This one has been in the works for a while! We are very excited to be able to talk about ...
Indi will be a new, multi-vendor marketplace for makers, artisans and crafters. Aiming to have up to 150 registered traders by March, site visitors will be greeted by a fully featured e-commerce store, with multiple product categories, private accounts, and customer service functionality. It will be possible to purchase from a wide range of quality, home-made goods with the backing of a quality service provider.
So how have Equahost done it?
This will be a flagship project for us as it really underlines the flexibility of our e-commerce system. However, even we were surprised at what a natural-fit a multi-vendor extension would be.
The core requirements are as follows:
- Ability to register as a customer, or a trader.
- Full customer-service provision via a centralised, integrated helpdesk platform.
- A quality control mechanism to “vet” trader registrations.
- Product submissions by traders will not be automatically posted. Products must go through an assurance process by Indi staff before they are made available to customers.
- Traders must be able to quickly update and revise how their products are marketed.
- Traders must be able to define their own shipping options and promote related products.
- So traders may be reimbursed, sales must be tracked accurately and linked to an effective reporting system.
- Last but certainly not least, branding, branding, branding!
The first two were easily solved thanks to our pre-developed, integrated helpdesk system. It was extremely easy to adapt the existing code to help verify the authenticity of a prospective trader and to accept (and quality-control) product submissions before uploading to the store.
Posting many products to BigCommerce is potentially time consuming (for Indi staff), so a small block of additional code allows the administrator to post from the helpdesk directly (via API) to a holding category in BigCommerce. Again, product updates and revisions can be easily handled by the helpdesk and BigCommerce API.
Providing unique functionality to traders is achieved using Umbraco’s “member group” feature. This allows us to create a role-centric interface for an unlimited amount of account types. We currently use this extensively for support and administrator account feature restrictions.
Tracking sales is partly performed using BigCommerce’s “custom fields” functionality. This allows us to store a value based on our own trader ID convention with each product. Thanks to our pre-developed, custom checkout page, submitting transaction details to a reporting database (when a sale completes) was a minor extension to the existing functionality.
Finally (and the most important part) - branding! Indi’s brand must become synonymous with their culture and the “go-to” site for their trader’s products. As always, Elle Nelson Design were there to guide Indi through the initial stages of branding development. We are looking forward to realizing the final site design!
When Indi launches in Q1 2022, their team, traders, and customers will enjoy a secure, state-of-the-art commerce system.
Register at www.shopindi.co.uk for further updates. We will be sure to announce the launch!
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