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2021-11-09

Should you consider Spryker for your e-commerce needs?



As you might already know, NFQ is an official partner of Spryker Commerce OS – a platform built for the agile development of online shopping solutions. This framework or operating system, as they call it, is designed with extra-large-scale e-commerce operations in mind. Its clients include carmaker Toyota, retail chain Aldi Süd, and automotive OEM Continental, among others. Today, we want to take a deep dive into Spryker's distinct features and provide you with an inside view coming from our experts who have already brought Spryker's advantages to our clients. 

What is Spryker Commerce OS?

This might be the first time you're hearing about Spryker, and there's nothing wrong with that! Spryker is an enterprise-level solution, which has focused much of its growth efforts on the DACH region, where most of its clients originate. 

According to its developers, Spryker Commerce OS (Spryker for short) provides a "headless" e-commerce technology infrastructure based on extensive use of APIs that connect the e-commerce engine with a customized set of customer-facing front-end interfaces, be it a website, a dedicated app, search ads or even a voice-operated IoT interface. This composable and modular approach relieves the client from the need to modify the back-end e-commerce engine every time a new channel is opened. 

In other words, Spryker is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution with over 50 API-based packaged business capabilities (PBC) that can be managed without the complexity of building, scaling, and maintaining technological e-commerce and omnichannel business core. So, what benefits does it bring?

According to the certified Spryker expert and a delivery lead at NFQ Saulius Lazaravičius, retailers, especially those that have millions of SKUs and generate €100M+ in yearly revenue from e-commerce, want to be in charge of how their e-commerce business is growing and evolving. Beholden to a legacy platform, as many unfortunately are, they can't innovate fast enough, like every change, no matter how small, requires additional investment to keep their monolith systems up to speed. The same problem goes along with other innovative platforms like Magento and Sylius. While both of them can be successfully scaled to accommodate massive volumes, the process of adapting them to super large-scale operations usually requires additional development resources and even whole teams, which inevitably has a negative impact on the bottom line.

"With Spryker, clients get an extremely scalable and adaptable platform that can handle massive volumes of queries and transactions. It is continuously developed and updated, and its creators are an enterprise-level development team that brings reliable support to the mix," Saulius Lazaravičius, says.

Let's look at the advantages Spryker brings in the domains of performance, scalability, and security.

Performance

One of the many differentiating factors of Spryker lies in the way it handles data storage. All front-end applications running on Spryker use separate key-value storage that is detached from the relational database employed by its back-end. This separation helps Spryker-based operations to run faster than those using the traditional way of sharing one relational database for both applications. That way, data on multiple events in the purchase process is exchanged asynchronously, boosting performance.

"The core architecture of Spryker is designed in a way that helps handle large volumes of data. Having this as a key feature of the framework makes it advantageous over the likes of OXID and Sylius, where you would have to build additional structures for high-volume support," Laurynas Valenta, Senior Software Engineer at HomeToGo, believes.

Scalability

As every front-end in Spryker is equipped with its own data storages and can be served by as many server instances as needed, scalability becomes easily achievable. Spryker can be easily scaled out horizontally by simply adding more instances with more storages without affecting the back-end application and logic. NFQ recommends running Spryker on at least 5 servers, and adding more is pretty straightforward.

"One of the biggest upsides to Spryker is the separation of back-end and front-end modules, which we can scale independently on either front. This also safeguards the system from becoming a cumbersome monolith, as all modules can be approached separately. It also helps that all modules follow the same architectural logic," Jonas Terleckas, Software Engineer at NFQ, says.

In addition to vast scaling opportunities, Spryker can be combined with over 700 different e-commerce tools and modules that help businesses choose the best options for search, checkout, payments, and other crucial e-commerce functions.

Besides, Spryker's Glue API enables smooth integrations with multiple possible customer touchpoints: desktop and mobile apps, shop POSs, IoT devices, and even bots.

Security

The separation of back-end and front-end has its benefits not just for performance and scalability, but also for security. With Spryker running separate applications for the front-end and back-end, accessing the relational database becomes quite a challenge for hackers. As the back-end application is usually also hidden behind a firewall, the Spryker Commerce OS is even more secure for different e-commerce applications.

"The front-end is accessed by the users, while the back-end is left in the hands of the administrators, as it should be. Seeing the massive data leaks major companies have been witnessing in the past months, knowing that your e-commerce operations are secure means a lot," Jonas Terleckas says.

Is Spryker the right fit for your business?

As it's probably clear by now, Spryker is not in direct competition with Magento and other mainstream frameworks. Those seeking to launch and run a straightforward and standard e-commerce store will find all their needs met by these popular platforms. However, if your business requires a more complex solution, one that combines multiple front-ends and processes a massive volume of inquiries per hour, Spryker might just be the right solution for you. 

Of course, our consultants will choose the best solution according to your needs, but here's a short quick list of when you might consider Spryker:

  • Other platforms require too much tweaking and additional investment to serve your ever-growing list of requirements.
  • You are exploring ways of opening multiple channels and don't want to have to rework your back-end every time you do so.
  • You are ready to take full control of your e-commerce processes by embracing an agile tech solution.
  • You envision scaling your e-commerce arm to be able to handle millions in revenue.

NFQ hands-on experience with Spryker

The developers at NFQ have been building their knowledge of Spryker for quite some time now, bringing the best this framework has to offer to multiple large-scale German e-commerce stores. One of them is Wentronic, a wholesale retailer of electronics accessories that offers over 30 000 SKUs and provides custom pricing options to its clients. Another, the first Spryker-based project our team was involved in, is the Grimme e-shop, which sells agriculture machinery parts.

NFQ engineers find Spryker a breeze to develop on, thanks to it having solved data-caching and performance issues, and having solutions integrated into the framework that let you rapidly jump to a desired part of the code, develop, review or refactor it. 

"With Spryker, you always know what to expect from the code. The learning curve is quite steep, but once you get the logic – everything becomes smooth and fast. I don't know of any other framework where I would develop the project constantly jumping between projects and still feeling comfortable. The structure you encounter with Spryker doesn't differ much from project to project, which is a huge plus in my book," NFQ software engineer Jonas says.

Searching for the best ways to scale your e-commerce operations? Get in touch with us today for a truly bespoke solution.