The fastest way to build a multi-tenant eCommerce platform.

Jan 31, 2023 |
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Building a multi-tenant eCommerce platform can be an incredibly daunting task. That can be especially true if you are new to this space and exploring new technologies. Many people are busy trying to grow their businesses, but they don’t have the time to manage multiple websites. A multi-tenant eCommerce platform can help you avoid this issue while growing your business at the same time.

A successful eCommerce platform is the key to a successful website. It’s no secret that the more traffic you get, the better you will do. With eCommerce platforms like Magento, Woocommerce, and Prestashop being so popular in the market, there is a massive demand for such platforms. But you will also find that creating one can be daunting at times. The good news is that you can invest a little money or years looking for the perfect team along with other time-consuming efforts. Instead, you can build the project yourself using a simple approach devised by me over these past few months.

Building eCommerce platforms for multi-tenant applications is not easy for newbie developers. You need to be aware of all the subtle technical issues, such as scalability from the client’s viewpoint and the server’s viewpoint, how to make the integration between your pages and templates work, how load times are handled, how to handle different types of requests (static files vs dynamic requests), passing data between servers in an elegant way and so on.

What is an eCommerce platform?

An eCommerce platform is a tool that helps businesses sell their products or services online, either through an existing website or a new one. The platform will allow the business to accept payments, manage inventory, track orders, and more.

This type of platform can be used by small businesses with just a few products or services to sell, but it can also be used by large companies with dozens of items and a large online presence.

It’s important to choose an eCommerce platform that has features that are specifically tailored to your business needs. Some platforms have features like order management, customer service tools, and email marketing built in. Others just have basic tools for creating listings and managing inventory. You’ll need to decide which type of platform works best for your business before you start making any purchases or signing up for trial periods.

What is a multi-tenant eCommerce platform?

Multi-tenant eCommerce platforms are ideal for businesses that want to offer their customers the ability to shop in multiple locations. They allow you to set up web stores that are hosted on a single server, but each store can have its look and feel (and even a separate payment processor). This allows you to scale your business by adding more stores as your business grows, without having to worry about making changes to your development platform or migrating data between stores.

Multi-tenant eCommerce platforms are a hybrid between an eCommerce platform and a content management system. They provide a way for businesses to track inventory and sales, manage customer data, and keep track of product information.

Multi-tenant eCommerce platforms also can host websites on their servers, which means that they can be used to run multiple websites. This is especially important when your business has a large number of products or services, as you need multiple websites to help serve your customers better.

A multi-tenant eCommerce platform is an eCommerce platform that allows multiple companies to use the same website and database. The benefits of a multi-tenant eCommerce platform include

  • Simplicity:Allowing multiple companies to use the same website and database makes it easier for your company to track performance, manage inventory, and ensure that all orders are processed promptly.
  • Cost savings: Maintaining multiple websites with separate databases can be costly for companies that have to spend money on additional servers, maintenance fees, staffing, and other costs associated with managing different websites.
  • Improved customer experience: As customers shop online from different websites owned by different companies, they may experience longer wait times when placing an order or receiving an item because they have to wait until all companies have processed their order.

Key parts of multi-tenant eCommerce platforms

The key parts of a Multi-tenant eCommerce Platform are-

  • Admin Console:
    The admin console is where the owner or the customer care team manages all created stores and store accounts. Services like a recurring payment system or CRM can also integrate the Admin console.
  • Store Owner Dashboard:
    This is the place store owners can manage their eCommerce websites. Through the store dashboard, the owner can edit inventory, update prices, manage CMS pages, set up payments, manage orders, etc.
  • Final Customer Storefront:
    The final customers of the eCommerce site check the offer here by looking through the available products and categories. To create a great user experience, you must ensure that your online store’s storefront is well-designed and developed. As the storefront is critical to SEO, it must be well-optimized.
  • Marketing Website:
    A marketing website is one of the most crucial parts of an eCommerce business. The website not only showcases the products and services but also attracts customers and turns visitors into buyers.

    Merchants can also sign up, create their store, and pay for their products on this website. Usually, merchants use third-party subscription operators like Recurly or Stripe.

    The marketing website is a different application. It’s not based on any eCommerce platform.

The right tech for multi-tenant eCommerce platforms

There are currently few multi-tenant eCommerce platforms available. But this is slowly taking a shift.

Leading eCommerce SaaS solutions already in existence are all custom-built.

Because of the high cost and lengthy time to market, developing a bespoke platform is not feasible when establishing the MVP.

Our recommendation is to choose an open-source eCommerce platform, even without multitenancy capability. It should be easy for your development team to add it quickly.

Your SaaS business e-commerce platforms should have-

  • All the eCommerce features you wish to provide to your customers, which are
    1. Products
    2. Categories
    3. Management of Stocks
    4. Live Search
    5. Discount or coupon codes
    6. Flexible mechanism for managing order status
    7. Editor for CMS Pages
    8. Sales Reports and Analytics
    9. Support for several languages and currencies with manageable translations
  • A developed and well-maintained system with updates and fixes.
  • A cutting-edge technological stack that is simple to maintain and can be modified to suit the requirements of your clients.
    1. A strong, developed, and well-documented API is essential.
    2. Possibly supporting PWA.
  • Simple and personalized back office as your store owner dashboard.

The right storefront technology

The storefront will undergo the most frequent changes. It is important to know that future customers will expect you to offer a variety of themes and allow them to customize their stores. The technology you choose must meet these requirements.

Why do you need a separate storefront?

You should separate the platform’s key features from the storefront. It’s important for your storefront to not be constrained by your core tech stack.

Since the storefront is only interacting with the core using its API, you can use any tech stack you like and alter it in the future without having to rewrite the entire system.

What are the top storefront technologies in the market?

One of the top 3 frameworks or libraries should be taken into consideration because the storefront is primarily front-end:

  1. React
  2. Angular
  3. Vue

Choose the stack that you and your existing or future development team feel most comfortable using.

Multi-tenant eCommerce platforms

Here are some examples of the most popular multi-tenant e-commerce platforms:
 

  • Shopify
    Over a million businesses worldwide are powered by Shopify, an all-in-one cloud-based eCommerce platform. For a monthly price, it offers a wide range of capabilities, including store administration, in-store analytics, mobile apps, ready-to-use custom themes, different editing tools, web hosting, SSL certificates, CRM, and many more.
  • Selz
    Similar to Shopify, Selz markets itself primarily as a platform for renting or selling digital goods like eBooks, courses, software, and apps. You can sell anything you want, though, using Selz, so be aware that’s not all. For instance, you don’t need to create an actual online store to start selling on your already-existing website.
  • Squarespace
    Although Squarespace offers tools for creating and hosting websites, it differs significantly from the two platforms listed above in one key way. Because Squarespace isn’t just focused on selling items, you can also use it to create personal websites, blogs, and magazines.

Fast marketing steps:

Make the right development team

This type of project requires a strong team with the following skill sets:

  • Frontend (such as React) developers
  • Backend (such as .NET or NodeJs) developers
  • DevOps engineers with cloud expertise
  • Project manager
  • QA testers
  1. Start design and initial development work at the same time
    Your objective is to launch the project quickly, and the simple trick is to have several teams working on it concurrently.

    You now know the functionality of your platform, and you have the headless eCommerce API, so you have everything you need to start the design phase and the development phase.

    Timeline: Your designs should be done in 3 weeks.

  2. Prepare the admin console, but don’t care about its look
    The admin console is a resource for you and your prospective support team; it doesn’t have to look good or function on a variety of devices—it just has to function. Typically, you’ll be managing it from your desktop computer.

    The Django Admin is the best solution for this type of dashboard. To manage all the data, it automatically generates admin pages, listings, and forms. You can easily the admin area quite easily on Django.

    Timeline: It’s best to start working on the admin console from the beginning of the project. It should not take you more than two weeks.

  3. Implement the storefront using headless eCommerce API
    As you already have your eCommerce platform, you can now use its GraphQL API to feed your storefront with the data. You can write it from scratch.

    Timeline: The most time-consuming phase is setting up the storefront. It is the program that your client will use. It must function properly. It will take you about six weeks to complete.

  4. Customize store owner dashboard
    You can create a customized Store Owner Dashboard at a later time. For the MVP, all you need to do is take the default admin section of the eCommerce platform and modify it slightly by deleting features that you don’t want to provide to your customers.

    Timeline: This should be completed in two weeks.

  5. Release multi-tenant eCommerce platformMVP won’t need an expensive hosting solution; you can choose AWS or any other cloud platform.

Conclusion

Despite being a complex and ambitious project, building multi-tenant eCommerce is definitely achievable with the right framework, toolset, and approach.

Ultimately, using an open-source platform can be a win-win situation for eCommerce companies, even if they don’t always make the switch right away. And with the right combination of tools, it’s possible to dip a toe into the growing trend of multi-tenant platforms while still maintaining your serverless stack.

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