A little over a year ago, I wrote a post on what I thought were some game changing trends that could alter the way we think about and implement eCommerce systems. One particular point in the post had to do with technology built on Node.js called Meteor and how its reactive data framework could really impact customer experience.
I was recently contacted through LinkedIn by Reaction Commerce, a company that has built an eCommerce platform on Meteor and I had a chance to talk to their founders about the product. In our brief conversation we explored some thoughts around what Meteor could bring to the eCommerce world and many of them are either already implemented or in their roadmap.
So what’s so great about Reaction Commerce? For starters, I think it’s built on some pretty exciting technology. The fact that it’s built on Meteor means it is reactive — basically that if data changes in one location, it changes in all others in near real-time. For example, if you’re viewing a product detail page that shows 10 items are currently in inventory and another shopper purchases one of that item, your view will update to show 9 items available.
Reaction is also open source, so if you want to see how it works or change some code, go ahead. They’ve also got a nice community of developers helping out with things and some nice documentation (sometimes lacking in the open source world) about how to contribute.
If this is done well, it could enable solution providers to compete in the small to mid-market against solutions like Shopify and Demandware.
They have quite a vision for what this technology can do for commerce and they are well on their way to realizing that vision. Currently on version 0.12, their roadmap tells a great story about where they’re headed and here are a few features to watch:
Digital or Physical Goods: As simple as this distinction may sound, in some platforms building the required infrastructure to support digital goods requires a good bit of extra work.
Native Mobile Apps: Write the code once and deploy native versions on mobile platforms such as iOS and Android.
REST API: While a lot of current platforms offer this, it’s definitely the direction in which things are moving. Glad to see they are giving it priority even prior to version 1.0.
Shippo Integration: If you haven’t checked out Shippo, please do. It supports multiple shipping companies, label printing, international shipments, tracking, and more. And all of this will be integrated with Reaction Commerce soon. Note: They already support some integrations that make life easier including Stripe, PayPal, Braintree, Segment.io, etc.
Multi-tenant Marketplace: This is huge. Being able to have a single Reaction instance that houses various independent shops will make it easy for solution providers to set up their own platform-as-a-service environment. There are a multitude of challenges that go along with doing this and I look forward to seeing how Reaction implements the administrative needs of a solution provider managing a multi-tenant environment. If this is done well, it could enable solution providers to compete in the small to mid-market against solutions like Shopify and Demandware.
Reaction is still early stage, but progress has been quick. If the community support is any indicator, they’re on their way to some exciting times. As of this writing, they had over 8000 shops implemented, over 2000 Github starts, and over 40 packages available on the Meteor package site, Atmosphere. Expect to see them gain momentum and start to seriously contend with players in the small to mid-market commerce space in the next 6 to 12 months.
The entire product is Docker friendly and it’s easy to have Reaction up and running quickly by downloading the Reaction image from Dockerhub. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments below!