At this point, we'd all agree that the power of open source tools has proven to bring to life some of the best digital solutions currently revolutionizing the world. When it comes to e-commerce, there is a lot that makes a platform sustainable. When looking to sell your items online, depending on the depth of your needs, it would take you a maximum of 5min and you'd be all set, am talking of Shopify, Squarespace, or simply downloading and setting up a plugin on your product's Facebook page that would allow you to sell items to your customers.

This post is about setting up your marketplace, or if you are looking for an advanced e-commerce tool that would allow you to perform deeper customizations. If you've decided to build your own marketplace, first you'd need to ensure that you've studied your needs and know exactly what you are looking for on the platform. Check on the platform performance speed, how feature packed is it, and on and on.

At the time of this writing, Magento is the most popular open source tool when it comes to building your online shopping brand, and it is feature packed with an amazing team of developers building tools to help extend the platform's features. I would love to dig further on Magento, and share with you why it's the current leader but this article is about Reaction Commerce, a young, but already authoritative open-source e-commerce platform.

One thing you'd love about Reaction Commerce, is the latest technology its being built on. Its based on Meteor JS, an open-source isomorphic JavaScript web framework written using Node.js. And was released in March 2017, and is a real-time reactive and 100% customizable e-commerce platform.

Reaction Commerce chief executive Sara Hicks Photo: TechCrunch

Most of the popular e-commerce solutions have been around for quite a while now meaning most of them are stuck on the previous old software stack which in a way limits scalability and stifles the ability to innovate for customers. To keep up with the latest trends in the e-commerce industry, as well as technology evolution, retailers have to switch to another platform, as it becomes too costly and time-sapping to scale and customize current one.

What's the Technology Used?

One thing about software developers, is that we love new, clean, fast and innovative stack, and in a way we find it quite easy to switch to the current latest dev-tools. Reaction Commerce is supported by a large open-source community, and this is to our view based on the fact that the platform uses some of the famous and flexible frameworks and technologies.

Its technologies include JavaScript, Node.js, npm, React, and MongoDB. And given the fact that it uses a NoSQL database, that in comparison with relational(common with the current e-commerce tools), are more scalable and able to handle large volumes of data.

Flexibility and modern approach of this platform attracts thousands of developers from all over the world. It is constantly improved by an active community with over 7200 members, which makes it a top e-commerce open-source project on Github. The community constantly grows, which means that the platform will only flourish with new possibilities. In 2018, their goals are to significantly improve the performance, add new features, and grow their managed platform-as-a-service, so retailers and brands can easily deploy their stores and marketplaces.

As a developer, one of the best feature of any platform, is its ability to be extended and how flexible it would allow you to down-customize its functionality. One of the key “highlights” of Reaction Commerce is that anything can be extended or changed according to your business and development needs. It is completely open-source, so anyone can download their codebase and extend it however they feel necessary, thus an awesome choice for building scalable marketplaces.

What would vendors love about Reaction Commerce?

One very important thing about selling anything online is the conversion rate, and how fast can you get the product before your customers without any latency. This means that every millisecond should bring your users closer to the add-to-cart action. This is a key feature in Reaction Commerce, where you find the ability to have products load, promotions, and pricing without page reloads or app updates.

Being a one page app, when a user visits an online shop powered by Reaction for the first time, the entire shop is loaded behind the scenes. As all the data is already available locally, the pages users visit are opening with a lightning speed. And in terms of accessing the administrative interface, this also gets preloaded.

Reaction Commerce is a worthy solution for marketplaces. It also works well for single-merchant stores and both startups, middle-size businesses, and enterprises. Though when it comes to single merchant stores, especially when looking for a very simple platform, it would be about how much you are willing to invest into the tech as well as the developers.

Being a platform that is currently under active development, it will take more work and an active team of developer to completely configure and set it up, meaning it would take more resources, and in the case that you'd be looking for certain tools out of the box, it might offer you that. Below are some of the great features that comes out of the box,

  • Products and Inventory management
  • Multi-Vendor Marketplace
  • Universal tags to organize your products into a structured hierarchy
  • Order management
  • Customer profiles
  • One step checkout
  • Notifications
  • Advanced search
  • Preconfigured payment system support for Stripe Payment, that handles the multi-vendors through Stripe Connect, COD, PayPal PayFlow and Express, Braintree, Authorize.net.
  • Flexible shipping rates
  • Discounts
  • Reaction is out-of-the-box responsive and can also be configured to build a native iOS or Android app.
  • Customized themes
  • An open ecosystem that allows you to integrate thousands of open-source packages

There are is one key feature that we found to be quite amazing about Reaction Commerce, and that is, the out of the box multi-vendor feature. If you take a look at the current popular e-commerce platforms, for instance Magento, to set up a multi-vendor platform, you'd need to custom develop a plugin or purchase a pre-developed plugin and looking at the period that Magento has been around, you'd imagine that it would have this as a default feature in the core.

A demo of Reaction Commerce

Reaction Commerce is rapidly growing and extending its functionality. Its flexibility and potential attracts both startups and already established marketplaces. For instance you can have a look at Why Sports Direct, Global Retail Giant, Chose Reaction Commerce

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