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My problems with eCommerce

shared on April 24, 2016

The current state of eCommerce offerings is quite bleak, in my opinion.

Software is either bloated (Magento), has bizarre syntax (Squarespace), forces their kid-like design upon you (Shopify’s Buy Button), is done exceptionally well but is cost-prohibitive (CraftCommerce — I love CraftCommerce, OMFG), or looks/feels terrible (this is subjective, but virtually everything else).

As a web developer/designer who regularly spins up servers and runs security and OS upgrades/updates on them, I don’t feel the need to pay someone else to manage my store, especially if I can just do it myself for cheap (a $5 server on DigitalOcean, for example). Of course, this is precisely why some developers choose to use services like Squarespace and Shopify.

Whenever Squarespace has an ad spot on ATP, Marco Arment speaks about the joy of not having to think about designing, &c, which is totally fine. In the eCommerce space though, one of the key aspects that makes your online presence stand out is your design. If I am unable to customize like I want to, in a language I understand, I consider my time wasted.

I am not one to complain about things without providing possible solutions, so I am pleased to announce that I am working on my own open-sourced eCommerce solution called VendoMarket, and I will offer a hosted solution at some point in the future. I’ve been doing tons of research around pricing, features, integrations, &c, and while I have some great ideas, I acknowledge they still need work.

For version 1, payments are done through Stripe and email receipts are delivered via ElasticEmail. The platform is my newfound love, FeathersJS and the server I have version 0.4 of VendoMarket deployed on is nginx (with SSL!). Shippo is what I will be using for calculating shipping rates.

Gabe is working on the logo and it looks so good, I’m excited. Even the domain name is awesome (vendo.market)!

My struggles with finding the right eCommerce solution for my fledging clothing line business have been fraught with frustrations and mental brick walls. After many trials with WooCommerce, PrestaShop, and others, I settled upon Snipcart. It wasn’t until an entire year later that I discovered payments weren’t going through because of the special character in my URL (it was an ö). Thankfully, I was able to get that sale due to a customer who really wanted to pay for my shirt. When I brought this issue to customer service, the response wasn’t as fast as I would’ve liked. I wondered how many sales I lost over an entire year and ultimately decided to scrap Snipcart. Admittedly, it was my fault for not testing the checkout flow even once. Still, it seems like they’re trying harder now, so your mileage may vary.

Flatmarket was another great solution to my woes, in theory. However, I sell physical products so that was a bust. At the moment, my WEÖM shop (currently waiting on a new SSL certificate) is utilizing Shopify’s Buy Button, but it won’t be for long!

Further VendoMarket updates will be made here and on Twitter via @NetOpWibby and @VendoMarket.

My problems with eCommerce
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