Creating The Perfect E-Commerce Tech Stack

May 15, 2024
6 min read

In today's e-commerce, having a top-tier tech stack is crucial for any merchant. But, with thousands of technology partners available on Shopify, selecting the right ones can be confusing.

In this article, we'll explore the factors to consider when selecting technology partners for your e-commerce store, whether you're starting from scratch or updating an existing tech stack. So, grab your pen and paper, and let's get into it.

Selecting the right technology partners for you

Whether you're starting your e-commerce journey from scratch or migrating to Shopify from another platform like Salesforce Commerce Cloud, you'll need to ensure that your tech stack is top-notch. This means that it serves your unique business needs and creates the perfect user experience for your customers.

So, what is a tech stack? A tech stack is an encompassing term that describes all the technology you use in the e-commerce portion of your business. It can mean something as complicated as your entire architecture (e.g., warehousing, finance, invoicing) or, in this case, the technology app partners you use on your Shopify store(s). One of Shopify's benefits is their partner ecosystem which includes 1000's of technology partners that plug and play with Shopify seamlessly. While Shopify acts as the base structure for your e-commerce store, the partners can be added on to create the ultimate experience.

For example, there are technology partners within the partner ecosystem that specialize in search, like Algolia, Boost Commerce, and Klevu. There are also partners known for one service but have expanded to offer a suite of products, such as Recharge, Yotpo, and Klaviyo.

But with 1000's of options, things can get a little confusing – where do you start? Which partner is the best? Do I need to use all their products or just one? That's where your agency will come in. We help our clients select the right technology partners to serve their unique needs without overloading their stack and increasing their technical debt.

What to consider when building from scratch

First things first, when selecting the right technology partners for your new e-commerce store, you should consider your project size, timeline, and complexity. These factors are essential when you're evaluating each tool. If your business has an extensive catalogue and many product variants, you will need a more detailed search tool than those with smaller stock lists and single product variants. Consider your priorities and goals in delivering this e-com store. What is essential to you? Is it SEO, UX, or Operational ease? If SEO is a priority for our clients, we'll choose different partners and styling options than if operations are where your head's at.

Additionally, if you're moving to headless commerce, which can be a complex project, you'll also need to consider a very different tech stack — see our article on headless commerce for more.

This Works' Shopify Store

For example, when migrating our long-term client This Works to Shopify, we set them up with a tech stack that favored their launch focus areas, but as they grew and developed on the platform, we reassessed their stack.

Updating your existing tech stack

Whether you're already on Shopify or migrating from another platform, regularly reassessing your tech stack is always a good idea. As you grow, your audience expands, your products adapt, and so will your technologies.

Merchants migrating from platforms like Magento may have an existing tech stack that can be easily transitioned to Shopify due to the platform-agnostic nature of some of these partners. But this is also a great opportunity to review your tech stack and determine if you can slim down or bulk up. Are the partners you're using on Magento going to serve your needs on Shopify?

Why update your existing tech stack

Getting bang for your buck

We get it; once your e-commerce store is up and running, you don't want to go back and touch it again. However, partners are constantly updating their products to allow merchants to get more out of them, whether new products or enhancing and improving their existing products. You don't want to miss opportunities to further improve your user experience.

Is everything running smoothly?

One of the main reasons for reassessing your tech stack is to ensure everything is running smoothly—namely, your apps are performing as you intended them to, and you're receiving up-to-date and useful customer data from them. This one may seem obvious, but if your apps weren't implemented correctly to start with, you could run into some serious issues that hinder your entire e-commerce business.

Reducing technical debt

When first setting up your e-commerce store or migrating from another platform, you might have overestimated your needs. For example, you thought because you had a subscription tool on Magento that you'd need it on Shopify, but Shopify's own subscription tool could do the trick. Or, you thought you needed the most expensive and complex search tool when, in reality, your customers are only using the most basic features.

Easier integration with other apps

Shopify partners are often working towards easier integrations with each other. It's worth checking to see if your email provider is now offering a seamless integration with your reviews provider.

What you need to consider when updating your stack

Shopify partners are constantly releasing new features and functionality to adapt to the changing world of e-commerce. So, it's essential to determine if your existing tech stack can support your needs before adding another partner to the mix. For example, partners like Klaviyo and Yotpo have developed from email and reviews and now support a number of e-commerce needs, allowing you to keep everything under one roof. Having everything run from one place can make managing your functionality, data, and customer pathways easier. However, if you are considering having everything (or near enough) under one partner, make sure they provide a high-quality product for each function. Remember, just because your favorite search tool meets all your search needs, this might not translate to other products they introduce, e.g., merchandising.

You should also consider how well any new technology you plan to add to your stack integrates with your existing providers.

Example: This Works

With our client This Works, we integrated all of their technologies to allow seamless data sharing. For their subscriptions, we integrated Recharge and Klaviyo so new subscribers would trigger welcome email campaigns and re-engagement emails for lapsed subscribers, ensuring consistent customer engagement and retention.

This Works uses Rebuy for personalized recommendations on their website. With its 'Smart Cart feature,' This Works can leverage cart-value thresholds like Free Shipping or Free Samples for customers. By integrating Rebuy with Klaviyo, This Works can create a segmented user list of customers who received sample-sized products and follow up with email campaigns promoting the full-size versions.

Final words

Whether you're starting your tech stack from scratch or giving it a refresh, how can you know you're making the right choice? There are so many options, especially in the Shopify ecosystem. While you could choose the most well-known or the highest-recommended and skip ahead to building your store, we highly recommend that you take the time to evaluate every option.

Your tech stack is just as important as the platform you're building on and the design of your store; it's what will keep your customers coming back for more. Work with your in-house e-commerce team or agency to compare functionality granularly, and don't be afraid to speak to other merchants in the industry to find out what's worked well for them and what hasn't.

If you'd like to discuss your tech stack and how to get the most from it, contact our expert team.


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