JAMstack: A smarter approach to e-commerce websites

Step aside outdated e-commerce platforms, there’s a newer, shinier model in town. Faster, more secure, better for SEO and with enhanced longevity, it’s changing the way we think about e-commerce. Here’s why.

Introduction

Let’s keep things simple. Unless your e-commerce website is at the top of its game, getting ranked and finding customers can feel like an eternal struggle.

But, what if there’s a solution that’s modern, trusted and open to everyone? Well, it’s your lucky day. Please join us in welcoming a different type proposition to the table: JAMstack.

In this article we’ll delve into what JAMstack is, why it’s different, what gives it the competitive edge and how to get started with a JAMstack e-commerce website. So buckle up, we’re about to begin!

What is JAMstack?

JAMstack is a modern approach to building e-commerce websites. It’s an architecture rather than a programming language or tool.

It stands for:

JavaScript: The programming language for the web. It’s responsible for displaying the content and providing the user experience.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs): A software intermediary allowing two applications to speak to one another. Logging into a website using your Facebook credentials is made possible by an API.

Markup: HTML web code (your content) which is generated in advance (or pre-rendered).

These components are handled separately (or decoupled), so they become easier to work with. It’s then the ‘stack’s’ job to connect everything together to deliver a single solution: The JAMstack e-commerce website.

Traditional approach vs JAMstack

With a traditional content management system (CMS) setup, there is a tight connection between the frontend and backend. The backend is the database with the code and plug-ins, and the frontend has built in themes and templates that display the content. Content requests are pushed to, and gathered from, the website’s ‘origin’ server, meaning it does the majority of the heavy lifting.

With JAMstack, the backend and frontend are decoupled, but they connect together via APIs. This means that as many tasks as possible are pushed to the client side (browser), rather than relying on the origin server for everything.

Getting content to the website customer

When a user interacts on a JAMstack site, the requested content is delivered by a Content Delivery Network (CDN). A CDN is a global network of data points (or servers) that work together to reduce the distance a website’s content has to travel before it reaches the end user.

How do CDNs work?

Product information, images, CSS (styling) and JavaScript are packaged up in the form of files, which are then cached across a CDN. Caching is the process of storing copies of files in a temporary storage location, so that they can be accessed more quickly.

When a user makes a request on a JAMstack e-commerce website, the files are sourced from the closest server to where they’re based. Not only does this help to make pages load super fast, but it also makes them more secure, reliable and scalable when compared to traditional setups.

A real life example

Let’s take a person who is accessing your US-based online shop from Paris. With the traditional approach, their request would have to travel all the way to the origin server and back again. With JAMstack, the content is fetched from the closest server in France.

Want to know more? Check out our complete guide on JAMstack, explained in layman’s terms.

How can a JAMstack e-commerce website help your business?

From ultra quick page speeds to mobile readiness, JAMstack e-commerce websites are made for an exceptional customer experience — crucial for building trust and getting more sales. And if the search engines like you, finding new customers becomes that little bit easier.

Need for speed

The problem: Slow page speed can have a detrimental effect on conversion rates. According to Google, for every second delay in mobile page load, conversions can fall by up to 20%. That’s one in five people leaving your website before making a purchase. Clunky infrastructure, large files and a reliance on a single host server all impact on the user experience.

The solution: JAMstack e-commerce websites load insanely fast. Pages are pre-built and served via the closed CDN server, meaning the request has a lot less distance to travel. Traditional setups can utilize CDNs too for storing some data, but it’s much faster when the entire site can be served via a CDN. At Cobiro we use Cloudflare, which powers internet requests for 16% of Fortune 1,000 companies and serves 20 million HTTP requests per second on average.

See for yourself: Take a look a victoriabeckhambeauty.com, which is run on JAMstack. Pretty damn fast, right?

Security first

The problem: Traditional web servers are easy to hack, with web browser plugins, extensions, and modular add-ons acting as potential vulnerabilities. Because everything is managed together, security flaws found in the frontend code can easily make their way to the backend. With so many entry points, it can be hard for teams to stay ahead of the attacks, or to even identify how they found their way in.

The solution: Since JAMstack e-commerce websites operate with decoupled components, we don’t have to worry about frontend security issues affecting the backend. And because the webpages are essentially pre-built, there are simply less opportunities for hackers to exploit. The localized aspects of CDNs also provide enhanced security, with threats isolated and stopped before they become a major issue.

Did you know: WordPress (your classic traditional setup) has more than 22,000 known vulnerabilities. Not ideal for e-commerce businesses that rely on keeping their customer’s data secure.

Achieve better SEO

The problem: Google’s algorithms look at the usability of pages (e.g. page load time, security, formatting across browsers and mobile friendliness) when identifying which pages to rank. Updates in 2021 will make website page experience an even greater focus. Old fashioned e-commerce websites that aren’t optimized for different platforms and struggle to load large files are likely to get left behind.

The solution: JAMstack e-commerce websites provide the perfect SEO-friendly qualities needed to get ranked. Speed, stability, security and mobile-readiness are provided as standard. Not only does having pre-rendered content make it easy for Google to crawl (check for updates) and index your website, but it means that files and images are condensed before they hit a mobile device, making the experience incredibly smooth.

The future’s here: In 2020, mobile devices took a 51.6% share of web traffic, up from 35.1% in 2015.

Getting ready to scale

The problem: Any e-commerce store with international growth ambitions is likely to be left behind if it’s running on a traditional CMS. Because the origin server is handling the whole load, a sudden or sustained increase in customer demand can affect the speed and stability of pages. A poorly performing e-commerce store is likely to dent your customers’ trust and confidence in your business.

The solution: Thanks to CDNs, JAMstack websites make handling increased volumes of traffic a breeze. As the content deployment is essentially a stack of files that can be served anywhere, it’s just a case of serving those files in more places. And it’s also cheaper in the long run. Creating a future-proofed e-commerce website from the start is going to help you avoid many of the infrastructure upgrades many growing businesses face.

Did you know? When Amazon was starting out, the servers that the company used needed so much power that all other electrical appliances had to be switched off to prevent a fuse from blowing!

Start selling online

Cobiro empowers all e-commerce businesses to thrive, regardless of their size or resources. That’s why our JAMstack e-commerce solution is the only free one on the market. And it requires no technical experience or coding.

Once you’ve signed up, you can create a customized store, import or create your product catalog, and manage data and orders with ease-all within a single platform.

Build the e-commerce website of the future: Intuitive drag-and-drop functionality, slick themes and templates (or create your own), automatic rendering for mobile devices and built in marketing tools.

About Cobiro

Trusted by more than 200,000 businesses across the world, our platform has everything you need to succeed online. Whether it’s creating a JAMstack e-commerce website, keeping it optimized with our SEO tool or using our bid engine to win more Google Ad auctions, we’re democratizing the online playing field.

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