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Knack: No-Code Application Development Platform
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Knack: No-Code Application Development Platform
Track current inventory by managing shipments and orders.
Retain customers by offering a self-serve portal.


John Katez turned to Knack for a comprehensive E-Commerce solution that could scale with his fast-growing company.


When you have “robot” in your name you know that automation and reliability are going to be major areas of focus.

For John Katez, that is exactly how he built SwagRobot, his customized apparel company. He makes it as simple as possible to order custom swag like pins, lanyards, and keychains branded with a company logo or design.

John has crafted a concise order management system and has plugged in multiple software solutions over the years to keep it running smoothly. These swag “bots” range from popular services like Wufoo for order collection to good old fashioned email for delivering proofs back and forth.

Each of these solutions may have been ideal for a specific feature, but managing similar data across so many systems made it almost impossible to scale or create efficiencies.

With the business growing rapidly we needed to scale our operations,” John explained. “The mixture of services that we were using could not accommodate this growth while allowing for a customizable solution geared toward our needs.

John knew he needed a service that was customizable and could effectively manage his entire order process, including E-Commerce.

Fortunately John found Knack, and the release of our recent E-Commerce features was timed perfectly to enable him to build a comprehensive order management system.

Building a comprehensive customer portal

A Google search for “custom online database” led John to Knack. He quickly picked it up and began combining his different software solutions into a comprehensive application.

He first designed his online database to manage his customer and order data. He then added specific features that would all share this data and help manage his order process from start to finish.

A Centralized Customer Portal

Knack allowed John to create a centralized Customer Portal that manages the complete order process.

New customers can register for instant access and returning customers can login:

Customers then have access to their project dashboard, where they can quickly get a summary of their current activities:

From here the customer can create an order, view pricing, authorize proofs and pay for their order all in one custom application.

This means the customer has a seamless experience from start to finish. This reduces order friction and support issues, and makes repeat orders easier.

Easy Order Flow

This customer portal also allowed John to improve the order flow.

One of the biggest headaches before Knack was the process of sharing and approving proofs prior to going to production. They had to email proofs back and forth with the customer, then authorize changes or approvals, and then finally assign the approved order to production.

This quickly turned into a big mess, as John describes: “We were emailing proofs one after the other and customers would have to search their email to splice together a version history of each updated proof.”

With Knack, John and his team can now upload proofs through the portal and allow the customers to view ALL proofs related to their project:

Customers receive email alerts when a proof is added to their dashboard. They can also easily request changes for any proofs right in the portal:

The Knack customer portal removed John’s biggest headache.

“By introducing the portal option using Knack, our communication time is greatly reduced and customers have easy access to all proofs without having to dig through email,” John explained.

Custom Pricing

Another big limitation of John’s old system was handling custom pricing. There was no flexibility to change pricing for a specific customer. This is particularly important with volume pricing.

Knack is flexible enough to allow for this type of customization, and John now adds custom pricing to each product on a per-customer basis.

This was an immediate win: “With our old system, we had to create invoices with a third party solution which could not account for customer specific pricing. Now we have automated customer pricing built right in with no further work necessary. Knack makes this type of customization easy.”


The final piece of the customer portal is paying for the order. Before Knack this involved sending a request to a Quickbooks invoice and then using Stripe to make payments.

With Knack’s new E-Commerce features, this ended up being a simple addition that plugged in seamlessly with the rest of the customer portal:

Customers can pay online with a credit card or PayPal and Knack handles the checkout and updates the database.

“We associate a price with a customer’s project and show them that price in a form, and allow them to pay via Paypal or Credit Card”, John explains. “This completes the customer journey and make our lives and our customers’ so much easier!”

Bottom Line

The implementation of Knack was quick and easy for John. While his database application continues to evolve, he had his initial database up and running in a matter of days.

John has been extremely happy that customers can now create an order, see their special pricing, authorize proofs, and pay for their order all in one custom application.

While the cost and time savings are significant, ultimately the seamless customer experience that Knack has enabled has proven to be the biggest winner:

Knack has drastically improved our workflow and our customers’ experience! Our customers can view proofs, approve orders and even pay their invoices through the portal. We even have automated customer pricing. It’s a complete customer solution.

John is now looking at what other areas of his business he can improve with Knack. His future plans include additional portal features for SwagRobot staff and manufacturers to login and work with the customer and order data.