Matcha Passion's Fast Shopping Cart Integration on an HTML Template

For this case study, we interview Pascal Lapointe, a self-taught developer & entrepreneur from Montréal, Canada.

Pascal has been creating personal and small business websites since he was 10. He’s also done quite a few e-commerce projects and has a knack for health and fitness projects. He picked Snipcart to power his latest online venture, Matcha Passion, and was kind enough to tell us a bit about his experience with it.

I hope his answers inspire other developers to play with Snipcart and explore its flexibility through unique e-commerce projects!

The business

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A few months ago, Pascal and his girlfriend were strolling through downtown Montréal, looking for a quality tea that could replace coffee. After visiting a few of the popular spots (David’s Tea, Teavana), they quickly found out that matcha was the versatile, healthy holy grail they were after. However, they were shocked to find that a mere 30g of non-organic matcha would set them back around 20 bucks. Wishing to bypass the visibly costly middlemen, they started looking at importing it themselves. They realized they could offer better quality, 100% organic matcha for same or lower prices than the big players. So they rolled up their sleeves, and quickly put together their own—and pretty neat—online business.

Snipcart integration: Technical interview with Pascal

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

Yes, I’ve been building e-commerce websites for about 5 years now. I’ve been traditionally using WooCommerce for its flexibility and its huge user base. It also had thousands of plugins that could let you create pretty much anything you wanted. I’ve also used BigCommerce and Shopify, and although it’s a good solution for many people, it was not for me. It was too limited in its design and coding flexibility, and also, in most cases, I was stuck with a monthly bill that I had to pay regardless if I sold something or not.

How would you qualify the e-commerce needs Matcha Passion had for this project?

Matcha Passion needed an easy, highly flexible, high performance, and lightweight e-commerce solution. I started looking for lightweight solutions and found many of them, but some were just too basic. We needed something to handle a complex tax system for Canada, integrated shipping, management system and metrics to measure our performance to make it more cost effective. Luckily for us, after searching on Google and playing around with keywords, I was able to find Snipcart and I’ve been using it ever since.

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

Snipcart is just “simple.” There are no huge databases to create and manage that could break at any time if you made some PHP changes to the system, causing some downtime and headaches for everybody. But also because Snipcart is a 30-second installation, and I can work with what I know best: HTML and CSS. No need to learn PHP, SQL and advanced JS (simple JS understanding will do). Since it doesn’t require a database, constant PHP calls, and a complex templating system, the performance is outstanding. And I’m a performance freak, I like when things load quickly, and Snipcart has delivered on that point.

I also went with Snipcart because of how simple and easy it is to have a multilingual website. All you need to do is change the language in the <html lang="en"> to whatever language you want. In my case, French.

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?

I integrated it with an HTML template that I created. The integration itself was not very difficult because all I had to do was add Snipcart’s CSS and JS. The rest was just designing the template itself.

How was your experience customizing Snipcart’s look and feel for Matcha Passion?

It was a great experience, without having to do too much. With the help of the documentation, I was able to fully customize the look of the cart. I find this always very important to make the experience seamless and not make it look like you’re using a completely different system outside of the website that could compromise security. I think I did a good job at achieving that. All I had to do was override the current CSS with my own using Safari’s developer tools to identify which instances to replace.

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

I did not get a chance to use the webhooks yet, but I’m sure I will have the need for it in the future. I will be definitely looking at how to create gift cards and sell them on Matcha Passion using Snipcart’s webhooks.

Were our documentation & support helpful?

Yes, the documentation did a good job at explaining the basic functionality of the system and covered some more advanced customizing features. For more advanced questions, I was able to count on their email support, which was fast and helpful.

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?

I did not get a chance to use the inventory management system yet, but it will definitely be used in the near future. I’ve been using abandoned carts and I find it’s a great functionality allowing you to offer a discount to the customer or give them details on a promotion to try and convert them into clients. I think it’s a must for every e-commerce solution. As for the email templates, that’s a fantastic feature and a must; the templating system is relatively easy to learn, and you are basically able to erase the whole “default” template from Snipcart and create it the way you want, which is amazing.

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

I would try to make the documentation a bit more complete for advanced customizations and create some scenarios of add-ons you could do for Snipcart. I would really like to see your own documentation for the new template system you are using for the emails, as the Handlebars.js documentation is quite confusing and doesn’t necessarily apply to Snipcart.


We invite you to go ahead and grab some healthy matcha from the store! Snipcart readers get a 15% discount on the total order with the promo code SNIPCART15 valid until December 31st 2016. Follow Matcha Passion on Facebook for new product launches & promotions. :)

If you found this post interesting, take a second to share it on Twitter. It would mean a lot for all of us (Pascal, Matcha Passion, and Snipcart). We'd also love to hear your thoughts/questions in the comments on the integration itself.

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