React & Magento 2: A Look into Building Apple Premium Reseller iDeal’s New E-Commerce Platform
Apple is synonymous with quality, and so are their Premium Resellers. As such, when one of the biggest Apple Premium Resellers in the Baltics and Nordics, iDeal, approached Opus with the task to rebuild their dated web-presence, it was clear that innovative approaches, the utmost focus on quality, and impeccable design were the words of the day.
iDeal approached Opus with a seemingly simple task: the old Magento 1 based web store had reached the end of its serviceable life, the design of the store needed an overhaul to meet Apple’s guidelines, and as with any store in the modern era, maintaining outstanding SEO was paramount.
Whilst the original idea was to simply migrate the old Magento 1 based store over to Magento 2, use it for both the back-end and front-end, updating the design along the way, it became apparent that it was not the most effective nor the most optimal thing to do. Instead, Opus’ team decided on a novel approach where the back-end would remain with Magento, but the front-end duties would be handled by React.
The reasons for this approach were plentiful, but alongside improved UX, speed, SEO options, and overall performance, was the option to later adapt the principles of headless e-commerce, where a single back-end system can be easily tied to several different front-ends.
The use of React also enabled advanced prototyping, where all of the components could be created with React, reviewed and verified by the client, and then migrated to the build pipeline, as such giving the customer a clearer overview of what they’d be actually getting, and as such slashing time-to-market and development costs, thanks to avoiding any miscommunication and costly unnecessary iterations.
“Whilst React is powerful, it has its limitations, especially given that we started to build this Magento-React combination at a time where nearly nobody had attempted it,” said Tanel Särgava, the project manager responsible for iDeal’s new web store. “There were some growing pains along the way, especially related to maintaining search-engine positions post-migration, but our team managed to find the solutions.”
As with any large-scale web store, indexing, ever-growing product lists, and the vast amounts of data generated were also something to contend with. As such, Opus’ team took several approaches with different pages: there are pages where React’s only duty is to handle styles, and there are pages where React is used to its full potential.
“At every step of the way, we kept in mind the underlying needs for the store – speed, SEO, design, and the ease of management,” said Särgava, and noted that thanks to Magento 2, iDeal’s admin staff has seen a drastic drop in the amount of work that needs to be completed manually.
“We set up new automations, new integrations, and Magento 2 itself is also leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor when it comes to managing listings and everything related to them,” said Särgava. “A good example is the new iPhones – with the old store it would have taken about a week to set everything up for the new release, with the new store the amount of time that has to be spent is reduced tenfold.”
All of this is achieved thanks to the use of a cutting-edge tech-stack and years of industry experience. “The database is based on MySQL, indexing is handled by Elastic, the front-end runs on React and the back-end is based on Magento 2 and PHP 7.4,” noted Särgava.
All of this means that iDeal is now able to offer its customers a more efficient, better-looking, and reliable shopping experience, whilst maintaining the option to update its store’s functionality and design noticeably quicker, and cost-effectively than before, thanks to the use of React and Magento 2.
“It’s also worth noting that React, especially in case of projects where the use of it is a bit unconventional, is something that makes attracting new developers along the way a whole lot easier – expertise in Magento’s front-end is not that common, but the option to use React in a way it really hasn’t been used before is obviously attracting to experienced developers,” added Särgava.
iDeal’s comment on Opus’ work:
Extremely professional, proactive, and helpful team. They always manage to find the optimal solutions for all of the problems and development needs, and the quality of the work leaves nothing to wish for.
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