Ecommerce and Netlify (Gatsby)

Besides my many other questions I have an important query regarding SSG’s and eCommerce. Whilst I can see a lot of benefits with static site generators such as speed, security and simplicity, I am a little confused how anyone would use these stacks, in particular the JAMstack to create an eCommerce website.

For me it would work if you had only 10-1000 products but if you had more, I dont know. I have 50000 variations and about 800 products. How would this work in the context of the JAMstack? and how would we update our site? Currently we update on the fly adding products, variations ect in Woo-commerce by copying already configured products, changing images, prices, tags ect then publishing them.

If we had 50000 products the build time would by huge. Would we have to schedule weekly builds? Which to be fair is something we should do but it is too complicated with Woo to bother

I am currently looking at Snipcart/reaction commerce/Motlin???

Any thoughts or comments

Hey jonny,

totally understand those questions! We have some answers.

Here is a link to a recent tutorial (just posted a few weeks ago) with BigCommerce and Netlify:

And a webinar recording with Victoria Beckham Beauty about using Contentful, Shopify and Netlify

We’re feeling really great about this content and think this might answer many of your questions :fire:

Thanks, but the first example is with BigCommerce and has no live demo. I cant see any examples of variations and how long the build process would take and what the cart might look like??

The second is interesting but is primarily aimed at large organisations that can afford to use contenful, netlify as well as have developers etc. I get the when changes are made in contentful they are pushed to Netlify but managing millions of products in contenful is really rather doppy. I dont believe that this technology is any good for people who already use woo or shopify, big commerce and i think it would be prohibitively expensive for small business to re-platform using these technologies.

I am talking about small or even micro businesses here. And the other issue I have is that working with Gatsby, Hugo with surge and Netlify for a week has taught me that its about as reliable as a carrier pigeon. The text is not stable enough. With countless tuts not working because features have removed etc etc

hey jonny,

did you see the link to the demo store front in the first article? you can check that out here, if you like:

By build process, do you mean building and deploying the site, in terms of build minutes, or are you referring to the process of designing and actually building the templates? There are a lot of variables to consider, here, so we wouldn’t be able to give a blanket statement - its a bit like asking how long it takes to build a house :smiley: there are a million variations and it is impossible to say without more information.

As far as the second resource goes, contentful does have a free tier (I use it one of my sites!) but there are also plenty of other CMS that are available depending on your needs - the approach is, after all, what counts and the thing that makes jamstack approaches so powerful, you can create really flexible solutions using the CMS and the SSG that meets your needs best. If you take a look at or you can see the wide variety of tools available to you. Ultimately, what it comes down to, is that moden static sites are safer and faster than other ways of building sites as they offer less vectors of attack and less moving parts. If you look at some of our larger clients, Loblaw, Nike, Atlassian, Hashicorp etc, you’ll see that that is the case.

Small and micro businesses can absolutely run amazing sites on services such as Netlify - many of our clients fall in this range and they love the cost efficiency we provide. You mentioned stability/reliability (carrier pigeons are actually known to be very reliable :bird: ), we are proud to have built a system that is incredibly safe, stable and reliable. Tutorials that are not published by aren’t something that is connected to the stability of our service as a whole! If you find something that we have published on our blog that contains errors or isn’t available, do let us know so we can remediate.

If you have specific implementation questions, such as how to achieve a specific result or solve a problem on sites you are building, we’d be happy to continue to advise you :slight_smile:

Thanks for reply, still struggling to see how you can publish thousands of stic pages from woocommerce but I sure I will learn.

One other thing I am struggling with at the moment is the Headless thing?

I have the gatsby starter site now working with a custom domain just to start learning as it were. Now how is this headless as the site is hosted on and if I add “admin” to the end of the URL I get to the admin interface. So I am confused as to why its headless as my backend is available at the above URL? Same place as the frontend???

I am definitely missing something here. :slight_smile:


hi jonny,

headless in this instance doesn’t mean that the CMS and the UI are not located on the same server by default. They can be, or they can not be. it means that they talk to each other, regardless of where they are located, but they are not inseperable.

With a headless CMS, you can run a CMS on server A, and a UI on server B, and they will talk to each other via an interface. They are connected, but independent.

They can also both run on server A and still talk to each other in the same way.

You can also completely swap out the CMS (switching from Contentful to Netlify CMS or any other CMS) and have it still talk to your same UI. The reverse is also possible, keep the CMS, but switch out a completely different UI, for example, Hugo to Gatsby, or any other. If you look at other ways of building websites, the UI and the CMS are completely intertwined (for example wordpress, or a typical MEAN stack app with a database powered backend and a templating system.)

The advantage of this setup is that it is scalable (you start with a small lightweight thing, as your website grows you get a bigger, more powerful CMS) and flexible. You can click together a stack that meets your individual needs. You can pick and choose.

As far as large static sites go, it doesn’t mean that every single static page has to be 100% pre built. It means that we pre-build as much as possible, and fill in the dynamic parts via API queries, for example for products.

Yes I sort of get it. Lets say I wanted to host the UI myself on my digital ocean account. If I did then I would understand it a little better I think. Or of course the other way around :slight_smile:

I not interested in doing this at the moment, just might be a good way of learning. I also published the “Kaldi” starter to Surge, so relatively happy using VS Code to publish using SSG’s

Thanks for your help it really is fantastic to have someone helping people

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great. You are welcome to come back and ask Jamstack and Netlify questions any time :slight_smile: