Today, the typical custom ecommerce build workflow is to combine a headless CMS with an ecommerce vendor like Shopify or Medusa. I refuse to discuss Woocommerce so ... you're welcome. We've built projects like that in the past, and while doable, you start to have a kaleidoscope of different vendors / functions / API requests / spaghetti.
One of the big takeaways from this week's launches is that we want to start to see the web get simpler, not more complex. We want to promote efficiency and reduce the time it takes for developers to build products, and from our own experience, building anything custom with ecommerce is quite the nightmare in today's ecosystem.
Let's take Sanity and Shopify for example (a popular combination for custom ecommerce). Is it strange to you that both platforms can manage content, but you still need both platforms regardless, even though there's a lot of overlap?
Let's consider an MVP ecommerce build. If you combine Shopify and Sanity, you're really only leveraging Shopify for a few aspects of your MVP:
If you leverage these parts of Shopify, and then manage content in Sanity, here's how the workflow will look.
That's not too bad really. Halfway to microservices hell, but it's doable. We've done similar many times before. But now let's think about it from the marketing / business perspective.
When my team built projects like this in the past, frankly they didn't turn out great. We had a hard time ourselves bringing in new devs to the code because it was all a network of inter-connected mysteries. If it's remotely hard for engineers, it's certainly going to be hard for the admin end-users.
Payload can eliminate Shopify from the mix entirely. Replace Shopify with Stripe, and then you have literally zero overlap between the platforms.
When an admin logs in to manage products, everything is directly in Payload. When an engineer goes to build a new feature, everything is directly in Payload.
Today, we're officially announcing our Ecommerce starter kit which gives you everything you need to get an ecommerce store up and running instantly with Payload + NextJS. Oh, and it's completely free and open-source.
No Shopify necessary. No microservices hell. You can even instantly deploy the starter to Payload Cloud, which hooks you up with everything you need to run in production.
With this starter, you get all of the following:
Coming from an agency background, I share many of the struggles that engineers in an agency face.
Each project you take on is subtly different, and you might find yourself scrambling to find the perfect tech stack for each one. You can quickly end up managing a smattering of products, each with entirely different stacks.
Each one of these projects will be a learning experience and your engineering efficiency will suffer big time. And then fast forward a year—you have to onboard new engineers into these projects completely separately, and you'll end up with a bunch of engineers that never really understand any of the projects because they're all totally different. Revisit a project a few months later and you'll need to spend 2 days getting back up to speed with the mania that you built.
In an agency setting, imagine if you could flatten your stack. What if each project could build off the last, seamlessly? What if you could write a feature, and then the next time a client comes asking for a similar feature, you literally just re-use what you already have, but bill them as if you had to build it?
That's the dream. And that's what we're trying to give you.
This ecommerce kit is the beginning of lots more to come, but it's one that we're very excited about. It'll make you build better products, save money, and be happy with your engineering workflow to top it all off.
Give the new ecommerce kit a shot today.