The modern ecommerce platform, Shopify, serves as an essential first point of contact for customers. It allows business owners to operate quickly and effectively, giving customers customized views of their available information.
As a developer, Shopify would be interesting to use and work with. However, you should critically assess it before you go ahead, For this reason, it is preferable to use an e-commerce platform that can successfully achieve the results and objectives you have set and provide you with all the satisfaction you will require.
This article will first highlight five (5) drawbacks that Shopify has and how Medusa can potentially resolve them.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an ecommerce platform with a subscription-based model that aids companies of all sizes in selling both physical and digital goods. In addition, Shopify is a user-friendly ecommerce website that assists developers in setting up an online store and managing online sales via a dashboard.
With Shopify, you can either set up a store or use an existing website to sell products. Additionally, the Shopify Buy button allows you to sell items through social media, guest blog posts, and emails, and in person.
The Shopify platform offers various services, such as payment processing, marketing, and user engagement tools. As great as Shopify is, there are five drawbacks you should know about Shopify as a developer. See some of them below.
5 Challenges Shopify Developers Should be Aware of
Rigid or Monolithic Architecture
Shopify is based on a monolithic architecture. A monolithic application architecture is a single, integrated system that houses several ecommerce features. In a monolithic application, all components rely on one another due to the close bonding between the frontend and backend.
It means that changing a single frontend component would affect the entire ecommerce application, and if anything goes wrong, the entire monolithic structure collapses.
Also, making changes depends on whether the codebase is open or closed. When a codebase is closed, this implies that the source code being used is not accessible for developers to make any changes to them. In Shopify's case, the codebase is closed.
A Barrier to Full Ownership of Tech Stack
As a cloud-based ecommerce platform, Shopify prevents developers from having direct access to the source code or the necessary facilities. Instead, the developers rent access to the platform and its features from Shopify.
This limits developers from accessing the code and adding features that are not on Shopify such as multi-currency support, omnichannel support, etc.
Also, developers can’t choose the tools in their tech stacks such as the frontend framework to use, which can be a big disadvantage as using frameworks like Next.JS can optimize the website’s speed and SEO.
Limitations in Scalability and Custom Logic Building
Shopify's rigid architecture means that it has limited expansion and capacity to create or update custom logic. Shopify is limited in inventory, order fulfillment, and customer management demands; hence, businesses might eventually exhaust the platform's resources.
As earlier said, Shopify, being a proprietary platform and not open source, deprives developers of the freedom to choose their tech stack and often need hacky workarounds for custom functionalities.
Limited Multi-currency Support
Shopify has restrictions on some features like multi-currency support. It is a major problem for the developer due to its specific working requirements. The function can only be used if the merchant turns on both Shopify Market and Shopify Pay, which are only accessible in 17 countries.
Due to the limitations of this feature, developers will need to replicate custom functionalities across platforms, and develop and manage many stores for different currencies. The results in a significant increase in manual labour and human error.
Inability to Integrate Best-in-Breed Solutions
It is challenging to add third-party services, integrations, or tools to Shopify. Such third-party services include CMS (Contentful and Strapi), marketing platforms(e.g., SendGrid and S3), search platforms (Meilisearch), analytics (e.g., Segment), fulfilment providers, payment providers, and notification systems.
Medusa is a composable commerce platform that aims to provide developers with a great experience while starting up, building up, and managing a great store. Medusa supports a modular approach which gives developers building blocks to create their ecommerce store, providing more flexibility.
Medusa offers higher-level features such as end-to-end order handling, customized solution packages, an accessible admin interface, a composable architecture, multi-currency support, and many more. Below are some of these features explained further.
Medusa's composable architecture comprises of three components, namely the headless backend, the admin dashboard, and the storefront.
Medusa’s architecture is adaptable and concept-based, which is created for easy adjustments and usage. Medusa’s admin panel has no structural regulations. Since the frontend and backend are separate, changes to any part won’t affect the other. You also have the liberty to choose any frontend framework when building.
With your Medusa server, you have access to two pre-built storefronts, one made with Next.js and the other with Gatsby. By interacting with Medusa’s REST APIs, you can also create your storefront using any framework of your choice.
Full Ownership of Developer’s Tech Stack
Medusa's open source architecture allows you to build your own headless structure and gives developers more flexibility. As a result, you will have complete control over your ecommerce features and tech stack.
In this context, Medusa allows developers to switch out some tools like the event queue system or caching system. Developers can also choose the frontend of their choice to utilize optimizations related to development, SEO, and more.
Moreover, You can control your unique storefront, your adaptable server, an easy-to-use admin panel, a product editor, and many more. Developers will have total control over the code, allowing them to improve the work as they see fit, protect their data, and back it up.
Wide Scalability and Flexible Custom Logic Building
Since Medusa is self-hosted, scaling and custom logic building is flexible. As an online store grows, developers can easily add resources like extra servers or bandwidth.
By adding more resources to the Medusa server, the store can handle increased traffic and sales without experiencing performance issues. Medusa's engine offers out-of-the-box functionalities.
Medusa also provides abstract layers and a module resolution API that allows developers to easily customize the logic provided in the core to implement the functionalities that work best for their use case.
With Medusa, there is no need to build additional stores or manage different currencies. All of this can be done using Medusa's single admin dashboard. In the same store, you can create multiple regions and choose the currency for each one. The product's price can then be set differently for each currency.
Medusa also provides price lists that allow overriding prices for each currency and region based on specific conditions.
To learn more about this multi-currency support, you can check out this article.
Ability to Integrate Best-in-Breed Solutions
With Medusa, third-party integration becomes easy. Medusa supports a range of third-party integrations out of the box, including CMS (Contentful and Strapi), marketing (e.g. SendGrid and S3), search (Meilisearch), analytics (e.g. Segment), fulfilment providers, payment providers, and notification systems.
As viewed from a developer's perspective, incorporating third-party software enables them to construct software solutions that seamlessly integrate all the necessary features that a customer may need.
This means that instead of directing users to a different application to complete tasks like document interaction, signature provision, or digital form filling, they can provide a continuous experience that is simpler to navigate and manage from beginning to end.
Furthermore, developers can guarantee better platform management, ultimately reducing time and costs in business processes and delivering the best possible user experience.
Medusa is an excellent choice for developers who desire total control over the integrations, customizations, and codebase of the ecommerce platform.
Developers seeking a scalable platform where they can control the entire user experience, create an ecommerce solution from the ground up with a reliable starting point, and build a great and successful ecommerce store should consider using Medusa.
Should you have any issues or questions related to Medusa, then feel free to reach out to the Medusa team via Discord.
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