How to Sell Snipcart to Non-Technical Users

Generally speaking, developers dig Snipcart. It's a technical, clean and customizable e-commerce solution. When I exchange emails with developers, I don't usually have to sell them Snipcart: I link to our documentation and/or a few techie blog posts and most of the job is done. By reading our code and looking at integration demos, they can see for themselves how good an e-commerce option our cart really is.


Unfortunately, this smooth communication phenomenon doesn't happen as much when non-technical individuals stumble upon Snipcart. And we're cool with that: we knowingly built our product as a developer-centric shopping cart, and we're proud of the results thus far. However, we're also aware that many developers work in environments where they don't necessarily make all of the decisions. Freelancers and in-house developers, for instance, need to be able to justify the use of Snipcart for an e-commerce project to merchants (their bosses/clients). Same goes for web development shops looking to use it for client projects.

So, a few days ago, we huddled up in our new conference room. The objective was to pinpoint the most effective Snipcart selling points for non-technical users. It just so happens that, a few weeks back, we collected a whole lot of valuable feedback from ou active users. Needless to say this data was really helpful when it came to crafting this post.

Fellow developers, freelancers and all-around nice guys: if you need to sell Snipcart to someone who feels like he's in the Matrix when he looks at your screens, this post is for you.

1. Vulgarize

Your project manager is busy. Your director of production is busy. Your store owner is busy. Your client is busy. Everybody's busy. So you need to break Snipcart down by focusing on what matters to them. Explaining the inner workings of JavaScript won't cut it, and probably isn't worth it at this point. Your "salesman" job will primarily be to turn technical features into tangible benefits.

So, what is it that really matters to them?

Time = $

Since Snipcart is directly injected inside a website's code using pure HTML/JS, the shopping cart integration can be done very quickly. Maybe compare this with installing Google Analytics' JS snippet?

Scenario 1: the client already has a website

If the client already has a website he wants to keep, you won't have to build a second online store replicating the existing product lists. All of these static products can become transactional by tagging a few simple product attributes on any links on a given page. You also won't have to ditch the actual website/CMS, like many fully hosted solutions would have you do.

So just tell him: "We won't have to develop a new website."

Scenario 2: the client doesn't have a website yet

Say your client is just launching his online presence, or simply redesigning an outdated site. If you use Snipcart for the e-commerce part (third party app), you'll be able to work with the tools and CMS you know and master (more on that later). You'll be able to work faster, and integrate e-commerce quickly once you're done.

The equations are pretty straightforward in both scenarios:

Time = money

Less development time = more client money

Freedom = :)

Scenario 1: the client already has a website

Our HTML/JS shopping cart can be integrated with any CMS out there, as long as you have access to the source code. So if the client already has a website he's pleased with, you won't have to introduce him to another technology/platform. This means less friction on his side, and no technological learning curve to climb. Using our webhooks and API, you can even fetch and manage plenty of Snipcart related data directly inside any CMS.

Scenario 2: the client doesn't have a website yet

Be honest about it: you prefer using the tools you know and master, in order to produce calculated and effective results for the client. By using Snipcart, you won't have to dive into any other closed ecosystem like Magento, for instance. By separating the marketing website from the e-commerce, you eliminate the need to be locked into one platform. The site's CMS can be changed at any point in the future. The e-commerce will follow seamlessly since Snipcart acts as an extension of the CMS. In other words, you will avoid future migration costs and pains.

The equations here?

Your favorite tools = good client website

CMS-independent e-commerce = future proof

Customization = ∞

This feature has pretty much the same benefits whether your client already has a website live or not. Snipcart's appearance is entirely malleable: our modal cart's CSS can easily be overridden with your own styles. With a few lines of CSS, you can make our pop-up shopping cart match your website's colors and branding. For the client, this means you can adapt Snipcart's look and feel to the existing online brand experience. Oh, and all this, without ever letting the customer leave the website. You won't have to deal with ugly checkout pages clashing with the overall shopping experience, boosting the churn rates.

(Scroll down to the 2. Show section for cart customization examples)

Pricing = scalable

A quick word on pricing: we know some clients may find our 2% monthly fee (which includes a 10$ minimal monthly fee) scary. However, it always depends on how it's presented. First, tell them that once they reach 500$ in monthly sales, they won't have to bother with the minimal monthly fee at all (500 * 2% = 10$). And if the 10$ really seems like a major pain point for them, you can always tell them why we set it up this way: to allow our small team to provide stellar support to all of our users, whether they sell for 100$ or 100 000$ a month.

Also, it would be in your client's interest (and yours) to mention our specific high-volume pricing. When actual or projected sales reach a certain point, we are opened to discussing a flat fee with merchants via email or video call. We've done it before, and we'll keep doing it when it makes sense. Certain business models just can't scale with a percentage fee, and we know it.

2. Show

Once you've vulgarized the product's features into tangible benefits for the client, you should go ahead and show them the product. But you'll need to show something to which they can relate, so no code. Here's a list of everything you should actually take the time to show your client:

The cart and the checkout flow

You can go to and hit the Buy bacon button in the first slide. It'll make our modal cart pop. It's already quite nice-looking and fits with many minimalistic or simple designs. While you're at it, show them the checkout flow. Complete a full dummy transaction in our demo cart so they see what easy steps their customers will go through when shopping on their site. Plus, they'll get a feel of the custom email invoices we automatically send customers.

Other carts: CSS variations

Social (and visual) proof may go a long way in the selling process. Here's a small list of interesting customers we have that have skinned the cart in different ways. As you'll see, the last one is a prime example of how deep you can push the CSS customization.

Just find the buy/add to cart buttons on the pages linked below to make our cart pop.

Sackwear > Selling clothing apparel

Predator Helmets > Selling skateboarding helmets

Locomotive Audio > Selling high-end audio equipment

eCool > Selling underground beer coolers

Lighthouse Roasters > Selling quality coffee

Gratuitous Type > Selling type magazines (Hit the little hand at the bottom, next to QTY)

The merchant dashboard

By hitting the Sign up button on the top right corner of our website, you'll create an account and gain access to the merchant dashboard. Don't worry, it's free; no credit card needed, etc. From there, you can walk your client through the nice e-commerce features he'll be able to use:

  • Chronological sales and orders analytics
  • Comprehensive list of orders and customers
  • Discounts management panel
  • Technical and account settings



I think this covers the basic features/benefits relations when it comes to selling Snipcart to non-technical users. Of course, there are hundreds of different use cases and e-commerce needs for merchants. I'll probably dive into more advanced use cases/selling scenarios in the upcoming weeks. For instance: how to leverage our API & webhooks to create better e-commerce experiences.

We created Snipcart because we were hurting as developers. Whether it was with hosted solutions, plugins or custom development, adding a customized shopping cart to an existing website was never an efficient project. Now it can be just that, thanks to all the developers who've trusted us and enabled e-commerce on awesome websites all over the world.

If you've enjoyed the post, please, take a second and share it on Twitter. Questions, comments, suggestions? Go ahead and hit the comments, friend!

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