JAMstack - What role does it play in eCommerce?

Shaun Maharaj

September 2nd, 2020

With the rapid adoption of JAMstack among web developers, and enterprise technology companies, it is now the best time to explore the possibilities of JAMstack eCommerce solutions.

What is a JAMstack?

Before we dive into the eCommerce applications, what exactly is JAMstack? JAMstack is an architectural pattern of web application development based on client-side JavaScript, reusable APIs, and prebuilt Markup. In JAMstack, JAM is an acronym comprised of 3 key elements:

JavaScript
The language used to write your web application. This includes any dependencies you may have, SDKs, frameworks, etc.

APIs
The fundamental HTTP requests transferring data to a server-side application through a particular resource. 

Markup
The look and feel of your web application's pages. These are broken up into UI templates and may be built with a static-site generator, or dynamically assembled on page load.

Why JAMstack for eCommerce?

Building a JAMstack will not only let merchants create unique, content-driven, fast shopping experiences, but can also result in higher conversion rates and reach a wider spectrum of shoppers through high-performance static sites that are distributed globally through a CDN.

Breaking this down a bit more, JAMstack in an eCommerce practice works in the following pattern:

  • Storefront application development & hosting are decoupled
  • Storefront code changes are pushed to a SCM (Source Code Management), and hosted via static-site providers, or a service that will build/deploy/host your application like Netlify.
  • Content updates are performed and served through a CDN or headless CMS 
  • When the shopper browses a page, the storefront web application is requested directly by the shopper's browser from a CDN
  • The storefront application loads directly within the shopper's browser, performing all the necessary requests to the eCommerce back-end to retrieve data needed to populate the page (catalog, product, account, checkout data, etc.)

In summary, when considering your next eCommerce front-end, a JAMstack can accelerate your development and maintenance of your front-end, giving merchants more time to focus on their headless eCommerce solution. When your brand has anything from a few hundred to a thousand pages, products pages that don't need as frequently regular updates as others, and the most up to date information from your APIs for pricing/inventory/etc, a JAMstack can be your best solution. 

At Elastic Path, we have open sourced our JAMstack offerings and follow these same practices. Click here for access to our JAMstack React PWA Reference Storefront: https://github.com/elasticpath/epcc-react-pwa-reference-storefront.

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Shaun Maharaj

Shaun is a Senior Development Manager at Elastic Path with a strong background in ecommerce and mobile/web application development.