Create an Online-Shop - React or Wordpress or other CMS?

Hello Friends!

I tried to create an online-shop with wordpress and I spend a ton of time to learn it and to build it up, but I feel very limited with this CMS because I am locked within the theme and I need to pay for a lot of pro plugins, there are always ads showing up in the Backend etc. Furthermore I don´t know PHP and I don´t want to learn it because I spend all my time learning JavaScript.

I also started to learn react js and I ask myself what system is the best to build professional online-shops? Is react a good solution to build an online shop?

I know there is not one solution which is the best, so here are the most important requirements:

  • Design should be fully customisable (I prefere CSS instead of a locked theme)
  • Products should be updated easily (price changes, shipping time etc.)
  • It should be easy to handle SEO (Advanced SEO options)
  • Other people (no programmers) should be able to update products etc.
  • System should be maintainable with frontend skills (no backend skills)
  • Low fixed costs

I also thought about creating a headless Wordpress shop, to be able to customise the full design the way I need it and just to use the Wordpress backend to handle products and order etc.

There are also other CMS like Shopware, Presta, Shopify which are more professional I guess (at least the frontend looks more professional). However the price for these systems are higher and I am not sure if it is worth it.

Right now I’m leaning towards react js which I can eventually use with strapi to connect a CMS with react. However I am not sure if this is a good solution, so to prevent to stuck another time I like to ask you guys about your opinion?

Thanks a lot for answers!! :slight_smile:

I don’t think there’s a “best”. There are quite a lot of possible different technologies that can help you accomplish that.

Yes :slight_smile:

Based on the list you added you should check Next, it’s a very popular react framework with a heavy usage in e-commerce as well.
You can easily integrate with your favourite headless cms and lots of other plugins.

Moreover it’s fairly easy to deploy to Vercel itself, or Netlify, which should help you reduce deployment overhead.

If I were to make an e-commerce now I would personally use Next (which coincidentally is something we use at work as well).
This doesn’t mean it’s the “best” or the only one. Just a personal preference.

Hi Marmiz, thanks for your message!

I looked up a few informations about Next.js and probably it is the right fit for me. However it is always confusing to understand these frameworks and packages and I miss simple sentences to understand what it is used for so probably you can help me figure at these things.

What I ask myself is:

  • Is it a content management system which I can connect to react or is it just like a boilerplate to setup an online shop structure?

  • Can I manage orders and product descriptions using Next js?

  • How much time I need to spend to learn Next js?

Sometimes I feel so dump when I dont understand these possibilities, it is always overwhelming and confusing so thanks for all informations!! :slight_smile:

Edit: I just recognised that you wrote " it is possible to connect to your favourite headless cms", but I dont have a favorite CMS System… I just know Strapi as a CMS for react, but can I use Strapi also for eCommerce Systems to manage orders and product description? Or is there a better CMS solution for eCommerce Sites?

Edit: Furthermore it is possible to build an online shop with Vanilla JS, Node & MongoDB, so why should I use Next.js? I can not learn everything and I am totally frustrated to learn all these technologies…

Last but not least, I am doing this all by myself so I dont have a team and not a hugh budget to make it work. Do you think it is a good idea to build an online shop just by myself or should I better focus on a dev job?

If you only targeting the build online shop why your not choosing the ready made system rather developinng own system, Well their are lots of online shop system you can use it. if your targeting online store. You can definetly try the

shopify

online store. if you interested.

My focus is on customising the front end in a way that is not possible with pre build systems like Shopify. Furthermore I would like to improve my programming skills :slight_smile:

Hi @kazooi; I think the best information you can find are on the actual websites of the project you are evaluating.

Moreover this is a high-level architectural design decision that requires a bit of competency.
So if you don’t mind me asking, why are you interested in building an e-commerce site?

Do you want to do it as a learning project?
If so then pick the tech stack you want to learn, and code away! You can get away with pretty much anything you want.

Do you have to do it as a contractor? (ie - someone is paying you to build it?)
Then use the tech stack you are most comfortable with so you can deliver your best product.


That said:

  • Next is a node/react framework. It allows you to create both statically rendered pages as well as server side rendered one.
    It is in my opinion a great piece of technology.
    You can start building your site right away keeping focus on performance and seo.
    They even have a “commerce” section where they showcase why and how you can make an e-commerce in Next.
    So with Next you take care of fetching data and generating pages.

Then we still have to figure it out where to host that data.
A flexible solution is to use a CMS. There quite a few of them. Open some and see on each one of them if they seems to fit with your idea.

Many of them even have free tiers :slight_smile:

Finally for payment you can use stripe.
So now all the layers are decoupled and eventually you can migrate them if you are unsatisfied with the tools.

Finally I hope you checked the Next.js commerce example.


This said, let me stress it out one more time that this is just a possible approach.
You should not worry too much about the tool, but rather focus on your goals.

Because at the end of the day, consumers don’t care what tech stack you have used, they just want to enjoy the product. :sparkles:

Hope this helps.


EDIT:
I saw you mentioned _ not a hugh budget to make it work_

Well, Next is OS and can be hosted for free either on Vercel on Netlify (possibly a lot more),
A lot of CMS have a free tier as well as Strapy is a pay-to-go model.
So in theory you can build your whole e-commerce for free, and start paying for operational costs to scale things up.
All you need is time :smiley:

1 Like

Hi @Marmiz

first of all thanks a lot for taking the time to give me a detailed answer! :slight_smile:

I already build an eCommerce Shop (Dropshipping) with Wordpress. It is a real project which I created in cooperation with a manufacturer. But I felt that I am locked in the theme and that it is not that easy to customise the design in the way I want it, also the pro plugins are expensive and I would prefer to use another system.

Thats right! However a well designed store with a clean structure and interface will make a difference in UX and brand development. I felt locked with Wordpress and the ads in Backend are annoying, it felt a bit unprofessional.

The problem at the moment is that I need to create way more content and better structure and better SEO. Before I continue working in Wordpress I thought it might be the better solution to use a headless CMS and build the architecture by myself with another solution.

As already mentioned it is a real project, but I already started to learn react and it could be also a great learning path to build on a real world example.

No I just checked it after your post and I don´t really know whats going on with this commerce example… Is this something like a boilerplate for an eCommerce Shop?

I need to get more familiar with GitHub and specially with react. At the moment i need to finish my simple react project and that is already a big job for me.

When I finished a basic react project and I am quite ab bit familiar with react then I guess I am ready to start a project with for example next js. What would be your suggestion about the learning path?

React js > React js + Strapi > React js + Node.js > React js + Node js + Next js :face_with_monocle:

Do I need to learn Node js to manage an online-shop with next js? Then this could be a killer, I guess that takes to much time…

And why not just use react, strapi and node js? That should be also a great stack for an eCommerce Shop. Actually I still don´t really understand whats the job from Next js, I need some time to read the docs…

Haha yes…