Software Development
Kamil Ferens
Kamil Ferens
Head of Growth
2020-04-09

Shopify, Spree or Solidus? Check why Ruby on Rails can help you develop your e-commerce

Shopify, Spree and Solidus are the most popular software for developing e-commerce platforms. Each of them offers countless functionalities that will help you sell online, manage the purchasing process, gather customer information and profit from it all. Interestingly, the most commonly used technology to customize such platforms is Ruby on Rails.

What are Shopify, Spree and Solidus?

Shopify is the most popular e-commerce platform for online stores. Since this is a commercial solution, you will have to pay a monthly subscription if you want to create your own store on this platform. The price list ranges from $29 to $299 per month. Pricing depends, of course, on the selected functionalities. Shopify was created in Ruby. This technology and its Rails framework are also most often used for Shopify’s expansion and customization, e.g. creating new plugins. Shopify provides an API so developers can create new solutions that coincide with your demands.

In turn, Spree and Solidus are open-source projects, so you have an even greater opportunity to customize your online stores using these solutions. However, you will probably need the help of a development team to create your dream online platform. As mentioned, these two projects are open-source, meaning you will not incur any costs associated with maintaining the platform (e.g., subscription).

As I mentioned earlier, Shopify is still the market leader, but Spree and Solidus are dynamically developing. For example, Spree was founded in 2007, and already boasts about having over a million users. Let us take a look a brief summary of the most important functionalities of these three solutions. If you are faced with the dilemma of choosing one of them, I hope that my analysis will help you in the decision-making process.

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Shopify

  1. It is possible to fully personalize your store.

  2. Over 70 professional themes are available.

  3. Stores are fully adapted not only to web applications, but also to mobile ones.

  4. Customers have full access to HTML and CSS, so they can make changes on the site.

  5. Shopify experts provide support to best adapt the online store to your needs.

  6. You can run a full blogging platform.

  7. It features a well-designed payment system, including payments via PayPal or even Bitcoin.

  8. Your online store can be fully integrated with external tools.

  9. Store management enables the collection of data on buyers; their behavior presented in the form of a simple and legible CMS panel.

  10. Marketing activities, SEO and web hosting (possibility of creating your own domain name) are also supported.

Spree

  1. Spree is an open-source project, so you are not limited in terms of making adjustments to make the platform meet your needs.

  2. It offers a fully functional storefront, which is also friendly for mobile device users. It may be tweaked as any Rails and Bootstrap application.

  3. Spree can be customized using the storefront built into React, Angular or Vue.

  4. Spree works well with a custom, progressive frontend to deliver a blazing fast, app-like storefront.

  5. Spree may very well serve as an e-commerce engine and admin dashboard for native mobile apps on iOS or Android, talking to them by mean of the modern Storefront REST API V2.

  6. It has re-usable components. It means that, with the right approach, you may be able to simplify the development and maintenance of your web store and online apps by using the same components.

  7. Advanced marketing (including SEO) and analytical tools are available.

  8. You gain access to a product management panel.

  9. It allows for tracking users and analyzing their behavior.

  10. Spree can be integrated with external tools.

Solidus

  1. The store can be customized using Solidus API (open-source project).

  2. Product management and inventory monitoring are available.

  3. Payment integration with services like PayPal or Braintree is implemented.

  4. You can monitor the customer's shopping path and collecting user data.

  5. Solidus provides analytical and marketing tools for you to understand user behavior.

  6. You can manage your store across multiple storefronts from one convenient admin account and, what’s more, regardless of different currencies or shipping solutions.

  7. Adding products and creating variants is based on product attributes or collected user data.

  8. Solidus provides dedicated patches that increase security.

  9. It takes care of reviewing all community code submissions for quality, also providing production-ready releases and features.

  10. Stores in Solidus are scalable, they load quickly to handle your sales and spikes in traffic with ease.

Why can Ruby on Rails help to boost your e-commerce platform?

Regardless of which platform you choose, Ruby on Rails is a technology that will help you develop and adapt your online store. There is even such a belief that this programming language is perfectly created for e-commerce solutions and I can agree with that. Why is it like that? It's best to answer this question by presenting the key features of Ruby and its Rails framework.

  1. Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) rule. It enables developers to avoid retyping the same code at various stages of application development and, thus, significantly accelerate their work,

  2. Convention over Configuration. It assumes that the necessary configuration will be minimized by replacing it with ready-made models,

  3. Open-source framework. Ruby on Rails is an open framework, which means that the source code is freely available. Developers can use the available libraries without any payment. In addition, the Ruby community is very well developed, constantly provides ready-made fragments of code on the network to speed up the work of each programmer,

  4. Highest standards of safety. Ruby on Rails has plenty of built-in securities and functionalities that make the application ready for any attacks or attempted intrusions. It has built-in protection against XSS, CSRF and SQL Injection attacks, which are rated among the most frequent types attacks on web applications.

  5. Tests. Ruby on Rails has built-in automated mechanisms to support testing, which positively affects the reliability of the application.

  6. Short way to MVP. The Rails framework allows for a very fast creation of a basic product containing the most important functionalities that a customer can verify. The same goes for e-commerce platform development and customization. The speed of implementing new solutions is very important.

  7. Flexibility. Ruby is considered to be a pretty flexible language, as it allows a developer to modify code contents at any time. In this way, it does not limit the programmer.

Summary

Building an e-commerce online store using Shopify, Spree or Solidus in conjunction with the development and customization of the platform with Ruby is a popular solution on the market. Not only new e-commerce companies decide to go this way, but also those already present and successful on the market. This combo simply works.

If you would like to talk about your e-commerce product, I encourage you to set up a meeting and enjoy our free consulting.

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- How to start programming in Ruby in 7 easy steps

- Ruby programming. Beginner’s terminal – part 1

- Top programming languages for fintech companies