Ecommerce Case Study


As e-commerce has become popular option for businesses and individuals to sell their goods, I have seen first hand what can happen when an inexperienced marketer tries to build a website for their customers. In this case study, I am going to share with you an experience where I took an ecommerce site that, after six months, was still broke, and had a fully functional site in exactly 1 day.

Late last year, I got a call from a friend of a friend. He heard I knew how to build e-commerce websites and his girlfriend was in near tears. It seems someone had been building her e-commerce website for close to 6 months and it still wasn’t working. The developer she had hired had disappeared and wasn’t answering phone calls and she needed this site for her business. I told him I would see what I could find out.

After getting access to the website, I noticed something I see to often. The site had errors all over the place, any bit of changes was created using plugins where simple HTML would have been just fine. I think there were 20 plugins installed. It was on cheap hosting and unfortunately, was made using wordpress instead of a dedicated shopping cart.

As I tested the site, I found she was having PayPal IPN issues. IPN (Instant Payment Notification) is an alert PayPal sends back to your cart to let it know it processed a payment. I am seeing these issues pop up more often with cheap hosting providers that have weird firewall or PHP setting.

I tried to give her some instructions to fix it but she didn’t even have access to the hosting account anymore.

Shopify to the Rescue

She was on the verge of quitting and I wanted to help my friend out. So what I did, was set up a quick and dirty Shopify website that matched pretty close to what she was doing with the old site. I asked her if she liked it and wanted to use it, and she was ecstatic. After downloading the product listing from her current website, I formatted it, uploaded it into her new shopping cart and in less than two hours she had a fully functional e-commerce site ready to go.


All that was left was to have her graphic design person make a couple new banners, a seamless pattern for a background, and the look and feel was done. I instructed her on pointing her domain at the new shopping cart, had her sign up for Shopify Payments and in 1 day, she had a fully functional shopping cart.


And this is not an exaggeration. It actually took  longer for the domain to be moved to the new shopping cart than to actually build it since it can take up to 48 hours for domain moves to resolve.


It was cheaper too

The irony was, it ended up being cheaper than what she would pay for her other website.

WooCommerce Site:

Hosting: $10

PayPal Pro: $30

SSL: $5/month

Total:  $45/month


Monthly Fee: $29

Shopify Payments: Free

SSL:  Free

Total: $29




As you can see, the look and feel is very  similar so you are not losing anything when you want a particular look and feel.


More time to market!

Even better, instead of having to go in weekly and make updates to the website, she can concentrate on marketing since Shopify handled all the updates, patches and downtime.


Now, I was able to do her site this quick for a variety of reasons. The first, she had already created her product listings, category structure and most pages like an About Us and Contact Us so all I had to do was copy and paste. Second, I knew a cart that was easy yet full featured. Because I had worked with it before, it was easy for me navigate the back end.


If you would like to get your website up in as little as one day, then go ahead and take my CartPrep course.



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