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8 Min Read

Microservices architecture implementation in e-commerce

April 29, 2021 / Manju Naglapur

Short on time? Explore these key takeaways:

Due to the friction of slow-moving platforms with a monolithic architecture, e-commerce businesses require assistance to win over their online customers. With a microservices-based design, an e-commerce business can create and launch anything whenever they want. In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What is an e-commerce microservices architecture and why are brands adopting it
  • Real-world instances where leading e-commerce companies converted their infrastructures into microservices to establish adaptable, global systems
  • Several benefits, such as enabling uniformity across multiple channels, reducing the complexity of software and increasing the performance of the business application

E-commerce companies face steep competition and must therefore deliver as pleasant and intuitive shopping experience as possible.

Any friction in the experience resulting from traditional, slow-moving platforms with a monolithic architecture puts businesses at risk. These architectures have interconnected and interdependent components. By contrast, a microservices architecture functions as standalone applications and are sophisticated versions of a modular architecture.

Microservices combine many individual services that can easily be swapped out to keep an e-commerce business current, agile and able to deploy faster.

An e-commerce company with a microservices-based architecture can build and deploy whatever it wants, whenever it wants and as much as it wants, unconstrained by fixed deployments. The microservices-based e-commerce platform brings flexibility to the enterprise by making implementing new features and capabilities easier, even during massive growth phases.

What is an e-commerce microservices architecture?

A microservices architecture contains different services that have individual codebases. These separate services communicate using serverless events connected to front-end shopping experiences with APIs. Overall, this architecture allows the design of a world-class e-commerce platform by selecting the best possible services.

Why are brands adopting microservices for e-commerce?

Microservices for e-commerce can deliver code within a service independently without impacting other pieces and without restarting the entire platform. Adding and testing new site features becomes easier and allows developers and brand marketers to think more creatively.

Use cases of microservices in

Leading e-commerce giants eBay, Etsy, Gilt and Zalando transformed their infrastructures into microservice to create flexible, global systems and a whole new working culture that is easy to enter and motivating for developers.

eBay: In 2011, eBay dealt with massive traffic with about 100 million active users and a 62 billion gross merchandise volume. eBay implemented a microservices architecture to answer the rising challenges of its codebase’s growing complexity and to improve developers’ productivity while maintaining site stability.

Gilt: Gilt adopted a microservices architecture in 2011, created 156 services, rebuilt its system and rearranged its teams. This shift resulted in fewer dependencies between teams, running initiatives in parallel, supporting multiple technologies, and promoting ease of innovation.

Etsy: Etsy developers redesigned its microservice architecture and made it compatible with change, continuous experimentation and frequent deployments.

Characteristics of a microservices architecture that are great for

Flexibility: The architecture provides flexibility in adding new functionality that allows the use of services tailored to specific business needs. The unique services give a competitive advantage and help add value to the customer’s needs.

Scalability: It is designed to scale the front end and back end individually. This leads to the high performance required to give customers the best experience possible. Scalability for specific services can be extended as needed without having to modify the entire platform.

Agility: It speeds up the implementation process, allowing for rapid change and alignment with evolving digital commerce strategies. Its decentralized development process enables easy code adjustments and brings a new customer experience.

Cost efficiency: In the microservice approach, you add functionality and pay only for the microservice you use. This helps create a more compact and efficient technology stack.

Benefits of microservices for

E-commerce platforms can benefit from microservices in many ways, such as:

  • Preparing e-commerce platforms for traffic peaks and implementing and testing the latest trends, like new payment methods and voice assistants, without significant risks.
  • Assisting in setting up omni-channels to enable syncing and uniformity of every piece of information about products, shipments, stocks and orders and keeps it up to date across all channels.
  • Enabling API gateways to integrate best-in-category POS, ERP or WMS solutions and synchronize them with existing processes.
  • Reducing the complexity of software and making maintenance and updates easier.
  • Helping teams choose the right tool for the right task and enabling the use of best-suited language, framework or ancillary services.
  • Building a cross-functional connection reduces team synchronization efforts and allows significantly faster deployment.
  • Creating interdependence for cases when one service no longer responds; the rest of the application still functions and doesn’t break the whole application. It has no single point of failure, and maintenance and failure, if any, do not affect the customers.
  • Allowing the ease of scaling up and increasing the overall performance of the whole business application.

Should you consider microservices for your e-commerce platform?

Microservices can improve the performance of e-commerce platforms, but you need to pay attention to vast containerized hosting clusters. Deploying new codes requires advanced orchestration, so make sure you don’t get lost in the sea of small codes.


E-commerce businesses should rejoice as incorporating microservices doesn’t require a total re-platforming effort right away. Well-crafted APIs connect you to your services and allow you to tackle the most critical parts of your platform. If you want to extend independently to new touchpoints, such as in-store digital experiences, mobile apps and shoppable content, consider components that immediately need to scale.