UI/UX

How to Utilize Magento GraphQL for Improving Customer Experience

By Visionet Digital

Finding ways to increase conversion rates remains the largest daily task of people in the eCommerce sphere. 

Market research, targeting the right sort of crowd, creating an attractive offer that stands out – a ton of work has to be done.

In addition to that, developers need to create a store that works flawlessly at any time of the day, in good and bad conditions. More and more of them have turned to creating Magento stores – which proved to be an ideal solution for forward-thinking eCommerce businesses.

Magento has turned into a PWA platform for the most part. That means they have made a suite of tools for building online stores as Progressive Web Applications.

Magento 2.3 introduced a lot of new features and smaller-scale optimizations – including the highly sought-after Magento PWA Studio. This suite of tools also includes GraphQL – a syntax that solved many of the problems REST APIs brought. 

In this blog, you will find out:

  • What is Magento GraphQL
  • How does Magento GraphQL exactly work (with some easy to understand analogies)
  • All the ways it makes the online shopping experience pleasurable and economical
  • Why it makes developers happy

What is Magento GraphQL?

Magento GraphQL is a syntax that uses a type system to describe how to ask for data – the exact data a client needs, without the usual excess data baggage.

Originally, it was the Facebook team that developed GraphQL in 2012 (and publicly released it in 2015.) in order to resolve the issues with loading all the unnecessary data. This slowed down the whole process, especially on mobile phones.

This data query language provides an alternative to REST and SOAP web APIs for frontend development

Instead of the old REST model, they placed GraphQL as a layer between the client and data sources that only fetches the data you order – nothing more, nothing less. At the same time, it supplies a full, comprehensible description of the requested data in your API.

By the way, the GraphQL server can even wrap an existing REST API, and its clients can get data with regular GET requests, just as you would interact with other services – making these two work together.

If you use a REST call on a simple product, it might fetch more than 100 lines of data – but you only asked for, for example, the current price, 

This is significantly more information than you need slowing you down. By using GraphQL, a query will return nothing but the requested price.

So, how does Magento GraphQL exactly work?

Instead of reaching out to several data sources individually, you can utilize the Magento GraphQL to do all the work. You only need to make a single request to GraphQL, include the instructions, and then it fetches the data from various resources and delivers it to you at a high speed.

To simplify it even more, we will use the real-life analogy.

Imagine you have to go to 3 different institutions in 3 different parts of town to complete the documentation you need for purchasing a new home (bureaucracy, am I right?). This would take up the whole day you could use to, well, not dealing with that sort of thing.

To save you the hassle, your local municipality office offers to gather these documents from 3 different institutions for you. Now, your only job is to make a request and specify what you need and where to get it – and pick up the docs from your mailbox!

We can only wish this would work in real life, but at least it can be done online. In this case, GraphQL is the municipality office, and those 3 institutions are data resources. 

One request, multiple endpoints, instant results.

How does Magento GraphQL help eCommerce?

Creating a Magento GraphQL-empowered app proved to be beneficial to online retailers in many ways. Implementing GraphQL means a world of difference for mobile users in particular.

Since we know more and more web traffic moved to mobile devices, it is important to consider implementing Magento GraphQL to make your online store more user-friendly.

1. Faster results on slower networks

REST APIs make separate requests for every single action. The common problems clients face when using them are:

  • over-fetching (fetching more data than you originally requested)
  • under-fetching (the opposite problem – API doesn’t include enough data for the users)

Combine this with slow, unreliable mobile networks people often depend on, and you get a frustrated customer who will give up shopping on your website and leave the page in a matter of seconds.

This kind of over-fetching hinders the performance for the users by slowing down the load speed.

By making a single request and targeting nothing but the data you specified, GraphQL accelerates the load speed, thus enabling the customers to purchase the items on your webstore faster and without difficulties that come with slow network.

Under-fetching forces clients to make multiple requests in order to complete an action that could be finalized in a single instance – again, by using the GraphQL.

2. Real-time apps 

To build a real-time app with the help of GraphQL you don’t even need any of the backend code.

It is great to use GraphQL for creating real-time apps because any system includes native real-time API capacities; live-queries are an unspoken part of the GraphQL specification.

In addition to that, GraphQL APIs are easy to integrate, and the integration process is very intuitive for the developers.

As per caching, you can overcome the performance problems (single query triggering too many database calls) by using the DataLoader caching library. GraphQL client libraries such as Relay and Urql provide frontend devs with caching features, completely free of charge.

3. Battery life & Smartphone CPU improvements

Battery life on smartphones drastically shortens when people are browsing the web – and each HTTP request additionally drains the phone battery. This makes it difficult for the users to shop outside their homes, in situations where phone chargers are not available at hand.

By asking for all the data in a single request, clients take the shortcut to the desired content and by that, decreasing the time spent using the phone.

In the same way fewer HTTP requests save battery life, they work in favor of resource-constrained clients as well: CPU, memory and bandwidth are usually over-worked in traditional REST systems. Asking for specific pieces of data with the help from GraphQL solves this problem as well.

4. Better developed code and more efficient development.

Better developer experience is one of the key reasons people opt for using Magento GraphQL.

Magento GraphQL isn’t tied to JavaScript or any language in particular – developers can use more than twenty implementations and pick the one they prefer. The latest release of the Magento platform enables them to use powerful developer tools and makes it easier to evolve APIs over any period of time. 

Join the #graphql channel on the Community Engineering Slack to stay up-to-date and share your experience with GraphQL!

GraphQL APIs are organized as types and fields; they use types to make sure apps only ask for what’s possible and provide clear and helpful error reports. Types are also used to avoid writing manual parsing code. 

Moreover, the way GraphQL APIs are built in a way that doesn’t require too much work to update – they give developers access to new features and provide an easy to maintain code.

Since it is just a specification, GraphQL can be used with any library and platform, with a client or by making the calls to a GraphQL server on your own. This also means that, as far as safety is concerned, it is up to developers to address those perturbances when writing the resolvers. 

Those of you who are wary of Facebook will be glad to hear that you can use GraphQL implementations without running a single line of Facebook’s code!

In the end – developers will be able to write much cleaner code, additionally improving the website loading speed.

Conclusion

Magento GraphQL benefits the eCommerce website owners by improving the customer experience. Websites are faster, drain less battery life, money and CPU while staying functional even when the mobile network works slow and shaky.

In addition to that, GraphQL makes the work easier for the developers, thanks to clean-cut code and the ability to use a myriad of languages, platforms and developer tools.

All of these reasons work in favor of Magento GraphQL implementation – since they drastically enhance the customer experience, one of the key elements that increase the conversion rates.

If you are among the eCommerce owners who want to convert your online store to a PWA – contact us and hire our team to overcome the business challenges.

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