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Tips on building ecommerce with Gatsby

July 30, 2018 at 5:33pm

Tips on building ecommerce with Gatsby

July 30, 2018 at 5:33pm (Edited 4 years ago)
Hey everyone,
So I'm trying to figure out the best approach to building an ecommerce solution with Gatsby. What I'm thinking of doing is integrating Snipcart onto a Gatsby site and using Netlify's lambda functions to perform any backend actions.
What I'm struggling to get my head around is which parts should be generated as static pages, and which parts should be part of a "hybrid app".
I also should point out a couple of details:
  • All the product data will be pulled in via an API call to an external service
  • Each product "item" from the data set represents a single item. So my store will have no concept of a quantity of items in stock, only of an item is for sale or not.
Lets say the product listing & product detail pages are all generated during Gatsby's build step:
  • The issue that I'm anticipating here is that there will be a gap when the site is rebuilding between when an item has been bought or source data has changed.
    • In this window where the site is re-building customers browsing the site could potentially purchase an item that has just been purchased. (Though a check could possibly implemented here via SnipCart's webooks to prevent the item being purchased twice).
    • I can see caching issues potentially cropping up here especially as site rebuilds would be automated.
The other solution I can see then is to have a "hybrid-app" which hits this API and renders the product data on the fly.
  • So this would apply to the product listing & product detail pages, as it would ensure a user is seeing the current product data
    • But this seems to defeat the point of using Gatsby as most of the site won't be statically generated.
If anyone has any experiences they could share or advice they could offer on this Ill be super thankful!
All the best,

July 30, 2018 at 5:36pm
We went with the hybrid approach. The site and its content are all baked with Gatsby. But the the inventory (out of stock or "Buy It Now" button) is done on the fly. We also prefetch inventory from any page, so the user usually won't even see a loading animation on the buy buttons. If you want to only render product that's in stock, you could just show the out of stock message until the site is rebuilt, which then Gatsby would only render in-stock product.
Kennedy, this sounds like a solid solution!
I'm going to jump into the project and try implementing this evening, thank you!
I'd not come across this snipcart article yet, thanks for sharing!
This is also the actual gatsby store codebase:
From looking at this repo - is it an issue to have the shopify store access token available in the files to the public? Or is it the case that the Shopify Storefront API is only reading client side data and thus cant access things like quantity of product etc..?
That's a great question - we should test out with their api key and find out :P
If you need to use a private key though, I would recommend triggering lambda functions to do so.
So reading the shopify storefront api you can query if the product is available for sale i.e. Has greater than one quantity. But the quantity value of each product is only available on the admin api which is authenticated so I presume this could be done with said lambda function? Likewise for the 0auth for their rep would that take a lambda function or would it just use a database like firebase?
Sorry for the many questions I have been thinking about these problems for a while for when I want to open a store for my wife's business

July 31, 2018 at 9:50pm
I don't have any experience with Shopify, but Snipcart is a great solution for static sites. You won't have to do any API calls, Snipcart will handle all that on their end.

August 13, 2018 at 7:58am
Just came across this thread a bit late. Just made an eCommerce site using Gatsby. What I did was integrating it with Shopify's JS SDK. It's actually working really well--and it allows us to use some of Shopify's great features for logistics, bookkeeping etc.
Whats the link Alexander so I can take a look if you don't mind? With Shopify's JS SDK did you use the REST API or did you use the newer graphQL Storefront API?! Currently all products are sold out though, so you won't be able to see it in action. We had a pretty heavy launch.
This was a massive help for me and I ended up solving it the same way: Only difference is that I'm also using Contentful, so I have a UI extension in there fetching the products from Shopify, so the editors can match them there and control the product data with more flexibility from inside Contentful.

January 4, 2019 at 3:45am
Hi, If anyone in this thread has experience integrating Stripe products and payment with Gatsby, I'd love to talk with you -- perhaps even employ you for a few days.
I'd love to pair-program with somebody much better than me to make a single payment form for a single product using Gatsby-plugin-stripe-elements and Gatsby-source-stripe.

January 20, 2019 at 10:04am
Alex I know I am a bit late to this party, but did you have any troubles with the contentful shopify ui integration ?

January 21, 2019 at 10:20am
Yes I did! It seemed to not return the correct ID. Also, I had some issues with stock since if a product ran out of stock it would only show on the site after a re-build. So I ended up matching the products in Contentful and Shopify by their slug and then fetching stock from Shopify directly from within Gatsby

January 26, 2019 at 4:37pm
good to know, did you build a seperate API for retrival of the data ?

March 11, 2019 at 11:49pm
guys my client wants to use shopify instead of snipcart. can you guys help me convince him to use snipcart or help me figure out how to use shopify like just buy buttons i dont want to use graphql i want to hardcode the 3 products and just have a buy button

May 17, 2019 at 6:28pm
Hey guys!
Does anyone have experience using Shopify GraphQL Admin API? I was trying to make it work with gatsby-source-graphql, but no luck. All the code can be found in this Github Issue. All the help is really appreciated.
Its not very polished yet or documented but I finished the first working version of a 1-click deploy snipcart shop with netlify-cms if you want to check it out to see how it feels.
Could I ask why you are using the Shopify Admin API, and not just the storefront API?
I have to get metafields, which are available only in Admin API. Also it looks like there is a way to get metafields from Storefront API, but again it will require mutation to Shopify Admin API -

May 18, 2019 at 9:22am
Ah, I see. I have a similar problem, where I need to check current quantity of a product, again only available through the Admin API. Someone suggested using Netlify functions to create a small Apollo server, which has a resolver that queries the Admin API, then you can use react-apollo to query the apollo server - rather than accessing the Admin API directly, if that makes sense? I would have thought you could do a similar thing with getting metafields - the source-graphql plugin would then connect to the Apollo server instead.
So: Shopify Admin API <-> Apollo Server <-> Gatsby

May 18, 2019 at 5:23pm
Yes, it makes sense, but I will try to go another route (which will hopefully require less time). I will write a custom plugin to whitelist all metafields by creating a MetafieldStorefrontVisibility record using Admin API. After doing it I'm supposed to get read access to these fields from Storefront API.
The thing I'm not clear about if I will have to make any modifications to gatsby-source-shopify to be able to fetch newly available metafields?
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