Building a scalable ecommerce app that supports 1 billion users
E-Commerce is a growing trend day by day. While it can be said to be synonymous with Amazon, there are lots of successful eCommerce startups today. With the advent of mobiles, the growth has been massive. Since mobile apps are more user-friendly than desktop websites, people are using them for varied functions. This has significantly changed how companies reach their customers. Earlier, the brand-consumer interaction was solely through mass media, today ads are specifically tailored to your interests and buying habits.
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Estimated mobile e-commerce sales worldwide
With the growth of these e-commerce applications, shopping habits of consumers have changed drastically as well. It has become a different social interaction altogether. Just a few years back, consumers had conversations about products in stores. Now, the entire landscape has changed. Anyone can share their opinions with the world through reviews. Customers today have immediate access to other’s experiences. Thus, it is particularly beneficial for your business if your brand is receiving excellent reviews. Positive reviews draw more customers to your brand. To grow your app with no roadblocks within the way, you must anticipate this massive influx of consumers.
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So How to build scalable E-Commerce Applications?
Before we attempt to understand how scalable e-commerce applications can be built, we must understand what scalable means. If an application can increase its performance when resources are added to the system, it is scalable. It is also necessary for the improved performance to be proportional to the resources added. With better performance, the app should be able to serve more demand. When datasets grow, it can also handle more substantial units of work.
Here is a quick review of how ecommerce flow for most platforms works. First, the customer goes on the app and logs in to their account. Each customer’s homepage is unique and personalized. This is because the website changes based on their previous searches and purchases. ML algorithms enable apps to recognize the user’s patterns, allowing them to provide a unique experience to each user. After the user decides on a product, they add it to their cart. They are then directed to a page where they must enter shipping and billing information. Finally, after clicking the “Confirm Order” button, the order is completed.
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Scalability not only increases the capacity of servers or databases when needed, but it is also applicable for the technologies used to build the application. Developers have to make sure that technologies used to build an application are scalable and have a great support ecosystem. The structural order followed during this entire process is due to the architecture of the application. The architecture is composed of: the frontend, backend, data, and the infrastructure it runs on. The architecture of an e-commerce application is made up of various technologies which we will now discuss.
Technology Stack Used in E-Commerce Apps
Different components of the architecture of an e-commerce app use different technology stacks. These are the technologies used by the various mechanisms of the app:
The frontend is what your users see when they use your app. It is imperative to optimize the frontend to enhance the user experience of your app. The optimal loading speed of an e-commerce service is 2.5 seconds. If the product page loads for over ten seconds, most customers will leave without purchasing. To make sure the application has a faster load time, apart from optimizing libraries and page content, etc., you should consider using CDN. It will load the content from the nearest location of the user. The use of AWS Cloudfront can make a significant difference in terms of loading speed along with supporting caching strategy.
Backend technologies can be considered the skeleton of an e-commerce website. Without these, the apps would not function well. Backend technologies are very sophisticated. They are responsible for order management, adding products to the catalog, SEO settings, online shop scaling, and user registration. If there are errors in the backend, the entire app will break down. For e-commerce applications, microservice application strategy must be followed to create scalable applications.
For example, if you create a microservice for a shopping cart, you can scale this specific microservice easily. Therefore, even if it goes down, the entire site will not be affected. The use of technologies like Queue can also help in batch processing massive asynchronous requests like sending emails, notifications on the backend. The most popular languages used for backend development are Python, Ruby, and Java. Both languages have great frameworks to create microservice architecture.
E-Commerce applications store a massive amount of data. Almost all data is stored on Linux based databases. Even Amazon’s core technology is entirely Linux-based and has the world’s three largest databases. For E-Commerce applications, speed is really essential. Hence, one has to design the database layer considering read latency, write latency, etc., while making sure it has support in different regions.
It is the servers on which the applications are run. Nowadays, most applications are hosted on virtual servers. This means that the servers are on the cloud, and the app accesses it through a cloud. The most popular cloud service providers are AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. They all support on-the-fly-scalability, which helps one to save costs. It also gets rid of dedicated idle resources when there is less traffic.
Based on the size of the projects and their requirements, various technology stacks are used. Hence, you must find the stack that best aligns with your business goals.
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Things To Remember While Making your E-Commerce App
- E-Commerce applications can have significant, complicated systems. Such large distributed systems are easier to manage when things are kept simple. Make sure that there are no hidden requirements or dependencies in the architecture.
- Performance and reliability can be improved by building your own infrastructure. Your infrastructure will allow you to scale your operation independently. It also allows for maintaining unparalleled system availability. Additionally, you can introduce new services without the need for much reconfiguration.
To build a scalable e-commerce application, you ought to first change your mentality. In traditional systems, nothing goes up or down, and everything remains perfect. But today, as businesses grow, there is a massive increase in customers. This sudden increase in numbers can be chaotic, but the objective of building scalable applications is to handle it efficiently. If your consumer base grows, your app must be well-equipped to handle it. By making your e-commerce app scalable, you can ensure that it is self-sustaining and has excellent potential for growth.
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