Snipcart e-commerce layer quick review
Another quick review style article 🤡
This time, talking on Snipcart I just started to implement in a project.
In the last article, I wrote about building an e-commerce website using Next.js + Strapi. I just quicky mentionned having used Snipcart as headless e-commerce but didn't say much about it because I didn't really experimented it at this time.
Snipcart was on my radar since a few years and this small fashion site was the perfect opportunity to see how it fits. There's dozen of available options regarding e-commerce tools but I wanted something that would represent the easiest and lightweight integration as I wanted to focus on the content management part above all, which is represented by Strapi.
Snipcart offload all the complexity of the e-commerce logic, and get with an out-of-the-box UI to proceed transactions without frictions.
This UI takes the form of an overlay panel containing all the visual blocks we would need otherwise (a.k.a: summary cart, order form, payment gateway, "thank-you" screens, user account dashboard and so on).
This overlay is triggered by any event you decide, the most common is the "add-to-cart" button.
Almost zero additionnal code
Before hand, we have to inject the CDN Snipcart script (with proper API key) + the CSS layer, at the application level (the app.js file)
Then, making a product purchasable through Snipcart is just a matter of adding classes and attributes to one HTML tag: the add-to-cart button. Below is an extracted piece of code I used:
Add to cart
The snipcart-add-item class is provided by Snipcart and therefore is the key element to make your product a Snipcart purchasable item.
The other attributes are self-explanatory and provide necessary informations to handle a proper transaction.
And that's it for the front-end part! 🚀
The remaning work will be essentially setting up our Snipcart account on their hosted platform.
As always, some struggles here and there
Security order validations
Because obviously someone may point out that setting price through attribute seems unsecure, Snipcart has a highly effective communication regarding security, and how they manage it through a server-side check.
For this reason, we CANNOT change a product price dynamically using a simple JS data binding.
We have to leverage some specific data-options attributes that Snipcart uses to recalculate the price based on the original one.
I didn't get this immediatly and lost a tremendous amount of time dealing with validations errors after altering the price directly. 😤
Authorized domains (with Vercel)
Another annoying thing at firt is setting up Snipcart authorized domain to allow validations. As any Vercel user, my deployment workflow is based on a Git CI pipeline that leverage branch deploys with auto-generated subdomains.
Snipcart interface ask you to fill-in these subdomains as authorized. So I had to set a stable Vercel branch domain to avoid updating branch deploy domains anytime I want to check the order in production.
All Snipcart features
It's just a really sneak pick of what Snipcart offers out-of-the-box and I just barely scratch the surface.
Here are some key features that should fit with most e-commerce projects:
- Clean UI (both front-end widgets and management platform)
- Fully customizable front-end widgets
- Live/tests modes
- Numerous payment gateways
- Already set transactionnal emails routing + customizables templates
- Clean customers database
- Manageable product stocks
- Very affordable pricing policy
- Internationalization and so on...
I didn't intend to make a giant Snipcart advertising with this article, but I should say I'm more than happy with it so far, and how easily it was to integrate it in my front-end.