Case Study
Dec 30, 2023

Shutterfly eCommerce Case Study and How to Start a Look-Alike Marketplace

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Shutterfly is a company that specializes in personalized photo products such as custom photo books, prints, cards, and gifts. If you wanna kick off a look-alike eCommerce business in a marketplace model, then Vendo's your go-to. It makes everything super simple, so you can start selling a bunch of cool products from really great brands in no time.

Vendo streamlines the process of establishing a prosperous eCommerce marketplace, providing access to a diverse range of products from domestic brands. With Vendo taking care of inventory and shipping logistics, you can concentrate on delivering outstanding customer service while efficiently launching and managing your marketplace, all while keeping your main focus on what matters most – your customers.


Vendo is also a one-stop-shop for all your marketplace needs, providing you with a marketplace platform automating day-to-day operation, a catalog of brands to pick from or an ability to invite your own brands, merchandising and promotional tools, ability to sell through multiple channels (your existing website, emails & SMS, mobile app, social media), and ongoing daily support scaling your marketplace business.   

Shutterfly Ecommerce Triumph in a Nutshell

Introduction to Shutterfly

Shutterfly stands as a beacon in the realm of personalized products and services, catering to a diverse clientele across the USA, Canada, and Europe. With its roots stretching back to its founding by Christopher North and Eva Manolis on September 1, 1999, in Redwood City, California, Shutterfly has evolved into a multifaceted platform. It operates through three principal segments: Shutterfly Consumer, Lifetouch, and Shutterfly Business Solutions, each offering unique services and products that cater to a variety of needs and preferences.

Product and Categories

  • Personalized Photo Products:
    Shutterfly  is the heart of personalization, turning ordinary items into extraordinary keepsakes. This segment specializes in a range of custom-made products designed to bring personal memories to life.
  • Custom Photo Books: Crafted with care, these books are a compilation of your memories, tailored to tell your unique story.
  • Prints & Cards: From holiday greetings to everyday notes, these personalized cards and prints make every message more special.
  • Personalized Gifts: Dive into a world of custom-made mugs, ornaments, candles, pillows, and blankets, each item waiting to be imprinted with your favorite photos and designs.
  • Photography Services:
    Under the Lifetouch banner, Shutterfly extends its services beyond the digital realm into the personal touch of professional photography.
  • Schools and Preschools: Capturing milestones and everyday school moments with professional quality.
  • Retail and Groups: Collaborating with retail stores and groups to offer tailored photography solutions, including partnerships with studios like JCPenney.
  • Business Solutions:
    Shutterfly is where creativity meets commerce, offering innovative solutions for direct marketing and communication.
  • Direct Marketing: Engaging end-consumers with personalized, direct communication strategies that capture attention and deliver messages effectively.
  • Inventory-Free Printing: Embracing the efficiency of just-in-time printing services, Shutterfly ensures that every print is as fresh as the idea behind it, minimizing waste and maximizing relevance.

Shutterfly continues to redefine the landscape of personalized products and services, offering an extensive range of options that cater to personal preferences, professional needs, and everything in between. With a commitment to quality, creativity, and customer satisfaction, Shutterfly remains a cherished platform for those looking to add a personal touch to their memories, moments, and messages. Whether it's preserving personal memories, capturing life's milestones through photography, or enhancing business communication, Shutterfly provides the tools and services to make every moment memorable and every message personal.

Key Success Factors for Your Ecommerce Business

  • Diverse Product Offerings: Provide a wide range of personalized products and services to cater to diverse customer needs, similar to Shutterfly's extensive portfolio.
  • Strong Brand Identity: Build a recognizable and trusted brand identity, as Shutterfly has done over the years.
  • Quality and Customization: Focus on product quality and the ability to customize items, enhancing the personal touch for customers.
  • Photography Services: If applicable, offer specialized services like photography for schools and retail, creating additional revenue streams.
  • Efficient Operations: Streamline operations for just-in-time and inventory-free printing, ensuring cost-efficiency.
  • Customer-Centric Approach: Prioritize outstanding customer service, making it easy for customers to order and receive their personalized products.
  • Online Rental Services: If relevant, consider offering rental services, expanding your revenue potential.
  • Market Expansion: Explore opportunities to expand your market reach, potentially entering new regions or markets.
  • Founders' Vision: Stay true to your founders' vision and mission, as Christopher North and Eva Manolis did when they founded Shutterfly in 1999.
  • Innovation: Embrace technology and innovation to continually enhance your product offerings and customer experience.

By applying these success factors, you can increase your chances of replicating Shutterfly's ecommerce success while tailoring them to your unique business and industry.

Get started with a look-alike marketplace like Shutterfly on Vendo!


  • Book a demo call: We’ll set you up with a demo marketplace 
  • Customize your Storefront: We’ll help you craft an on-brand shopping UX 
  • Onboard Brands: Pick from the Vendo brand catalog. Or invite your own.
  • Select Products: Curate product collections manually or automate it.
  • Embed products: Make your editorial content and newsletters shoppable 
  • Get Paid: Get paid as soon as products are shipped by the brands. 
  • Get Repeat Sales: Keep your customer relationship, emails, order history


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