Helm Publishing

Shopify with Learning Management System Integration

Meet Helm Publishing

For more than 30 years, Helm Publishing has been helping to connect health professionals with the nutrition-related continuing education courses, textbooks, and resources they need.

We first connected with the Helm Publishing team back in 2015, when they reached out looking for a new development partner for their website. Fast forward to today and we’re in our 7th year working with Helm as their development partner!

Helm Publishing's Website Journey

  • 2015: Magento 1 Refinement

    We started our partnership working with their existing Magento 1 website and clearing up a list of backlog items detailing changes. At the time, they wanted to keep the Magento platform but streamline the user experience and configure their website to be mobile responsive so users could peruse their textbooks and online courses while on the go. 

  • 2018: Migration to Magento 2 Open Source

    In 2018, we helped migrate Helm Publishing to the open source version of Magento 2, partnering with Design Hovie Studios to revamp the theme. 

    A key aspect of their website is its integration with the Litmos Learning Management System. We developed the integration with Litmos, so when new customers purchased a continuing education class, they were able to login and proceed to the Litmos system to complete their certification.

2021: Enter Shopify

Being on Magento Open Source comes with some additional costs to maintain, host, and fully support the system. The Helm Publishing team was curious what they’d potentially gain — and lose — by moving to Shopify (what is perceived as a simpler ecommerce platform), so we began with a scoping phase.

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  • During scoping, we worked closely with the Helm Publishing team to answer questions about migrating from Magento Open Source to Shopify and found that there were some real positives in what they’d be able to accomplish with the move:

    • Full migration of products, customers, and prior order history.
    • Eliminate WordPress by using the blog features in Shopify.
    • Replace three individual system platforms (Sucuri WAF, Nexcess Hosting & Pantheon Hosting) with Shopify — an 87% reduction in those monthly costs. 
    • Keep their existing responsive theme, which they were happy with, by leveraging the minimalist theme as a starting point and adapting it to match their previous Magento site.
    • Replicate the grouped product functionality.
    • Replicate the custom-built Magento dropdown catalog filtering with Shopify’s native filters.
    • Securely store practitioner’s license numbers with their accounts (and use that information with Litmos).

Litmos Learning Management System & Shopify Integration

The big question was if the integration with Litmos could be retained. In order to answer this question, we prototyped the implementation during the planning phase for the project. This allowed us to move past the plan on paper, and work with the code needed to integrate Shopify and Litmos.

We ended up developing a custom Litmos/Shopify connector application using webhooks to handle passing data to litmos. The Litmos integration utilizes a series of tags on both the Customer, Products, and Orders to communicate status. A customer is not added to Litmos until they purchase a course that includes online testing. If the customer signs up with an email address that has a registered Litmos account, it will automatically be linked to their Shopify Customer account.  

The new Helm Publishing Shopify website launched in early June 2021, in time for their new season and marketing campaigns to begin.