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How to build an eCommerce platform to scale

When choosing an eCommerce platform, it’s imperative you keep in mind how it will set your business up for success. It needs to be something that will grow with you, ensuring it can continue to provide you with the features you need, even if those needs change.

Choosing whether you want an off the shelf product or you are going to build it yourself, the decision is crucial and it’s important you understand the pros and cons of each platform before you commit. This will then provide you with all the information you need to know to scale your business from there.

What to look for:

As we’ve already expressed, scalability is key when it comes to an eCommerce platform, so during the selection process, you need to ensure you narrow down exactly what it is you are looking for.

Focus on whether the platform you choose can handle high levels of traffic – you don’t want to have your site crash as soon as your Black Friday sale goes live. It immediately taints your business and will make you a laughing stock. For self-hosted options, it’s worth checking if you have the ability to distribute load over multiple servers or geographic regions.

Is there an off the shelf option that allows for some level of customisation? Off-the-shelf might be the easier option, but as technology and your business grow, you may want to bring in some custom elements that are tailored specifically to your business needs. Does this option allow that?

Think about the level of functionality you need – does the platform do everything you want it to? Is it loaded with features that can be added as you scale your business?

Support – Think about what you and your colleagues are capable of doing yourselves and where you think you might need support. Choosing a platform and a digital agency with a support package that suits you, will ensure you long-term success for your business. You don’t want to be stuck with a crisis immediately after re-platforming and have to deal with it alone.

Flexibility – This is probably one of the most important factors when it comes to building an eCommerce platform to scale. It essentially includes every point above and more. A flexible eCommerce platform should easily allow for extensibility so that changing things up in the future won’t cause you to start from scratch. The best way to achieve this is through an SaaS (Software as a Service) platform that takes care of upgrades and maintenance without a hitch.


What are the options?

Well, given the competitive nature of the eCommerce industry, off the shelf options aren’t quite cutting it. Businesses want to be able to build a customised eCommerce system that is scalable, affordable and doesn’t take decades to build! It’s a gargantuan task that would involve building a bunch of different subsystems that would need to integrate with all your other third party services/applications, such as your CMS and payment gateways. This isn’t something that could happen in the space of a few months, nor is this option likely to include the level of scalability you would ideally want.

So, how do you get the level of customisations needed to be able to compete in an overloaded industry, without breaking the bank and with the extensibility required to scale?

Headless commerce.

The backend can easily be updated without impacting the front-end and causing disruptions to your business, making this solution a cost effective and much easier way of customising your eCommerce platform in a timely manner. It also means that this method will see retailers being able to see rapid updates to their websites, with developers able to implement new changes at speed. You wanted scalability? This is it.


BigCommerce’s headless commerce offering, Commerce-as-a-Service, empowers clients to succeed and grow. Putting an emphasis on each business being able to customise an innovative front-end, the backend comprises of enterprise-grade security, 99.9% server uptime and is 100% PCI compliant. This gives you the chance to focus on the user experience, while BigCommerce focus on the nitty gritty, headache-inducing stuff.

As a UK BigCommerce Partner with ‘Elite’ status, we are experienced in implementing the platform and have utilised Commerce-as-a-Service for a number of clients.

Check out our Carluccio’s case study to see how headless commerce transformed their user experience and get in touch for more info on replatforming to BigCommerce by calling 0121 369 5874 or emailing

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