Shop Front

Published: Monday, Aug 10, 2020 Last modified: Monday, Oct 26, 2020

Update: Initial project repo WIP https://github.com/kaihendry/shopfront

Problem: Small businesses (vendors) can’t be expected to run their own online store selling their own products, despite Shopify/Woocommerce being fairly good solutions.

Problem: Influencers / Content creators who care about the products are limited to Affiliate (referral) programs run by big companies like Amazon or Lazada. Small vendors do not have a convenient way of rewarding content creators for opening new accounts with their effective marketing work.

Solution: My opensource software is for influencers to download and make {build,deploy} on their own example.com site. You (the influencer) describe / market the product with videos, images and text using a fixed JSON schema, and my MIT licensed “Shop front” software generates the product pages as static pages. These static pages can then be uploaded to a domain like https://shop.example.com or https://example.com/shop

The consumer experience:

  1. Finds content about product from (you) the Influencer
  2. Follows link to Influencer’s https://example.com/shop
  3. Buys the product
  4. Order confirmation

The vendor’s experience:

  1. Email of order, effectively that resembles a paid invoice
  2. Vendor proceeds to fulfil order

If product is out of stock (no inventory) or cannot be satisfied for the price, vendor is expected to refund / cancel the order. This is done via a Stripe dashboard.

How “Shop Front” works

Vendor needs to opt in to a Stripe Connect account on your deployment.

When a purchase is made from https://example.com/shop, the order goes through Stripe connect. Say the item is for 100 USD (a price you set!), an expected breakdown could be:

  1. 5USD going to Stripe (this includes Visa costs et al)
  2. 5USD going to you, the Influencer (hopefully you can adjust this)
  3. 90USD going to the product Vendor (who delivers the product)

Sidenote: Where is my cut as the developer of “Shop front”? I do not intend to have one!

FAQ

Who owns the customer?

This is not black and white. Essentially the vendor will only have the consumer’s delivery address (maintain privacy) for fulfill the order. Though I suspect the consumer will turn to the Influencer for support.

What about inventory?

For version 1, there will be no inventory query.

If the product is not in stock, the vendor needs to ideally cancel the order. The influencer is ideally involved, to ensure the product page is updated.

What about price?

The influencer needs to set the price with the above projected (5/5/90) break down in price.

If the vendor cannot fulfil the order for the price, the vendor should refuse / cancel the order. Again, the influencer is ideally involved, to ensure the product page is updated.

What about crypto?

Shrinking the 5% or so that goes to Stripe (and Visa) would be nice, but at what cost? I’m keeping mainstream for my sanity. Stripe’s APIs and dashboard offers a lot of value.

The product listed is more expensive than the vendor’s page

A vendor might have a Website nonetheless, or some account at Amazon, or the same product listed on another “Shop Front” deployment, where prices are probably not going to be aligned.

Hopefully consumers can recognise and reward who put the effort in.

Dude, you have just described a Drop shipping solution… are you running a scam?

Stripe connect makes sure the money goes direct to the vendor. You (the “influencer”) are not a “middle man”, the solution does not hide the vendor aka “private label shipping”.

The vendor must opt-in (via Stripe Connect) for this arrangement to work. There is a direct and transparent relationship.

This opensource software does not intend to get a commission or kick back. My motives are to empower small business and reward influencers by allowing them to create content on products they recommend on the influencer’s own site.

I hope you and myself will deploy the resulting static “Shop Front” product pages on your homepage.

How do you account for delivery costs and estimations?

The version 1 / MVP won’t. Perhaps later like inventory et al. KISS 😘