Turning to a full-fledged ecommerce platform is not always an option for some organizations, because this can turn out to be too expensive (with monthly payments and all,) and you may already have a website built and you'd rather expand that platform as opposed to transferring everything to a more cookie cutter system like Shopify or Bigcommerce.
And business owners are certainly fond of their offerings. WooCommerce, for instance, currently hosts more than 2 million online stores, while Magento and Shopify are both comfortably past the half a million users mark.
The bulk of the rest of the market is still taken up by ecommerce platforms with almost similar provisions. And the list is endless.
The common factor here? All platforms have been basically developed to eliminate developers by simplifying the whole process of building and managing an ecommerce store.
So far so good. Because let’s face it. Most online entrepreneurs hate coding. A few clicks, drags and drops over premade site templates feel so much better than staring at lines of code for hours. Come to think of it, ecommerce could never be simpler.
But, hang on right there. And imagine this. You’re expanding your standard static site into an extensively dynamic online store and these commerce platforms seem great at first. They are simple, pretty straightforward, and most importantly, super-fast.
But, here’s the thing. It’s impossible to run heavy backend code on these standard static sites. And that essentially limits your options, even on some of the seemingly adjustable platforms. Plus, you’re not really seeking to transfer everything to a rather costly ecommerce platform. You just want to expand an already built site to start selling.
At this point, you start to realize that although the platforms cater to the bulk of the market needs, they are quite limiting when it comes to existing sites. It’s either you’re completely in by migrating the entire site, or out of everything altogether.
Ok, I know what you’re thinking. And you’re dead right. A full migration provides much more than just expanding an existing site to start selling. But, what’s the point of it if you’ll be forced to pay for stuff you didn’t even need in the first place?
Now, that’s exactly why they created Snipcart and Shopify’s Buy Buttons.
We’ll be looking at the latter in detail sometime in the near future. For now, meet Snipcart.
Snipcart Reviews: Overview
Snipcart was fundamentally built for the same group that’s apparently being made redundant by most of the other ecommerce platforms. Yes, I’m talking about developers and web designers.
Instead of following the all-too-common trend of prioritizing on merchants’ needs, Snipcart is optimized for real developers and designers. With it, you can code your way to a custom ecommerce site, including converting a standard website into a full-fledged shop.
Well, let’s just say that its creators had this great idea of building an ecommerce solution that’s extremely customizable. Something that would grant developers full control over what they actually want to achieve. More like a frame without the nitty-gritty that might complicate things further.
And the best thing is? It doesn’t matter the platform your site is built on. Umbraco, Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, or any other cup of coffee, you name it. Snipcart can be implemented pretty much anywhere to transform your site into a selling machine.
Quite a unique approach here, to say the least. Admittedly, the Quebec-based team of hardcore geeks might have something remarkable on their hands.
So, let’s find out the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This Snipcart review covers everything you need to know about the solution- its features, functionalities, pricing, and overall usability.
Let’s fire away…
Snipcart Reviews: Features
If you expect to jump straight to a colorful set of prepared themes and templates, I’m sorry for bursting your bubble, but Snipcart is not a typical web building tool.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Although they don’t come embedded within the solution, you can have any website design you want. Instead of forcing you to conform to a specific theming system, Snipcart supports basic HTML and CSS. As a result, you’ll be able to adjust your site to your preferred theme.
The only problem here is the fact that you have to know your way around the HTML and CSS jungles. If you’ve figured that out, you’ll easily come up with an exceptionally unique theme specifically tailored to your overall branding.
The only section that applies a standard theme across the board is the actual shopping cart. And I must say that everything about it is simple, clean and ideally professional.
It should blend perfectly with any website.
By now, you must be wondering how the frontend HTML blends in with the backend to keep track of sales and manage inventory.
Right off the bat, you’ll realize that you don’t even have to bother yourself with product forms every time you add a new product. Snipcart principally comes with a crawler that walks through your entire website, picking up all the products automatically.
When you sign into your dashboard, all the items you had previously entered through the Add To Cart options are automatically generated into your account. This is where you edit all the information about your particular stock items.
Speaking of which, you’ll be pleased that you can add anything to the cart. And that means any single element in your site since all products are usually defined directly within a page’s HTML code. Consequently, introducing a buy button to any specific element is as basic as simply adjusting the HTML product attributes.
Each click on your product buy now buttons should launch a cart pop-up with all the checkout options.
Guess what? This alone should help you minimize the abandoned cart rate since shoppers will not be directed to third-party websites.
After checkout usually comes product shipping. Thankfully, Snipcart provides two principal options here. I’m especially fond of the first one, which is automatic and can be handled without further code definitions.
To leverage it, simply link your account with shipping companies like UPS and FedEx after adding items to the cart. Include information about the weight and size of the individual products then specify the shipping options offered.
That way, each product purchased by your shoppers is automatically assessed separately by calculating the total shipping expenses, before adding them to the final cost tally.
The second shipping option entails establishing different shipping rates according to the destination country. The system then generates shipping costs based on a shopper’s actual geographical position. This makes it easy to coordinate logistics over a wide geographical area.
Finally, you’ll need to track your overall sales progress in order to strategize accordingly. For this, Snipcart provides a powerful analytical engine, linked to all the products. Capitalizing on it should help you manage your store’s performance more accurately.
Now, one sure thing about making a sale is that it cannot be completed without a transaction plus the resultant payment. Well, this is another element that Snipcart is seemingly not shy about facilitating holistically.
The coolest thing, overall, is the fact that you can choose to eliminate all middlemen and have all payments deposited directly into your account. Your customers’ card details are processed instantly, funds are deducted from their end and subsequently directed to your account.
Sounds great. But, here’s the kicker. Not all shoppers would be comfortable with that payment system. That’s why, fortunately, Snipcart goes ahead to support third-party payment gateways like Paypal, Authorize.net, Stripe, NetBanx, PayMill, and Pin Payments.
What you choose to proceed with, of course, determines the countries your store will be able to sell to. That said, it’s worth noting that Snipcart supports a wide range of international currencies. The only catch is that the precise currencies you trade in should be accepted by your payment gateway.
On the downside, unfortunately, transactions don’t come free of charge. Snipcart is always keen to get a cut of the loot. So, expect them to apply a fee of 2.9% of the transaction value plus $0.30 after each payment.
But that’s not all. The service additionally calculates 2% of each sale and maintains a tally until the end of the month. At that point, the total sum calculated is deducted from your credit card as fees for using Snipcart.
Marketing and Conversion Rate Optimization
Marketing and the subsequent CRO strategies, of course, ultimately define the number and frequency of sales. So, feel free to draft solid plans with well-thought-out approaches and tactics.
But, make no mistake. Snipcart will not hold up your store when it comes to this. Its marketing and CRO options are quite limited.
SEO, for instance, despite being fundamentally critical to a business’ online presence, is not part of Snipcart’s features. It only comes with standard CRO provisions like product discounts, pop-ups, and single-page checkout.
What does this mean for your online store?
It actually shouldn’t worry you at all. If you’re a sharp business person, Snipcart’s shortcomings shouldn’t affect your marketing and CRO strategies in any way. Instead of relying on it, you should alternatively proceed with your underlying platform’s provisions. WordPress, for example, provides a wide array of plugins like Yoast for SEO.
Snipcart, thankfully, doesn’t take chances when it comes to data protection and security. Although it might not have the most sophisticated set of security features, it does quite a commendable job at safeguarding both site and customer data.
Through its SSL/HTTPS certificates, for instance, shoppers are adequately protected from the moment they access your site, all through the navigation procedures, until they finally buy and leave.
To supplement this, Snipcart has ensured that credit card details are not processed through its servers. All parties are therefore protected in the event of a server infiltration.
However, all things considered, the chances of such an occurrence are pretty slim. The service has implemented a monitoring system that persistently crawls within its servers and hosted websites to identify possible security vulnerabilities, and prevent potential hacks.
To manage and control third-party app access, users can define their own special secret API security keys.
Snipcart Reviews: Pricing
Snipcart is available in four principal plans depending on the type and size of your organization:
- Standard Plan: This is what the bulk of businesses choose to proceed with. In addition to unlimited linked domains and subdomains, some of the features it offers include unlimited physical/digital products and subscriptions, unlimited discount configurations, merchant dashboard, responsive email tech support, plus free development in test mode. Apart from the payment gateway fees, this plan costs 2% of the total monthly sales volume, or $10. The higher amount between the two is charged.
- I am Special Plan: Built for enterprises with special ecommerce needs, experimental projects, or seasonal sales. It comes with all the standard plan features but the price is negotiable.
- Non-Profit and School Plan: It avails all the standard provisions to schools and non-profit organizations, but Snipcart is lenient enough to drop the monthly charge to 1.5% of the total sales volume.
- Crowdfunding Plan: Snipcart is also fairly lenient when it comes to crowdfunded projects. The charges here don’t go any higher than 1.5% of the total sales volume for standard plan features.
- Unique Special Needs: This is reserved for enterprises with special requirements, which don’t exactly correspond to any of the other plans.
Who Should Consider Using Snipcart?
All in all, Snipcart is perfectly ideal for individuals and small businesses seeking to expand their standard websites to accommodate sales. But, you’ll be forced to hire a developer to handle all the coding.
However, when it comes to mid-sized and large businesses, Snipcart does not have the wide range of features it would take to sufficiently address their dynamic needs. Only the most developed full-fledged ecommerce platforms can afford to do so.
Overall, the Snipcart shopping cart tool is a beautiful option for more experienced developers who want to quickly implement a payment processing and shopping cart solution on an already existing website. As for beginners, this isn't an all-in-one ecommerce solution, so you'll be left with lots of work to do such as making your website, finding hosting and grabbing a theme.
If you have any experience working with Snipcart, let us know in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share any questions you may have.