What is Next.js and Its Role in Building a Powerful E-commerce Site?
In the rapidly evolving world of web development, finding the right technology to build a robust and successful e-commerce site is paramount. One of the most prominent is Next.js, a web development framework created by Vercel. This cutting-edge solution offers a full ecosystem that enhances performance, allows for flexible adding of third-party solutions at any time, and empowers developers to create outstanding user experiences.
As the demand for efficient and scalable e-commerce solutions grows, understanding the role of Next.js becomes crucial for businesses seeking to thrive in the competitive online marketplace. Especially since giants like Nike, Porsche, or Mashable have already implemented it with great success as part of their move toward headless commerce architecture. It looks like now is the time to understand what Next.js is and its benefits to include it in your next e-commerce project!
By reading the article, you’ll learn about:
What is Next.js
Main Next.js development benefits
Why should you use Next.js for e-commerce
For what types of websites is it advisable to use Next.js
To build a powerful e-commerce site using the Jamstack approach, you definitely need a React framework for your project. There are many possibilities here and mostly you’ll be considering Nuxt JS, Gatsby JS or Next JS.
In this article, we’ll focus on the latter and its unique capabilities. Let’s go!
What is Next.js?
Next JS, in a technical sense, is an open-source web development framework created by Vercel. In short and simple: it provides a full ecosystem to build apps more easily and with less effort while solving some root web app issues under the hood. It was designed to simplify the process of building web applications. With Next.js, developers can craft apps more efficiently while addressing fundamental issues commonly encountered in web development.
It enables React-based web applications to be server-side rendered and statically generated. Unlike some of its competitors (Gatsby included), Next.js started as a solution focused on server-side rendering and then incorporated static generation capabilities. This approach was intended to offer developers an opinionated, pre-configured set of tools for building server-side rendered apps without the need for extensive configuration efforts.
As we can see in the 2022 Jamstack Community Survey, almost half of Jamstack developers use Next JS, making it one of the most popular frameworks in the realm. What’s more, it’s getting incredible satisfaction scores so we can expect it to be used by developers very enthusiastically. As a result, the community will be growing and developing rapidly as well as the tool itself.
NextJS gives added value to the project in different stages of its life. When we at Naturaily start the greenfield project or migration from an old solution, we spot many benefits from the developer’s perspective, and naturally as we go live we also witness clients and users contentment.
For the business, it’s crucial to match these two worlds together to run the project efficiently and keep the users satisfied with your growing product later on.
What is Next.js?
Next JS is an open-source web development framework created by Vercel. In short and simple: it provides a full ecosystem to build apps more easily and with less effort while solving some root web app issues under the hood. It was designed to simplify the process of building web applications. With Next.js, developers can craft apps more efficiently while addressing fundamental issues commonly encountered in web development.
Benefits of Next.js for E-commerce Site Development
Let’s then take a look at the pros of Next.js from both perspectives. But to understand what Next.js gives us in running the development or e-commerce project, we need to comprehend why we need a React framework like Next at all. Isn’t React itself enough? Well, simply saying, no. Even experienced developers sometimes get confused with React itself, as it doesn’t provide the complete ecosystem to develop an application and we, as developers, are in complete charge of the flow.
It results in using many third-party packages of choice for routing, forms, type checking, state management, data fetching, styling, testing, internationalization, authentication, and many, many more. To be honest, even my head starts to ache with just thinking about this. The truth is that even if the core of the particular project differs from others, there is a huge bunch of issues that repeatedly happen.
Comprehensive Ecosystem That Streamlines the React Projects
Next.js comes in handy as it’s just the aforementioned battle-ready ecosystem to facilitate the creation of the website or another digital platform.
Next.js offers a complete ecosystem that goes beyond React, providing built-in solutions for various common challenges faced during web development. If applied correctly, Next JS makes everything quicker, easier, and more predictable. Some chunks of code and conventions are already there, ready to use. Otherwise, if you used vanilla React for your project, you would have to write particular lines of code yourself.
As a result, developers can focus on building the actual features of the e-commerce site, saving time and effort.
Time and Effort Savings
Using Next.js results in time and effort savings as developers use battle-tested solutions. It’s like hiring a full project-ready team instead of searching for people one by one – just a huge saving of time and effort. Also, the framework automates data serialization between the server and client, ensuring consistency and compatibility, and enabling developers to avoid the complexities of handling data conversions manually.
Freedom in Data Fetching
Next.js provides more consistency which results in better project collaboration. It’s easier to work in bigger projects with numerous people involved, as we have some patterns ready to implement, design systems are easier to apply and good practices easier to follow. With a standardized approach, developers can easily work together and understand each other's code, leading to smoother development processes and higher productivity.
Enhanced Development and Deployment
Next.js streamlines the development and deployment process for e-commerce sites. With Next JS, we have a lot of enhancement tools, working for us under the hood or being able to configure manually to support those purposes. Its built-in solutions, like Typescript support or easy deployment on platforms like Vercel, simplify the setup and maintenance of the website as well as clarify the process.
What’s more, Vercel & Next.js team is making everything even easier with dedicated solutions like the Commerce package. It’s the all-in-one starter kit for speeding up the creation of e-commerce websites using their technology. With ready-to-go solution, developers don’t lose any time on unnecessary project configurations and can focus on just creating the product fulfilling the business needs of your brand.
This became all even the more true and visible when React 18.0 came out in 2022. To fully use its brand-new functionalities like streaming and server components, you would need to write a lot of original code, which may be overly complicated and extremely time-consuming without the frameworks’ support. But fortunately, with the power of Next.js, we developers don’t have to do that.
Various Rendering Strategies Tailored to the Project’s Needs
Next.js offers the flexibility to adopt rendering strategies based on specific use cases. Whether it's Static Site Generation (SSG) for unparalleled speed, Server-Side Rendering (SSR) for dynamic data, or Incremental Static Regeneration (ISR) as a hybrid approach, developers can tailor the e-commerce pages to meet their clients’ unique requirements.
Why use Next.js for Building Powerful E-commerce Websites?
As a company, we’re rather supporters of long-term assessment and we’re calm and satisfied only long after the development phase. Creating a product and calling it a day isn’t what we’re accustomed to. We love to create products that are widely used and profitable throughout the whole lifecycle, not only at the beginning. That’s why, along with development phase profits, we need to talk about the obvious value from the users’ and business perspective.
Ultimate Performance and Page Speed
Next.js performance is all about server-side rendering, static generation, and incremental static regeneration capabilities that contribute to enhanced loading speed. For e-commerce platforms handling high traffic volumes, Next.js ensures quick page loads and smooth user experiences, resulting in higher conversion rates and customer satisfaction. Websites run on Next.js are simply ultra-quick – quicker than you think websites could ever be. Some other performance-related Next.js features include:
Automatic code splitting
It works intensively behind the scenes to serve the customer only the necessary amount of code and let you avoid huge time-to-interactive values.
Automatic image optimization
It reduces the media size, and supports responsive solutions, lazy loading, and caching, which lets you achieve better speed results even if your non-technical stuff is not always compressing the media accordingly.
Google loves great performance as it implemented Core Web Vitals metrics as one of the most important factors for the SEO presence in SERPs. Ultra-performative Next.js capabilities ensure that search engines can easily crawl and index your e-commerce site, contributing to better search engine rankings and visibility. When paired with an efficient and customer-centric SEO strategy, Next JS drives more organic traffic so that potential customers will come to your store in droves.
Internationalization Made Easy
Next.js offers built-in support for internationalization, making it easier for businesses to run and scale their operations globally. Features like built-in domain and subdomain routing, automatic language detection, or integrated support for i18n facilitate seamless multilingual experiences. Using Next.js can be a real game-changer if you run your business internationally – or want to do it in the future.
Responsive Design and Outstanding User Experiences
Next.js ensures a consistent and enjoyable shopping experience across all platforms. It excels in creating responsive e-commerce websites that adapt seamlessly to different devices and screen sizes. With automatic adjustments to different screen sizes, Next.js eliminates the need for separate mobile, desktop, and, for example, kiosk and e-stands versions, streamlining development and maintenance.
What’s more, you’re free to create any visual representation of the user journeys you project by transforming your carefully created and distinguished designs into React-based components. They will be rendered with the Next.js support in the matter of eyeblink and make your customers want to come back any time soon.
Next.js places a strong emphasis on web accessibility, ensuring that e-commerce sites are usable by individuals with disabilities. By adhering to accessibility guidelines and best practices, businesses can reach a broader audience and demonstrate inclusivity in their online presence.
Scalability and Growth Potential
Next.js boasts a rich ecosystem of plugins and extensions that further enhance its functionality and make it even more suitable for e-commerce projects. Developers can easily integrate features like payment gateways, inventory management systems, and product search functionalities, enriching the overall user experience. Using third parties lets us grow your app almost endlessly by adding other functionalities like different logging methods and review systems or by connecting with popular solutions like CRMs or ERPs.
Ideal for Headless Commerce Projects
Next.js emerges as an ideal solution for headless commerce projects. If you’re not familiar with the term, a quick recap for you: headless commerce allows for a separation of the front end and back end, providing developers and marketers with the freedom to innovate and deliver exceptional, tailored-made user experiences.
How does that work with Next.js and e-commerce? It’s all about treating the core e-commerce functionality and website user experience and visual layer kind of separately. You can connect those two single-living organisms with an API, making it possible to use any e-commerce platform or CMS:
or any other of our choice
Next.js supports the creation of the visual layer, website building, and deployment.
What’s more, you can change it later without ruining the whole front-end solution we designed. And the other way round, we can change and customize the whole visual layer without touching the e-commerce’s back end. This is pretty flexible and future-proof, isn’t it? Well, that’s one of the benefits of headless commerce!
All above will make your app rocket-speed, easy to manage for non-technical team members, and scalable in the future. Next.js development services are all about offering outstanding capabilities that make it a pretty natural choice for e-commerce websites as well as other types of websites and web apps. See for yourself below!
When should you consider using Next.js for your web development project
When it comes to choosing the right technology for your web development project, Next.js should be high on your list of considerations, especially in specific scenarios where its unique capabilities shine. Next JS is a perfect choice for websites and apps that:
Require outstanding user experiences
Should be ultra-performative and quick to load
Are content-rich and content-heavy
Need to maintain high traffic and be always live
Should be easily modified and edited by content marketers
Are projected to be scaled up as the business grows
Belong to businesses that want to easily test and add new third-party microservices incrementally
Are complex and created with many pages fueled by a few different sources of data
Come up with different levels of dynamics on different pages (i.e. mixing static pages with complex search mechanisms or shop functionality)
Depend on unique, specific requirements for deploying solutions
Industry-wise, Next.js will best work with:
E-commerce websites and web apps
Tech companies’ websites
Travel companies’ websites
Next.js is also outstanding when it comes to pairing it up with headless CMS. It’s field-tested in the projects that included:
And many more!
Examples of websites built using Next.js
We can easily find many successful websites built with Next.js, many of which belong to acknowledged and respectable brands. Nonetheless, it’s not only high-reputable, biggest companies that can leverage what is Next.js’ greatest benefits. By examining the below examples, you’ll see that this framework is a great choice for businesses that operate on different scales, within different verticals.
One of the most remarkable examples of Next.js in action. Nike used the headless commerce approach to propose an incredibly customized user experience and strengthen the ties with customers across many touchpoints. As part of Nike’s broad refurbished e-commerce strategy, the website contributed highly to the brand’s digital transformation and paved the way for unprecedented success in recent years.
The actual outcomes of the famous move toward D2C (direct-to-customer) exceeded the projected results. As Fabric states, Nike aimed to achieve 30% of its total sales from their e-commerce revenue by 2023. Actually, in 2022 they could boast of having this metric at the level of 50%.
Porsche used Next.js to create an undeniably highly-customized store, enriched with advanced filtering options while still keeping a strong feel of the brand. For e-commerce, filters and visual representations of products are crucial for increasing conversion rates and keeping the user engaged. Porsche did it perfectly, and with so much data working in the background, the website runs as fast as the fastest Porsche car. Incredible!
Another Next.js example is Starbucks Reserve’s page, where you can experience a very tailored, animation-infused story of the brand with e-commerce functionality injected somewhere in between. Rare and extraordinary products require a similarly distinguished, almost sensory visual layer. And so it’s there, handed to you by the Next.js barista.
Along those brand-specific sites, we can also find huge and functionality-first ticket-buying systems like Ticketmaster. Their website is especially worth spotting since it operates on an extreme amount of data and plenty of integrations implemented.
Payment processors (PayPal), analytic tools (Contentsquare, Quantcast), user feedback collectors (GetFeedback), customer data platforms (Lytics), A/B testing and personalization (Kibo), or behavior-based threat protection tools (PerimeterX): all of them cooperating together seamlessly, with utmost performance assured.
We at Naturaily also create successful pages using Next.js development so we’re really happy to recommend it to our business partners and use it frequently in our projects.
For example, take the Next.js & Urban project’s case study, where we admired the freedom of choosing and configuring the deploying solution. For project-specific reasons, we needed to stick to Cloudflare Pages here and there were absolutely zero problems with that, still keeping the benefits of using the Next.js. By integrating the framework with Storyblok, a headless CMS we really love and partnered up with, we managed to reduce the web dev team's time needed to manage content by 100% and give the content marketing team the autonomy they really needed.
As you can see, the possibilities are limitless for applying Next.js. Feel free to do a little rummage for yourself and check more examples in Next.js’s official showcase. What companies use Next.js? You’ll see that the framework is a crucial element of websites and web apps created for companies and organizations like:
And many more
Maximizing eCommerce Potential with the Help of Next.js
As you can see, there can be a lot of shades of the same tool, but the conclusion is one and only: Next.js is undoubtedly the powerful tool that can maximize the potential of your e-commerce website. It can help to face the challenges of the modern web universe and let us create a custom, brand-tailored, speed-as-a-flash, and user-friendly platform that will be happily used and easily scaled in the future.
At Naturaily, we’ve worked on Jamstack & headless projects since the dawn of Next.js. We’ve seen its transformation from a simple React framework to the ultimate tool for creating diversified and extensive web platforms for enterprise-level organizations.
If you are looking for an eCommerce & web development company that can make using Next.js beneficial for your brand, don’t hesitate to contact us. Tell us about your business needs and let us find the perfect solution for you!
Let's talk about Jamstack and headless e-commerce!
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