Custom E-Commerce Websites
At Swift Com, our aim is to build blazing fast eCommerce sites.
At Swift Com, our aim is to build blazing fast eCommerce sites.
Imagine yourself at a shopping mall on a Saturday. With a lot of effort and walking around, you’ve picked your items. You then walk to the till with your two trolleys to pay. The next challenge you face is to pay for your items.
You stand in a very long queue. Finally after a long time, you’re ready to pay for your items. You start packing them out, one by one. This process is lengthy and takes a lot of time. The same issue can occur with eCommerce sites.
If users browse your website and pages are very slow, you lose sales. If your checkout process is slow and you don’t have proper payment methods, your users drop off and never pay.
One important thing to keep in mind with eCommerce is that there is no physical person or place to go to. Your website has to build all the trust required for users to buy from you. That is also why a user interface that is easy to use, is so important. If you don’t pay attention to the smaller details, people will automatically think that eCommerce is not that important to you, and they’ll have an immediate distrust.
This is exactly where Swift Com comes in. We solve these common issues for our clients
A study from Johan Mouton from the following:
“The average conversion rate in 2016 was 1,33% across industries. The top performers was running at a 3,6% conversion rate.”
From the above study, we can then link conversion rate to page-load time, as this is a major factor. In order to achieve a conversion rate of around 1.9%, your website shouldn’t take more than 2.4 seconds to load completely.
The below diagram from the Cloud Flare website is a nice break-down. It shows how load-time can influence conversion rate.
Briefly, we’d like to express this quote:
“It’s ridiculous that the web is still clinging on to the monolithic backends – with their high costs, slower speeds, and huge surface area for attacks – in an age of microservices.”
– Peter Levine of Andreesen Horowitz
How Gatsby works and why we use it?
Below is a diagram from the Gatsby website. In short, it explains exactly what Gatsby does. Gatsby is basically the man-in-the-middle. It builds what users see in front of them.
Using GraphQL in the background, we pull data from any source that has a proper API. The frequently used solution is WordPress. So WordPress stores your pages and posts, GraphQL queries the data and Gatsby builds what the users see.
Why then do we use Gatbys? Well, it’s simple, SSR. SSR stands for server-side-runtime. It’s easily explained with the WordPress menu example. A WordPress menu is generated by PHP, PHP runs on a server. So the user sends the requests to the server, the server processes the PHP and whola, the menu is generated. But what exactly is wrong with this approach. Well, simply the fact that the menu almost never changes. So why would you want to generate an item from the server, every time, for every single users if it stays the same? Good question.
This is the problem that Gatbsy solves. It builds a static copy of your entire site at runtime. This already built copy is the response the user would’ve seen as explained above. So the response is generated once when the developer “builds” the Gatsby site (every time there is a WordPress change, there is a Gatsby build). This build response is a static copy of your site. This static copy is then replicated to all the CDN nodes, meaning no matter where users browse from, your site is blazing fast. The other upside is that there is no server processing required, so no waiting for a server to respond.
But wait, you might ask what to do with dynamic content then? Surely your eCommerce site has dynamic content. The answer is yes, but a massive percentage of it is static. Headers, footers, pages, product pages are all mostly static. Only small amounts of data like stock levers, prices, product names have to be dynamic. So what do we do?
Well, these bits of data are public knowledge anyway. So we query it from the client browser using JSON calls. When a user lands on our product page, the entire static product page loads into their browser, and as soon as the page has loaded, we query the dynamic data. This happens so quickly that we can serve a product page in less than a second.
Below is an example of a Gatsby product page, fully dynamic already (keep in mind that we still have to load external resources such as Google analytics, which we have no control over):
As you can see, the DOMContent took 659MS. You can view the actual website link if you like – https://www.kooibeds.com/product/kooi-pure-medium/
Finally let’s discuss the architecture and why it’s different. Using Gatsby, we essentially decouple the back-end and the front-end of your site. Meaning that changes you make on PHP (server side) won’t affect what you see on the front-end. This has a few down-falls as seen below:
As you can see, most of the cons are due to the difficulty factor. With a normal WP/WooCommerce site, you can simply install a plugin for $80, and you’re away. When using Gatsby, your API has to include the data and everything is up to you. This results in better quality and better client management, so it’s not all that bad!
More important factors to consider are: SEO, Speed, Security, Scalability and Maintenance. Below we’ve constructed a little comparison table.
More reasons why you should use the JAM stack:
In the eCommerce market, a few common misconceptions exist. These misconceptions could lead to an unsuccessful business and online strategy.
Below a few points have been listed:
eCommerce isn’t cheap. To build an eCommerce site, you have to think of your target audience and how you’ll serve them. Always put yourself in the shoes of the buyer. How would you buy this product online? What would you like to see on a website? Why do you have trust in certain eCommerce sites? After asking these questions, you quickly realise a few things:
The above 8 points should make you think, this can’t be that cheap. And you’re right. If you don’t spend a proper amount of time and budget on your eCommerce site, it will never be worth much to you. We’ve seen many people in the industry that stagnate because they’re not willing to allocate a proper budget to their eCommerce site.
We’ve seen many examples of this. There is a common misconception in the market with web development and online services.
People think that it’s a hand-off process. You pay someone a fee and everything just happens. This is not the case. ECommerce websites require a lot of attention. If you don’t have the time, you should atleast have someone within your company that share the vision. But you cannot simply hand off any services such as SEO, SEM or CRO for that matter. It’s a continuous process and your input is valued and required.
In our industry we refer to a product owner. Someone in your company needs to take ownership of your online platforms and solutions. Someone that shares your vision and can make mission critical decisions.
If you don’t have such a person and you’re too busy, chances are your eCommerce site won’t be successful.
In order for our team to work to its full potential, while we’re actively busy on your project, we also demand an available person every day.
Your website is your 24/7/365 salesman. It never sleeps. It represents your business. You need to make sure that your website looks and functions on the same standards, or even better as a brick and mortar store. The same amount of time and input that goes into a physical store needs to go into an eCommerce site.
A lot of people have this idea that if you launch an online store, you’ll simply have success. Unless you have an extremely neache brand that takes off really well, launching an eCommerce site won’t simply give you online success.
You have to spend a lot of money marketing your brand and building trust. Your website should also build the required trust in the users. User experience and ease of use will build a lot of trust.
A super fast browsing experience will also build trust in your brand because people know if your site loads fast, you care about it. think about this, if you search for something on Google and you click on the first result, do you expect a fast experience? What if you click on the result and it takes 16 seconds to load? Immediately you’ll feel as though the company whose website you’re browsing, simply don’t care. It’s a bit like walking into a shop and the salesman takes very long to attend to your query. It’s a bad user experience and a terrible first impression.
SwiftCom is a team of highly qualified and talented software and infrastructure engineers who strive to provide our clients with the best eCommerce and online experience. Together with our team of designers, we create world class platforms.
We make use of technologies like Google Cloud Platform, Redis Object caching, Cloud Flare CDN, WordPress, React Frameworks and many more.
Our Head Office is in Pretoria and we have a regional office in Cape Town.
Did this page interest you? Would you like to work with SwiftCom? If so, you can contact our team and we’ll see how SwiftCom can better understand your needs.