Nothing’s more frustrating than driving to a physical store just to see a “Closed” sign hanging in the window. But it’s happened to all of us – and the typical response is to get back in the car and drive to another store that offers the same or similar products.
Or you can go online – ecommerce stores are always available, right? Well, not always.
In recent weeks, there have been numerous complaints about ecommerce sites powered by Shopify being down – and that’s a big problem for online retailers. Just one hour of downtime can equate to $1- 5 million in losses or more, according to an ITIC survey. And many businesses are at risk – Shopify has 28% of the ecommerce market share.
While Off-the-shelf (OTS) ecommerce solutions like Shopify or Magento have lots of redundant servers and checks and balances to prevent downtime for its customers, accidents happen. Issues with a server can result in myriad problems: pages might show up blank or with weird formatting, store pages may not be clickable or product information may be unavailable.
With OTS solutions, downtime can cost you
OTS ecommerce solutions are great for getting started quickly, but can lead to several data-related issues when they go down.
It may be impossible to retrieve or update critical product information – descriptions, pricing and inventory levels – which can disrupt the entire sales process, from updating product listings to processing customer orders.
Even when the site is up, the platform may not be able to handle traffic spikes or a massive increase in product listings without performance issues.
Product information management (PIM) can become a challenge, especially for rapidly growing businesses or those with large, complex product catalogs. When customers can’t view accurate product information, they become confused and frustrated, and you lose sales.
Another big problem? Integrations.
OTS solutions may not integrate seamlessly with other business systems and applications you use, like your CRM or ERP – and that can result in data silos. As a result, real-time data synchronization with third-party tools stops during downtime, potentially leading to errors once the system is back online.
But downtime and data management issues aren’t the only drawbacks to an OTS ecommerce platform.
OTS platforms often rely on standardized templates and designs, so your site might end up looking generic and failing to stand out. Tailoring the user experience (UX) and the customer journey to match your brand's unique identity and your customers' specific needs can also be challenging.
And while OTS solutions may seem cost-effective initially, over time, subscriptions, add-ons, transaction fees and upgrades can really add up.
Taking the headless approach
While Directus is not a dedicated ecommerce platform like Shopify or Magento, its flexibility and API-driven nature mean it can be adapted for various uses, including ecommerce.
For example, Directus can be used as a back-end PIM system to manage e-commerce product catalogs and content. As a headless CMS, it’s designed to be frontend agnostic, meaning you can pair it with the frontend application of your choice to create a seamless ecommerce experience across different channels like web, mobile, and even IoT devices.
Directus excels in managing content and could effectively handle the content aspects of an ecommerce site, such as product descriptions, images and blog posts.
This makes it a good choice for content-heavy ecommerce sites. Plus, you can easily integrate shopping carts, payment processing and order management functionalities to complete your offering.
Directus can also easily scale to handle growing product inventories, without performance glitches.
And here’s the kicker: As an open-source Headless CMS, Directus approaches uptime and data access slightly differently than fully-hosted, off-the-shelf solutions like Shopify. Here’s how.
One of the key aspects of Directus is that it can be self-hosted. This means you have the option to host it on your own servers so you have complete control.
Don’t want to self-host? That’s ok – Directus offers cloud-hosted solutions as well, on reliable cloud infrastructure with strong uptime guarantees, so your system remains accessible and data continuously available no matter what happens.
Since Directus allows for greater control over your data, you can implement your own backup strategies to ensure data redundancy and continuous access to your data, even if there's an issue with the primary hosting environment.
Whether self-hosted or cloud-hosted, Directus can be configured to easily handle traffic spikes and large amounts of data.
Plus our API-first architecture means that data can be accessed and managed through APIs, enabling more robust and flexible data integration and retrieval, even if the primary interface is experiencing issues.
Create a project with Directus today, and see how easy it is to build out engaging digital projects.