Should we move from Shopify Plus to Microservices-based E-Commerce

May 28, 2021

iauro Team

Contributing immensely to the global software solutions ecosystem. DevOps | Microservices | Microfrontend | DesignThinking LinkedIn

Introduction-

If you sell products online, chances are you are using a universal platform. These platforms offer many benefits, but they also have limitations. If you want to go beyond these limits, microservices can help.

Shopify Plus is a versatile platform that lets you use headless systems while retaining most of their functionality. Therefore, if you already have the Shopify Plus setting, you can keep the interface and migrate the background to a microservice-based alternative for more flexibility.

In this post, we will explain why companies are moving away from monolithic e-commerce platforms like Shopify Plus and how they are doing it at a high level.

Why microservices?

Shopify is a fantastic system in many ways, but if you exclusively use it, you have to accept its limitations. If you move all or part of the system away from it, you can avoid these problems. Let’s see what can be improved with microservices.

Safety

Shopify has been featured in the news before regarding data theft. Managing your services means you can address these issues and implement additional security.

Its fraud protection isn’t as comprehensive as some of its services, so switching to a different payment system that suits your needs can give you and your customers peace of mind.

Working with an API means you can control the flow of data in and out of your backend. It also means that you can develop it gradually, building on what you already have. This means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel if you want to offer something new in the frontend.

Technical constraints

One problem with Shopify Plus is the lack of a multi-store architecture, although this feature has been promised in the future and some plugins can help with that. If you can’t wait, you can create a back-end that can handle data across all of your retail outlets.

Shopify Plus’ SEO approach is good, but hard to change. Using a custom front end can allow you to change your URL structure, robots.txt file, and give you better control over your subdomains.

The situation is similar with checkout on Shopify. Difficult to customize, leaving you with a fixed approach. In which there is nothing wrong; it is just that you cannot deviate significantly from it or add certain features easily.

Shopify Plus can also slow down as features are added; its plugins do not need certification. Independent service management means you can ensure they continue to perform at the level you want.

Flexibility

Shopify lets you get started quickly, but you’re tied to a limited framework. With microservices, you can take a modular approach, collect whatever you need, and add whatever you need on top.

Shopify apps aren’t always geared towards international work and can be expensive if you have multiple local versions of your store. Data for multiple stores is also difficult to combine.

Shopify payments may have restrictions on products as well as countries and currencies. You need a local business and a bank account in every territory where you have a store. This makes it difficult to change and expand.

With microservices, you can add API requests to do whatever you want – you are not limited to what Shopify has to offer. If you need support for a new feature, you can do so.

 

Replacing Shopify Plus

You can take advantage of the modularity of microservices to gradually transition from Shopify. Determine what you can get the most from the replacement and create that. If you do this repeatedly, you can step away from Shopify step by step, improving your service with minimal disruption.
 

  • Step 1. Decide where to start your migration
  • Step 2: create the middle layer
  • Step 3: Transfer data from Shopify Plus to microservices
  • Step 4: check and repeat

Step 1. Decide where to start your migration

Let’s take a look at some of the Shopify Plus services and decide what to implement with microservices.

Product Information Management (PIM)
Your Shopify installation will include a lot of product-specific data. Moving this to a separate backend with an API to fetch, modify, and create new products is a great place to start.

Separating this data from Shopify means you can use it on any of the new channels you create. This gives you complete control over what you share, and you can define the formatting and structure as you see fit.

Order Management System (OMS)
Your order management system includes your customer’s purchases as well as payments. You should be able to seamlessly transfer data to your payment processor and delivery settings, allowing users to track and possibly cancel the entire process. There is a lot here, and everything should work like clockwork.

Gaining control over this area means that you can evolve and improve everything over time, adding functionality for the various external services you want to use, while still providing robust core functionality.

Other support services
Shopify Plus offers a whole host of features and services. Some of them will matter more to you than others – priorities differ from business to business. When choosing a feature to include, you should think about what you want to make available to channels other than Shopify, and in which areas there is more room for improvement. This could include store management, customer personalization, or analytics.

Step 2: Create the middle layer

To integrate your new services with Shopify installation, you can configure the API gateway. This will allow you to redirect requests to the new server.

You can also adopt a service grid model that manages the communication between the components of your application and allows you to control the flow of data between your existing application and external microservices.

Once you create a new tier, you can consider replacing services one by one, testing thoroughly at each step and ensuring that the new process is fully integrated before moving on to the next.

 

Step 3: Transfer data from Shopify Plus to microservices

To move data out of the old system, you can export it to a CSV file and then use JavaScript to move it to the new microservice. You can do this along the way, create a service, copy your data into it, and then configure your API gateway to handle future requests from Shopify.

Exporting data from Shopify Plus
Shopify Plus has a simple export system to create a CSV file with ease. Its documentation explains how to do this, among other things, for product, customer and order data. You can find an example file here.

Your new system does not have to use the same fields, so you can choose which of them are relevant to you and which, if any, are required by your system. This flexibility is one of the benefits of working with microservices. You can have a compact and fast system, or a system that contains any additional information you need.

Importing data into microservices
You can use JavaScript to transfer data to the new system. Here is an example that shows how to import data using the latest version of Amazon SQS. You can find more details in Amazon’s documentation.

Step 4: check and repeat

As you expand your microservices and move functionality outside of Shopify, it’s important to test thoroughly. This must be done at every stage. You must have a rigorous testing system in place to make sure everything still works smoothly, including the roaming area and everything else.

Benefits of an iterative approach

A sectional approach means you can focus on a specific service and know where to look if you run into any problems. This simplifies troubleshooting and simplifies overall setup.

In addition to finding errors, it is useful to have metrics that measure the speed of transactions. If you can link them to sales and customer retention, so much the better.

Shopify Plus is a great platform that likes a lot, but the world is moving away from general-purpose software towards more flexible, customized solutions.

Self-service creation is quite achievable, but there are many support opportunities so you don’t have to go it alone. An existing solution can save you time and money, and as these services evolve, the case for this path grows stronger.

Consider using off-the-shelf or custom microservices with Fabric to quickly build a system that offers adaptability to new challenges and opportunities in a solid, reusable foundation.

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