and for some it’s a win, others a loss. Shopify is a RoR based hosted eCommerce solution that, over the last 9 months, I’ve fallen in love with and done over a dozen shops with.
First, lets focus on the win.
Shopify’s “brochure” site is now at a .info domain. The content is a cleaned up, reorganized version of the previous marketing site, and I quite like the look/feel. I also rather like their screenshots page, which currently has 2 shops I worked on (NoonaCo and Willotoons), though I’m a little sad it’s not paginated. What happens when the current featured screens get pushed out? I’d like to see them archived.
The new Shopify DOT COM site is featuring a screenshot of a global product search…interesting move, I wonder how this will pit competing Shopify store owners against each other. A cool move from a visibility perspective, a questionable one from a community perspective.
In fact, while I’m on the topic of community…thats one of my favorite things about Shopify. The development community has always been awesome, and incredibly supportive of each other. It was a great place to send newbie Shopify developer. Today, Shopify released a new pricing scheme. Previously, their service was free until you made a sale. At that point there was a 3% commission. While this was a tough sell to large volume stores, it was perfect for the MAJORITY of what Shopify is used for…small, boutique shops. Minimal cost until a sale was made. Beautiful. And for me, the sale was easy-as-pie. I had so many people geared up to use Shopify for their next shop.
Then, today brought change. And the people, oh, they’re pissed. The new pricing model is definitively geared towards volume sellers. Great…for them. But what about the little guys? Shopify’s Cody says:
I don’t think that paying $24 / month puts Shopify out of range of low capital startup projects. Installing, securing, backing up, and hosting your own server with Zen cart will surely be a lot more costly, either in dollars or man hours, than having a Shopify subscription.
That will help the sell…but nonetheless, I’m confident I’ll be losing customers to this. Luckily, current customers are grandfathered in. But if you haven’t put your credit card in yet, you’re lost. 🙁 Never mind the fact that I had the old selling points memorized…this grid is MUCH more complicated, and makes it much harder to make a decision and a sale.
At this point, I’m going to be keeping a close eye on this. I’ve come to love Shopify as a product, and as a selling point. I was able to enable my customers in a way no other product could, and consistently impress. Shopify’s staff has been incredibly responsive and supportive since day 1, so I’m hoping that they take the community’s interest and coming to a middle ground.
This is a great example of creating a passionate community and then, when they could have been involved with the discussion of the direction of the product, they weren’t and now the community is in dissent. It’s only a matter of time before someone starts posting HD DVD encryption codes all over the forum. sigh.
In the mean time…while the community and Shopify’s staff come to terms, I regret to say that I’m forced to look for an exit plan…and at this point in time, I’m really, really stuck to find one that fits as good as Shopify does. Well….did.
Wild and crazy final thought: what if Shopify had this plan as a hosted option, and then…open sourced the platform. That is, for people who want ease of hosting, deployment, maintainability, etc…you pay monthly for that service. For those capable of deploying patches, arranging hosting, security, backup, and all of the other costs that go along with e-commerce, provide a self-hosted and open source option. This would be an awesome way to go back to the community roots that you’ve served and have served you, and calm the community down by making every-body-happy.
[tags]shopify, jadedpixel, changes, community, dissent[/tags]
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