What Tech Stack Does Shopify Use?

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What is Shopify Tech Stack?

Shopify is a multi-channel ecommerce platform used by over one million ecommerce businesses. It allows brands to create an online store and sell products through a number of mediums. Businesses utilize Shopify for its comprehensive but easy-to-use tools, offering themes, SEO tools, mobile optimization, and more to improve the customer experience. Brands of all sizes rely on the platform, known for its robust backend Shopify development, to boost their sales. At peak times, Shopify can handle up to 80,000 requests per second.

A driving factor behind the success of Shopify (and the businesses it serves) is its comprehensive tech stack. Here at Guidance, we're proud to offer ecommerce web development services on the Shopify platform architecture, and we'll delve into Shopify's tech stack in more detail below.

What Is a Tech Stack?

A tech stack is all the digital services and technologies used to create and run a platform. This data ecosystem provides merchants with the tools they need to launch, customize and grow their online store. Backend Shopify solutions form a significant part of this, encompassing programming languages, services, and applications that dictate the platform's overall function. A company’s tech stack influences its customers’ experience, and in the case of Shopify, makes it very successful.

Shopify's Current Tech Stack

Currently, Shopify's tech stack, or what Shopify is built with, consists of approximately 100 applications and technologies. The most popular apps include Shop: Delivery & Order Tracker, Shopify - Ecommerce Business, Logo Maker: Design & Create, Scratch Photos, Hatchful - Logo Maker, Shopify Point of Sale (POS), Frenzy - Buy Sneakers and More, and Shopify Ping.

There are nearly 3.5 million app downloads per month from the Shopify solutions stack, almost 3 million of which are of Shop: Delivery & Order Tracker across iTunes and Google Play. The Shopify - Ecommerce Business app gets about 300,000 downloads a month.

Top digital tools that work with the Shopify architecture include Google Analytics, HTML5, JavaScript, Oberlo, Facebook Shops, Instagram Shopping, Viewport Meta, Apple Mobile Web Clips Icon, Exchange, and Burst.

There are also upwards of 4,000 apps that can integrate directly with the ecommerce platform. Additionally, Shopify technology has several free built-in tools in its infrastructure, including a logo maker, a QR code generator, a business card maker, a gift certificate template, a privacy policy generator, a shipping label template, and a profit margin calculator.

Altogether, Shopify’s current tech stack allows it to provide a wide range of useful services to brands when setting up an online store. Because of its effective technology, Shopify is able to support a high volume of sales and guide brands as they scale up their services, all while giving brands the necessary tools to provide a seamless customer experience.

Capabilities of the Shopify Tech Stack

Shopify’s tech stack is built from a wide network of applications and services to provide several functions. Many brands rely on Shopify and its services to simplify operations, support business growth, and boost customer engagement. Shopify technology promotes streamlined business function in several ways.

Types of Ecommerce Tools from the Shopify Tech Stack

All business tools within the Shopify tech stack fall into one of two categories. The first is time-saving solutions, which automate business operations. Instead of creating documents and spreadsheets by hand, things like invoice generators, privacy policy generators, and bill of lading templates allow you and your employees to focus on other tasks.

The other category is KPI-driven solutions, which help you improve your revenue metrics, scale growth, and increase your profit margin. Tools like Shopify's CPM (cost per mile) calculator and profit margin calculator are KPI-driven. Both technology types can be immensely beneficial for merchants. Guidance recommends implementing a range of tools to get the most out of your ecommerce business.

Leveraging Shopify Plus Tech Stack For Customization

For Verishop, it was the ease of customization. Most ecommerce websites are housed within a set navigation structure, and the homepage often exists as the front door to the rest of the customer experience. For Billie and Lett (Verishop's brands), the front door is the experience: in both designs, the homepage presents the entire catalog with full hi-res imagery all as an entirely shoppable Product Landing Page. This is unique to the ecommerce world and as such, it’s not a feature that presents out of the box with Shopify Plus, and usually requires some work from a Shopify Plus development company.

Using the beautiful designs and the creative vision from Billie and Lett, Guidance customized the homepage to be a fully immersive “quick shop” experience with colorways and sizes available on hover-state and Add-to-Cart features directly on the PLP.

Shopify Plus was selected as the ecommerce platform for its quick time to market coupled with the ease of management post-launch. By using an ecommerce platform like Shopify Plus, Verishop can focus on its specialty, fashion, without worrying about the technical details. As a SaaS platform, Shopify Plus removes the burden of hosting, security updates and managing downtime.

Shared Code for Flexibility and Speed

Migrating three stores on a tight schedule can be challenging. But K-Swiss Global Brands also operates internationally, with ecommerce stores serving Europe and the United Kingdom. Add the U.S. and Canada, and there are three separate currency regions (US dollar, euro, and pound). Three currency regions multiplied by three footwear brands equals nine Shopify Plus sites that had to be up and running within eight weeks.

Moving to a different ecommerce platform would result in reduced licensing costs for K-Swiss, but that wasn't the only reason they'd chosen Shopify Plus. Another one of their goals was to empower less technical users to be able to manage new content and promotions. The amount of homepage and site configuration that can be done by an average user via a Shopify theme backend would reduce K-Swiss sales and marketing's reliance on technical engineers for implementation.

With nine instances of Shopify Plus to roll out, Guidance determined that the best solution would be for the nine sites to utilize a single shared code base, for maximum efficiency. Guidance identified a powerful theme that offered extensive configuration options and could accommodate the different tracking and marketing systems required by individual regional implementations.

Shopify Tech Stack: Internal Tools and Apps

So, what database does Shopify use? Shopify has relied on MySQL as a relational database since its inception. The service offers cloud-native applications through SQL (Structured Query Language), which is the language of accessing and managing content within a database. However, by 2014, MySQL wasn't able to store all of Shopify's data. Facing rapid growth, Shopify started to adjust its internal technology.

Shards to Pods

As Shopify started to outgrow its systems, the platform began sharding its data, or splitting it into dozens of smaller databases. Shopify started using Memcached for memory-caching and Redis for key-value storage and ques, along with several other databases. For a while, the sharding approach worked, but individual outages among the databases ended up causing some disruptions.

Over the last few years, Shopify architecture has been transitioning from shards to pods. Each pod is an isolated sector with its own datastores, and it can be set up in any region using deployment applications like Kubernetes and Docker.

The pod technique has helped Shopify avoid global outages by effectively segmenting data. Currently, the platform has over 100 pods and hasn't faced any major disruptions since implementing them. Shopify looks to Nginx, OpenResty, and Lua as load balancers.

Shopify Admin Tech Stack

The tech stack of Shopify Admin began with HTML templates, Prototype JavaScript Framework, and jQuery. Next, it transitioned to Batman.js (Batman JavaScript) and then bounced back to basic HTML and Prototype JavaScript. Recently, Shopify Admin landed on React and TypeScript. The current framework doesn't rely on a server to share information and is notably efficient at accessing resources.

What Platform is Shopify Built On? 

In 2004, Shopify founder Tobi Lütke built a SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform using Ruby on Rails (also known as Rails), a web framework offering default structures for webpages and digital services. Impressed by the framework, Lütke ended up working for Ruby on Rails while developing Shopify, which launched in 2006. As of today, Rails has helped develop hundreds of thousands of apps, providing a full-stack framework that makes building apps simple yet effective.

Shopify is one of the oldest and largest apps built on the Rails framework. The platform still uses the original codebase Lütke created in the early aughts, though it has expanded over the years. To this day, Ruby on Rails is the backbone of Shopify's core application and many other apps within the Shopify framework.

Ultimately, Rails is a vital foundation of the Shopify tech stack that helped the platform evolve from a startup into a global publicly traded company. Today, Shopify as a platform, is paying it forward by helping online retailers build their stores, expand their businesses, and reach new audiences.

Shopify Plus Solutions

Shopify Plus is a top-rated ecommerce website platform offering a broad range of solutions for merchants. Some of the most notable solutions offered on the platform include the following:

  • Enterprise Online Store- Allows you to design your web store and customize your checkout experience using HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and Liquid.
  • Shopify Flow and Scripts- Enables you to personalize product recommendations based on your customers' behaviors.
  • Multi-Channel Ecommerce- Helps you expand your horizons to selling on Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and eBay.
  • Launchpad- Makes it easy to automate your sales, promotions, and campaigns across all channels.
  • International Ecommerce- Helps you reach international audiences with multiple stores and currencies.
  • Shopify POS- Allows you to move between online and in-store retail with built-in omnichannel merchandising. This tech solution includes customizable checkout, inventory management, unlimited cataloging, local pickup and delivery, fully synced customer profiles, integrated loyalty programs, hassle-free returns and exchanges, and unified reporting.

Other Shopify Plus solutions include Headless Ecommerce, Wholesale, and B2B Ecommerce. Altogether, Shopify’s list of solutions provides you with expansive capabilities that you will not find with other ecommerce platforms.

Shopify Plus Tech Stack App Partners

Shopify Plus also syncs with dozens of certified app technologies that work seamlessly with the platform for wider consumer reach and an enhanced customer experience. For affiliate marketing, you can use Refersion. For conversion optimization, Shopify syncs with Justuno, LimeSpot, Privy, and Nosto. There is Loop and Returnly for managing returns and exchanges.

For content and visual merchandising, you can leverage Findify, InstantSearchPlus, Klevu, SearchSpring, and Shogun. If you're using UGC (user-generated content), you can implement Okendo, Pixlee, PowerReviews, and Yotpo. Merchandisers who want to create loyalty and rewards programs can download Emarsys, Smile.io, LoyaltyLion, or Swell.

For PIM (product information management), you can integrate Jasper or Salsify. Then there's Daasity, Grow.com, Listrak, Yagurara, and Zaius for CRO (conversion rate optimization), business intelligence, and reporting. For tax support, you'll want to integrate Avalara. With these extensive partnerships, Shopify combines solutions for all of your business needs in just one easy-to-use platform.

Shopify Plus Ecommerce Web Development by Guidance

Shopify Plus is an integral part of the ecommerce development services we offer at Guidance. If your business sees a high volume of online sales, you'll need a powerful, scalable, secure cloud-based platform. Guidance can create a Shopify Plus website for your enterprise that's tailored to your brand's product offerings, customer base, existing marketing strategy, and goals.

Guidance works with mid-market and enterprise-level merchandisers and manufacturers in both B2C and B2B industries. We've been delivering dependable Shopify Plus ecommerce site development for over 25 years and implement cutting-edge technologies and innovations that work—take a look at our Portfolio of Shopify Plus clients to see how. Whether you need assistance with B2B or B2C ecommerce development, we can help—contact us today!

Written by Jason Meugniot
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