The e-commerce industry is a hype topic in all circles and everyone knows the basic definition of the term - activities of selling and buying goods and services over the Internet, but how clear is the difference between an e-commerce platform and a marketplace platform?
In order to get the best possible answer to this question, but also what it takes to develop the ideal solution, we talked to our friends from the Ananas company.
E-commerce is a website that can be set up with the help of (semi) ready-made solutions such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, SAP Hybris, etc., and which allows the seller to offer his services and goods through his website.
On the other hand, Marketplace is a platform where sellers offer their range, customers choose and buy goods and services from sellers, and in the background, the whole process takes place under the control of the marketplace provider. Put simply – the owner of a virtual shopping center. That ecosystem implies not only "business", but also numerous opportunities for at least three target groups.
- For merchants, it is an additional, or sometimes primary sales channel, as well as the possibility of targeted campaigns (because of CRM).
- For customers, it is the possibility of selection, price comparison, delivery, complaint, return - in one click.
- And for employees, or at least for tech people, it means development that is rarely seen in everyday work and/or career. In addition, the marketplace ecosystem offers fintech & ad tech solutions, which in this case scale to at least 5 markets.
It is clear from this brief description that it is a whole range of technical solutions that should ensure that all processes run smoothly, be highly automated and well synchronized. There is no "off-the-shelf" solution for this, and it is no coincidence that the biggest global players in this industry, such as Amazon, AliExpress, Allegro, have decided to develop a platform from scratch.
And so we come to our favorite topic, technology - in addition to logistics operations, the most important ingredient for a successful marketplace business.
How to develop a system that must solve the following challenges:
- Robustness and scalability
- Speed and agility of development
The first challenge is solved by hosting the platform on the cloud, and if appetites and expectations for business growth are high, one of the best public cloud solutions is chosen - AWS, which, in addition to reliability and the ability to quickly scale the infrastructure, also offers a large number of services that speed up and facilitate the development of individual parts of the system (eg Lambda functions for serverless computing, Cognito service for Identity and access management, Aurora PostgreSQL, Amazon EKS, Apollo GraphQL, etc.).
In order for the system to be robust, scalable and performant, it is logical to apply microservice architecture and divide agile development teams into groups of domain or technically related microservices. This is the approach taken by Ananas, with the aim of becoming the "Balkan Amazon".
As they tell us, they chose an impressive tech stack: the core platform is developed using Java Spring Boot, Hibernate, PostgreSQL and Kafka. React and Next.js are used for the front end, which communicate with the back end via GraphQL. The customer mobile application is developed using the React Native framework. This allowed them to develop their product exactly the way they wanted.
If you were intrigued by everything you read and if you find yourself in the development of such a solution, then you are in luck because Ananas continues its expansion and development. So, if you are interested in being part of the Ananas team, check out the open positions on the Ananas Joberty page. And if you have any questions, they are very open to providing all the answers, so write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.