIs, and use Swagger to document them.
- Utilize your cloud platform account to host the APIs you create.
- Use PostgreSQL if you need to use an RDBMS. If you need to use a document database, then use MongoDB.
- Secure your APIs as I have already explained.
- Manage the API development, staging, and production environments effectively.
- Design meaningful API URL endpoints, moreover, create effective rules for API requests and responses.
Would you need some help with API development? Check out our guide “How to build RESTful API for your mobile app?” for insights.
Finding developers for Node.js eCommerce platform development
I have talked about inducting a skilled team, but how do you do that? Depending on your local labor market conditions, it can be hard to find competent developers.
We at DevTeam.Space can help! Read our guide “How to find a good software developer” to learn more about our capabilities.
What else should you plan for? Well, you need experienced reviewers to find defects early in the lifecycle. The review process should cover requirements, design documents, test plans, test cases, and code.
Once again, we at DevTeam.Space can help you! Read “Why choosing DevTeam.Space to review your code can ensure your software product is a success” to learn about our review capabilities.
Building a strategic Node.js eCommerce platform?
eCommerce is a growing industry, however, it‘s very competitive. Using a PaaS provider and utilizing well-known Node.js eCommerce-specific frameworks can simplify development bit. Still, if you want to create a Node.JS eCommerce platform that is strategic can be complex and challenging.
Node.js is a hot skill. Finding experienced developers can take time, furthermore, you need to manage the project end-to-end. Consider engaging a professional development partner if you don’t have the relevant experience or can’t find the right developers.
Read more about it in our guide “How to find the best software development company?”.