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LAMP stack to Webflow eCommerce

The company I work for currently has an old non-responsive PHP, Apache, MySQL ecommerce website. It works great and we have a lot of customizations specific to what we sell and especially how we ship our products. Think of us like a PC builder. We are the kind of company that could use a product configurator for instance.

We ship both full kits and parts from ourselves, and our suppliers as part of an order, so we have special shipping rules and negotiated rates with carriers. For example, a kit can be a combination of shipping parts from our HQ and other parts from a partner, including combinations of parcel and freight. We have our own shipping calculator on our side that encapsulates all these rules including packaging, specific carriers, and negotiated rates.

Interestingly our sales have not been impacted by this old site, but naturally we want to overhaul the presentation for responsive devices of all kinds. Needless to say I’m very intrigued by Webflow to make that task easier.

Naturally we have a lot invested in our current system, its database, and a ton of front end custom code, so it’s unlikely we would or could shift all that logic into another ecommerce or CMS platform unless integration was comprehensive. We also don’t really have time to learn a more modern PHP framework such as Laravel or Symfony at this time, so we need to keep our integration as simple PHP as possible.

The fact is that our current code base gets the job done and is very easy to understand and maintain. Yes, its far behind the modern PHP framework technology curve (and that is something we want to address), but all we really need right now is a responsive front end that we can easily integrate with without being technically constrained.

I’m not opposed to using Webflows CMS or eCommerce, but I worry greatly about how easily we can integrate with it and integrate all our customizations to shipping estimation, taxes, and the cart management. We cannot afford to be handcuffed by the platform or by having to use paid apps because not all of the integrations are there.

So what am I asking? I’m wondering if we paid for a Webflow subscription that allowed us to export the code from a decent ecommerce template, how difficult would it be to replace the relevant CMS stubs with calls to our own code and functions, at our basic PHP level of tech based around an older osCommerce platform?

How does someone like us get there and be able to use Webflow’s awesome design tools?

All the best.

Hey Tim!

If you plan on building a front-end design in Webflow and then exporting the code to be implemented with your current backend stack I would say that is very doable. The code generated by Webflow is clean and well structured. Therefore integrating it with your current stack should be very straight forward.

However If you on want to use the Webflow cms to cover all your current functionality I think that will be difficult. You are quite limited inside the webflow e-commerce module since it’s so new.

Would love to know how you decide to solve this!

Thanks for the reply Felix. You may be the kind of someone we need to partner with to guide us on getting through an integration. Would that be something you would be interested in?

For now, can you elaborate on how straight forward it might be to integrate with some key pieces of Webflow? I should probably just spring for whatever minimal account gives us the ability to export code and look for myself, but I’d like to get your thoughts if you have time.

Naturally first order of business is we would need to be able to pull categories, products, options etc from our current backend system. On a simplistic level, I would assume we could develop with the Webflow CMS, export the code, and then substitute our own library to connect with our database / functions or is that not really possible?

More complex needs are pulling shipping rates and options from our backend shipping system, which may include asking the user questions such as do they have access to a forklift.

We could simply make our current site responsive, but I’d like to make that more convenient to edit, and so I’m exploring Webflow, however integration has to be really easy to implement.

I’m very interested to get your thoughts. All the best.

yeah making the current site responsive is definetly the easiest option. But if you want to hop on a call I would gladly discuss the topic a bit. Maybe we can find a better solution. What time zone are you in?