Node.js Ecommerce: Benefits, Architecture, and Best Practices

What Is Node.js eCommerce?

eCommerce involves buying and selling goods over the Internet. It includes both buying and selling physical goods via an online store and the online sale of digital products and services.

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime based on the Chrome V8 JavaScript engine. Node.js supports asynchronous, event-driven programming, which enables more efficient development of web applications.

Node.js is commonly used to build eCommerce applications and develop functionality for eCommerce platforms. It provides numerous benefits, including wide cross platform support, a smooth learning curve, and over 800 ready-made packages that support specific eCommerce features. In addition, Node.js applications are highly scalable and considered to have higher performance than other frameworks like PHP, Java, and Go.

Related content: Read our guide to headless eCommerce

In this article:

Benefits of Using Node.js to Build an eCommerce Application

Here are some of the reasons you should use Node.js as a platform for development of scalable eCommerce applications:

  • Cross platform solution—works on all operating systems and browsers.
  • Smooth learning curve—for developers familiar with JavaScript, Node.js is easier to learn because both the frontend and backend use JavaScript as the programming language.
  • NPM provides many plugins and packages—Node.js provides NPM, a package manager with a large number of packages that are easy to add to a mobile or web application. These packages mean, developers don’t have to build everything from scratch and can take advantage of an open source solution. There are over 800 packages available on NPM with specific eCommerce features.
  • High scalability—Node.js supports scalability, with built in mechanisms to help scale up web applications. This makes it possible to scale up eCommerce applications, making the technology future proof for a business.
  • High performance—Node.js is considered to provide high performance on the server side compared to other runtimes like PHP, Java, and Go.
  • Open source framework with large community—Node.js is open source and has a large community, meaning that the framework is regularly updated and it is easy to get support from the community.

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Options for Building a Node.js eCommerce Website

Building a Node.js eCommerce Application with the MEAN or MERN Stack

The MEAN and MERN stacks are free, open source JavaScript frameworks useful for building eCommerce web applications that respond quickly to traffic surges. They work smoothly due to the following components:

  • MongoDB—a NoSQL database responsible for exchanging and executing data storage and helping Node.JS run the server smoothly.
  • ExpressJS—a back end web framework for constructing applications via a smooth, simple interface.
  • AngularJS (in the MEAN stack)—a front end framework enabling web development with automatic view-model synchronization.
  • ReactJS (in the MERN stack)—a library rather than a framework.
  • NodeJS—an efficient, lightweight JavaScript runtime built on V8 JS.

In the background, the stacks start by processing requests with Angular or React. The requests then go from the client side to Node on the server side and continue to Express, where they request access to the database. Mongo then gathers the data and returns it to Express, which forwards it to Node and back to Angular, etc.

Building a Node.js eCommerce Application with a Microservices Architecture

Node.js supports various microservice frameworks like Seneca. Deploying an eCommerce app using microservices helps reduce the maintenance burden by breaking down processes into small services. It lets you scale and update each service independently and customize prices to specific customers.

An API gateway allows clients to communicate with microservices. This architecture is easier to manage than the MEAN/MERN approach, minimizing issues like maintenance costs and frequent crashes.

Best Practices to Master Node.js for eCommerce Development

Avoid Prototypal Inheritance

Prototypal inheritance is fast and flexible, but it is harder to implement and more error-prone than functional inheritance. It requires calling the inherit function and ancestor constructor up front. You must explicitly wrap object methods in a function to pass them as callback parameters, so it is less useful for binding methods to instances.

Use Standard Code Formats

Websites can be large projects with many moving parts and contributors. Implementing a universal format helps prevent complications when merging code. Ideally, coders should organize large problems into smaller modules. Standard formatting ensures that different developers can understand the code and work on the same project. It also makes maintenance easier.

Address Errors

An eCommerce application must remain free of errors to operate smoothly. Exception handling and asynchronous programming allow apps to minimize errors. There are several ways to handle exceptions and errors in Node.js to prevent crashes.

Adopt a Universal Style for UI Development

UI development can be complicated in large eCommerce projects. Implementing a standard style for your application’s UX and UI makes it easier to design consistent, clean, and manageable code. There should be an organizational style guide to help developers stick to the universal coding style.

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Node eCommerce with Cloudinary

Optimizing images helps web pages load faster, which directly impacts conversion rates for digital commerce. For example, Walmart experienced up to 2% increase in conversion rates on its website for every second that its website loaded faster. Websites like Walmart’s are graphic-intensive, with photos of products, so optimizing these images to look better and load faster are paramount to increasing sales revenue.

Walmart’s experience demonstrates why website owners and application developers need solutions like Cloudinary. Cloudinary is an image and video management platform that transforms and optimizes media automatically, for any device, at exactly the right resolution. This improves page performance, reduces bandwidth requirements, and improves user experience.

Cloudinary supports Node.js eCommerce with SDKs for Node.js and other popular development platforms.

Cloudinary provides the following unique features for eCommerce websites:

  • Consistent experience for shoppers as they switch between devices and channels
  • Brings products to life with intelligently optimized and high-fidelity imagery and video.
  • Efficiently create and deliver experiences at scale with content-aware intelligence
  • Intelligent shoot-to-web workflow that shortens time to market with automation and AI
  • Delivers fast and high-fidelity visual experiences easily with intelligent optimization
  • Reduces repetitive tasks with automated digital-first asset management
  • Automates media-processing tasks at scale with robust APIs, modern SDKs and content-aware AI capabilities

Cloudinary integrates with the following digital commerce platforms:

Cloudinary is trusted by the following digital commerce leaders:

Learn more about Cloudinary for eCommerce and digital commerce