Less Effort, Swift E-Commerce Integration on a Kirby CMS Site

For this case study, we interview Sam Wightwick, a creative frontend developer who's been in various London agencies for the past 8 years.

Web developer by trade, Sam has also worked on design projects and is passionate about visuals, be it websites, graffiti, or photography. He chose Snipcart to power the online store of Less Effort, a streetwear collective he co-founded. We're happy to have him on the blog discussing his e-commerce experience with our product.

Here's hoping Sam's answers convince other developers to try their hand at frontend-based e-commerce with our HTML/JS shopping cart!

The business

Less Effort is the creative brainchild of two friends—Sam and his co-founder. After meeting through riding bikes in the city, they soon realized they shared lots of common interests:

  • Skateboarding & BMX

  • Hip-hop music & culture

  • Art & design

  • Filming & photography

So in 2012, they decided to bundle these passions and express them through an independent streetwear collective. Less Effort was born, with a simple yet effective motto at its core: put less effort into the boring parts of life, and focus on being creative.

Snipcart integration: Technical interview with Sam

Do you have experience with e-commerce in general? If so, which tools have you been using the most in your workflows? Why?

I was always aware of services like Shopify and Big Cartel, but have never really needed to use them, and they seemed very restricted to themes and templates. I have previously freelanced at a specialist Magento agency, but found Magento to be a bit of a beast. So the first version of the Less Effort store was built with WooCommerce due to my usage of WordPress at the time. It’s a fine platform and worked well, but after a couple of years I wanted to get away from using Wordpress, so I built the site standalone in Kirby and then added Snipcart in less than 5 minutes.

How would you qualify the e-commerce needs Less Effort had for this project?

I was looking for a simple, lightweight store checkout. Ideally, one that could accept a couple different gateways and PayPal, but still have the power of abandoned carts, discount codes, etc. I wasn't keen on buying a package and then having to pay for extra add-ons individually.

There’s a plethora of solutions and tools to handle e-commerce projects. Why use Snipcart?

Snipcart's appeal seems to be in-between a self-hosted solution like Magento, where you need to have reasonable knowledge of the platform, and a full 3rd party solution X$ amount per month, with additional features at a cost. Snipcart gives you full control and a merchant dashboard, but hosting, security and processing are taken care of. If you are a developer, you can pretty much use it for whatever you require, as it’s powered by JavaScript.

Did you integrate our e-commerce solution on top of a specific CMS? If so, how did it go? And if not, what did you use?

Less Effort is built using Kirby CMS. The integration was simple: after studying the demo your team made available on GitHub, turning items into products was easy. Using Kirby's blueprints to control the products size and stock helped too. I also made a simple HTML size selector so you can select the size on the page rather than during the Snipcart checkout.

Did you rely much on our API & webhooks for this integration? If so, how did it go?

So far I have not implemented anything extra other than the store, but having webhooks is handy, and it’s great to have [tutorials]https://docs.snipcart.com/v3/tutorials) on the Snipcart blog about popular methods. I plan to implement some of them eventually!

Were our documentation & support helpful?

To be honest, the Kirby demo on GitHub explained it best for me. I prefer digging through an example first to understand how it works. There were a couple of small issues I came across which were solved after visiting the documentation page.

Did you get the chance to use some of our latest features on this project (inventory management, abandoned carts, email templates customization)? If so, how did it go?

Currently, we are still exploring all the features as we go. As mentioned, having these features available as Snipcart grows is great, rather than being extra costs per month.

What could we improve to make Snipcart an even better e-commerce solution for developers & merchants?

There are a couple things I thought would be nice extras, but then I discovered your former suggestions page and found other people needed the same features, which are being considered by Snipcart. It's also great to have a company taking direct feedback from its users and implementing features.

We invite you to go ahead and grab a piece in Less Effort's collection. You can also follow the collective on Facebook and Twitter for new products, promotions, and fresh content!

If you found this post interesting, take a second to share it on Twitter. It would mean a lot for all of us (Sam, his partner, and Snipcart). We'd also love to hear your thoughts and questions on the integration itself below!

About the author

François Lanthier Nadeau
CEO, Snipcart

Francois has worked in SaaS & digital marketing for over 7 years. He’s been published on Indie Hackers, The Startup, freeCodeCamp, Baremetrics, Wishpond, and Growth.org—among others. He’s spoken at 13+ startup and web development conferences in Canada, U.S.A., and Europe. He's been a vocal bootstrapping and Jamstack proponent for years.

Follow him on Twitter.

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