Anyone integrating SnipCart or Shopify?

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Outside of the C5 e-commerce package, Snipcart and Shopify both look like attractive ecommerce options and both have add-ons for 5.7 integration. Anyone using either and have any advice/opinions?
Thanks, John

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MrKDilkington replied on at Permalink Reply
Hi slojes,

I am not aware of a Shopify add-on for 5.7.

Regarding the Snipcart add-on, it has excellent reviews and was developed by a respected member of the concrete5 community.
mesuva replied on at Permalink Reply
Disclaimer: I'm the author of the Snipcart add-on. I'm naturally going to be positive towards Snipcart (as I wouldn't have built the add-on otherwise), but I'll try to be objective.

I personally think that Snipcart is a solid product. We've used it ourselves for direct client projects and those have been very successful. Snipcart very clever and well thought out product/platform, but it's also worth complementing the Snipcart guys for being very friendly and responsive to emails.

The main benefit to using Snipcart is that it takes care of the all the complexities of a cart, checkout, the payment processing and notifications, without it _seeming_ like a separate system. Things like the shipping options, the details in the email notifications, they are all configured within Snipcart itself. They also provide integration with many shipping calculator APIs, provide translated carts, handle returning customers and a whole bunch of stuff that can be fiddly to handle directly on your own site.

It means that from a technical point of view all you have to do once you have your site running is have an SSL cert installed and enter your API code. This is arguably much easier than a traditional shop add-on where you need to take care of configuring all the payment and shipping options.

I could probably set up a new concrete5 site, install the Snipcart add-on and a few products in under 10 minutes. The video demo I put together covering the add-on basically does this, and I prattle on.

It also means that you can effectively rip down your entire site and start again, without it destroying all your previous orders or configurations, there's a nice bit of technical separation.

The main discussion point with Snipcart tends to be regarding their 2% charge (and/or their monthly minimum fee), on top of the charge of the payment gateway in use.

For shops where profit margins are very tight or large number of sales are expected, that 2% can certainly make a big difference.

What I normally suggest is that 2% is payment is for the features and convenience of Snipcart that offsets your initial development costs, and that's what people need to weigh up.

You can set up a new concrete5 install for free, set up some inexpensive hosting, install our Snipcart add-on for $45 and get a shop running in no more than an hour or two. If you pay someone to do this, it's going to be pretty economical. You aren't going to be paying for the often many hours of technical work to get a shop working right.

Then you've really just got a minimum of $10 a month to run Snipcart. The 2% you then pay for sales is actually pretty cheap compared to the set up costs that you normally might incur.

For example, just say it cost you an extra $1200 of development time to set up a stand-alone shop (i.e payment gateway fees only). It's not until you've made $60,000 worth of sales that you are better off financially with your stand-alone shop instead of Snipcart. That's quite a high break-even point, with a difference in development cost I think is realistic.

So where I suggest that Snipcart is a great is for shops where you want to make the initial setup investment inexpensive, where you're not expecting very large number of sales, or you simply don't know what your sales might be. It's great where you might want to sell something on a website more as a convenience. You might be a club or organisation where you just want to sell a few hats or t-shirts or something, where you'd love to be able to offer something for sale on your website but it's hard to justify the expensive of a complex shop setup.

Where my Snipcart add-on isn't as effective is when you have larger numbers of categories and products, especially when it's important that you can centrally manage them.
I built the add-on to to be _block_ centric, as the use-case I envisaged was where someone is more likely to want to add, say, half a dozen products instead of a 100. You can have an unlimited number of products, but it could become unwieldy. I'll add though that that's a design decision I made, NOT a limitation of Snipcart - nothing about Snipcart stops you from having a central repository of products (like in eCommerce), it's just not how I built the add-on.

Snipcart is also naturally limited in its feature set as it's a third-party service. Although they are continuing to add new features and gateways, if you are in need of a very particular way of managing orders or products you can't jump in and solve it with some custom code like you can do with your own shop solution.

For example, you might sell wine on your website. You might want to allow visitors to select individual bottles of wine to add to their cart, but you only allow orders of half a dozen bottles or more. With Snipcart there isn't a way to add such logic to the checkout process, whereas with your own system you can get a developer to add such a mechanism in.

Your checkout screen is also restricted to the Snipcart overlay. It's a very effective checkout process, one that they've spent a lot of time getting right, but you can't do much to it besides adding in a little extra text and changing the labelling and colours.

Snipcart (or at least our Snipcart add-on) also doesn't feature sortable lists of products. Often online shops display lists of products in a summary format, that you can sort by price, etc, which link through to an individual product page. With our add-on there isn't a 'product list' block as such. You can create lists of product blocks and you can link through to pages where you display a product block with additional detail, but it's not really intended for that kind of setup. As an example, this page here is a list of Snipcart product blocks:
This works well and it's very easy to maintain, but note that they don't link through to individual product pages. If you need that sort of setup, both lists and product pages, the Snipcart add-on might not be a good fit.

On the flip side, the Snipcart add-on excels when you have a few pages on your site that describe specific products. In these cases you can simply place a Snipcart block on the page showing as much or as little info as you need. In fact, you might only just want the _button_. In this way it's very similar to how a Paypal button works, except you get the benefit of a shopping cart experience where you don't leave the website.

An example of this kind of setup is here:
The 'Buy Now' button on the home page is the Snipcart product block, but everything else is just normal concrete5 content blocks. You can build up a page of content blocks, videos, slideshows, layouts, whatever you need to demo your product and just drop in a Snipcart product block to enable purchasing. Also with this example, not that this site really only sells one product. Setting up a full ecommerce system to offer this product would have been overkill.


- If you've got plans to set up a larger shop, with lots of categories and products, or you might need custom ordering logic and/or you're planning to make big $$$, than you might want to look into investing into a more integrated shopping cart solution - get a developer onboard.

- If you're wanting to sell fewer products (or even just one), when you're uncertain of the amount of money you are planning to make, where you want to minimise the initial setup costs and time (and complexity), or where your product pages may need different ad-hoc layouts, then Snipcart is likely to be a great fit.