A solution to the eCommerce problem.
Skip this huge thread, go here and vote:
Okay, this has been a pain in everyone's side for months now. Here's the history:
1) everyone wants to sell something on their site, sites that make money are great.
2) there's no eCommerce support in concrete5
3) everyone's integrating 3rd party apps to try to solve the problem, including us.
4) we actually have a shopping cart (as you can tell from this site) and a lot of eCommerce "bits" they're just not packaged together into an app we can shrinkwrap and sell in the marketplace.
5) using a 3rd party solution is always tricky when it isn't a simple integration path. Case in point; picnik in 5.3 - love it. It's great at what it does, and we only need to use it when we have a single image and we want a single image back. Integration, while not being simple and did involve some custom deals .. was worthwhile and nice for the end user. You get power, you're not losing anything but a little of your soul as you look at their banners.
The problem with ecommerce is integration happens everywhere. Its not just sharing users and calling it done. You want search to work across everything. You want to be able to place products anywhere throughout the site. You want to be able to use the stuff were coming out with now like reviews and image galleries in unique and compelling ways with your store.. Not just skin your store to kinda match your cms... any way you slice it, that's as good as it gets with integrating a disperate cms and ecommerce solution.
Some of you may remember we're working on a magento integration.. whelp we stillll are.. hundreds of hours in, brutal. Yes, we have it so if you make a user on one side it will make it on another, and yes we have a product block on the concrete5 site that can pull data from magento - but it's a nightmare setting it up, and even with these "integration" tools, you're going to need to be a programmer and have some time to make a meaningful site. We'll end up using magento for categories, product details, and cart, but concrete5 for most everything else.. painful.. certainly not something i can pack up in the marketplace and say "this is awesome"
we come back to the "ecommerce lite" option we have always been thinking about in the background, but what if it was not so 'lite' but rather compared favorably against 80% of what else is out there.. (magento is a bit of a woolly mammoth when it comes to a feature set, but foxy cart certainly isn't, nor is zen or dozens of others i hear about)
So chew on this feature set for a second:
What it will do:
* Product Block
o Add anywhere and either create new or pick from centralized list
o Configurable using same custom attributes as everything else in concrete5
o Flat rate shipping rate or use weight
o Downloadable purchase.
o Put user in group on purchase.
o Inventory count
* Search extensions
o Search block can limit results by product specific custom attributes.
o Page list template for making category pages.
o Tag block to handle cross linking categories based on product attributes
* Backend Products
o Product List
o Searchable, add new.
o Shows all detail info, also placement urls throughout site.
o Export to csv/xml
* Backend Misc
o Tax rates - percentage definable by state or country.
o Coupons - restrict to groups, products, time period. Include percent off, fixed amount off, free shipping, by X get Y free.
o Shipping options - compute against USPS, UPS, FedEx
o eMail & RSS notification or orders
o Low stock report
* Orders List
o Searchable, sortable.
o Export to csv/xml
o Shows total sales.
o limit by date range
o links to customer records
o Change quantities, apply coupon, see current total.
o Different billing and shipping address.
o Prepopulate addresses with user profile data if available.
o Configurable to create account for user or not.
o Uses Paypal and 1 example gateway (authorize.net?)
o My Account shows past orders
o Track addresses
o Save a cart as a wishlist
Stuff we’re not going to worry about:
* Multiple currencies/countries in a single site.
* Complex multi-tier pricing
* Complex tax and shipping
* Advanced reporting (abandoned carts, tax reports, etc)
Here's where it gets particularly interesting.. If I can get a certain number of people to tell me "Oh yes, I would buy that if you had it, and I would pay X over and over for it happily" I may actually be able to raise money to get this built. It's going to take a real effort to get right, so I'm not comfortable just banging it out and seeing if anyone will pay $55 for it (thanks calendar customers!) That being said, this would be an interesting way to engage some potential investors who I frankly don't want to deal with on an equity level. Let me explain...
Traditionally, a group like ours would have already found some angel investors or quickly be looking for them now. Angel investors traditionally have liquid assets of over a million dollars, but they're not venture capitalists. They don't want to put 20 million into the next youtube, they want to put 1m into some place like us. Then we go out and provide better support, better docs, and less punky upgrade paths, less cranky CEO's on forums. Hunky dory. The problem is two fold: 1) folks with a couple hundred grand to spare have gone quiet since September. 2) I'm a motley pirate and I own all of this company today. I'm not eager to promise people I've got a plan to sell it all to IBM for 100 million in 3 years. Won't sound right to the investors, won't feel right to you all, won't be something I excel at.
What /does/ make more sense for me is to engage some investors in a business deal. They pay the development costs of building a nice integrated eCommerce solution into concrete5 (probably 100k or less instead of better part of $1m which is typical angel round), and in return they get a cut of the revenue from the sales of that eCommerce block. No equity, no voting rights, no promise we'll sell off to the man one day, just cash off the top as orders come in. They get a lower cost investment with faster returns, I get the freedom I love so dear, you all get eCommerce.
So what i need is simple.
1) How about that feature set above? What did I miss? What don't you really need? (this thing will be phased out I'm sure)
2) Would you give us $255/per site for it?
3) How many sites do you think you'd bang out in the next 3 years at $255?
4) If that's too rich for your blood, would you pay an extra $25/month for hosting it? So $40/month for hosting a c5 site /with/ eCommerce on our servers.
Thoughts?? If I can assemble a large pile of "yes's" here, that will have a huge impact on my ability to make this happen. Of course, they need to be frank and honest yes's.. i know some of the blow back around commercial stuff on top of open source stuff is not to be taken lightly..
$255 is more then affordable even per site. But I don't like the word lite? Do you mean beta? afterall expandings c5 to new expectations will make NEW industries aware of the bright side. making your investors happy.... perhaps if i find the right investor, with a finders fee I can retire.
A selection Apprepiate and convenient pricing to fit all c5'ers specification are a must. Have you checked shopalacart? A great profit and development tactic would be offering it for say $255, and take on a few interesting customization request for LITE blocks, for light fees. In return the client agrees this customization will be licensed by available to resell. Chose customization requests each with its own unique specifications. In the meanwhile of those developments LITE will sell, and upon completion of a customized additoin or "block" you can offer different commerce solutions catering to specific industries or specifications. To complex?If you feel that unecessary or just to extra ordinary, i can't say I disagree... I think it would sell =)
Most customers who want an eCommerce solution usually want their site to appear in several languages (don't forget that we have 4 official languages).
1. Multiple languages (translatable blocks)
this is a must! Every single detail must be translatable (not only into the dashboard language, several languages on one site)
2. Multiple countries
Not sure what exactly you mean by this. But having an option where I can set the shipping costs per country is a must for all eCommerce solutions I've built
$255 is okay, but not if I have to customize code for every shop I want to set up! I still don't have a lot of c5 sites where I didn't modify the core, if I pay for software and still have to "modify the core" I'm not going to buy it..
I'll go through you feature list in detail later. I have my own list..
I'm certainly aware that your primary target market isn't Switzerland, but there are still a lot of countries out there where English isn't enough...
Although c5 being the total solution for everything does sound great, sort of like GoodBarry, but just BETTER! :)
C5 is a great enhancement/service/addition for almost any sites, ecommerce especially. A commerce lite block will bring more business for us and c5. Theres really is no other way to get it done right, then to build the "lite" according to your satisfaction and according to reasonable specifications of others as we do here not. With that lite version, big things will follow. At $255 it needs to be extremely flexible for others to work with.
We don't have a ton of e-commerce sites but every now and then we do and I would want to make sure there are no bug and error before I put forward the $255 just to spend time hacking what was already there.
But it seems reasonable and If I knew everything worked properly and it was a solid solution and flexible I'd pay $255 per site.
Regarding getting funding to build it, I would personally be interested in a decent position for it, but you would have to give the people that paid you to write the code their money back first + an appreciable gain for the risk they took on, and then a revenue split stream after that.
The current suggestion essentially allows you to have a huge potential upside with no risk (payroll is made for a few months and you have something really sweet to sell).
I would think that the first 600 or so sales of the concrete5 ecommerce app go directly to the people that essentially paid for it, then concrete5 starts to make money off of it, since you already made the money once in coding rate markup.
With the 50/50 or 75/25 revenue split you have absolutely no risk aside from a distracted dev team...and a bunch of people could be left footing the bill for something that on the 1/10 of 1% chance it didn't sell enough to bring their money back in.
I totally think concrete5 is awesome and I don't see you guys getting steamrolled by an in context editing version of drupal or whatever, but you have to look at and consider it from an outside perspective.
Playing devil's advocate here.
the question is who is willing to say "by god, yes i want that.. if you guys take the time to do ecommerce as well as you've done CMS - i'd buy dozens of them!"
im gonna repost this as a page somewhere that's easier to get through
As for multi-lingual, I believe that if you can get initial funding, you should be able to get enough to get additional languages blocks done along with the original. French, Japanese, German, Italian and Spanish to start. Not sure exactly how the Hebraic or Farsi would be to translate...but I am sure it can and will be done.
If you look at something like foxycart (which is ok for selling downloadable stuff) you break even at around 6 months vs $255, then it is an inferior solution after that.
So yeah you make a solution that works the best with concrete5 regardless of price and you are golden.
You already know how many concrete5 installations there are out there(rss requests).. figure on a percentage that you are comfortable with and that could be suggested to be a target site audience which can do nothing but grow :)
I would think you could sell at least a hundred a month assuming it is built to the same sweetness that concrete5 is, which I also consider a given :)
Your slogan is "A Solution To The eCommerce Problem"
Give us a solution like that and business people will come running over. This solution covers Marketing, CRM and Customer Service/Marketing Automation in one soultion. But make it a simple module based SaaS (250 dollars pluss AND monthly fee depending on services) and a priviate hosted solution (2000 Dollar).(SaaS So you get you hosting revenue every month)
And sell it for 250+ dollars.
And yes you have to have multiple language and currency support, same in regard to shipping. I am from Norway.. :-) (If you don`t do that, you can forget about international sales and also US customers that want multi language solutions.
Since you guys have appealed to people who want easy to use/update CMS, it makes sense.
Also, C5 COULD purchase pinnacle, and integrate that software. Once you buy Pinnacle, you are allowed to resell it as your own e-commerce solution.
I only suggest these because I work in e-commerce (we use escalate which is for multimillion dollar stores) and have found alot of small biz clients loving the easy use of shopify or pinnacle. Makes alot more sense than building your own.
Food for though.
CEO - concrete5.org