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Official XenForo Commerce Addon: Donations, Shop, Billing, Monetizing, Ads, Subs, affiliate, etc

Dadparvar

Well-known member
#21
IMHO financial features need to be in 1st party software because of the potential for abuse and the need for solid code.
Such functionality would give addon developers a wide range of possibilities.

Having such official addon would allow xenforo webmasters to generate much more income through new income streams which is good for the XenForo ecosystem as a whole.

I would very much like to see an official addon for monetizing. Functionality which could be included is:
  • Donations: custom amounts, gifts, goals, guest donations.
  • Advanced Subscriptions. Stacking, prolong, at registration, gift, etc.
  • Shop: sell digital products and real products.
  • Sell community content & features.
  • Paywall. Limit content viewing.
  • Payment links.
  • Credits & Wallet.
  • Classifieds.
  • Billing: send invoices for any of the above.
  • Commissions (take a % of sales)
  • Affiliate (give a % of sales)
  • Mailings to generate income by promoting the above.
  • Connector with bookkeeping software.
  • Connector with shipping software.
  • Connector with affiliate platforms.

If the basic functions of such a platform are there, then addon developers could expand on it.
I know this suggestion is a tall order, but I do think there is a need for this. Even if it starts small and is slowly expanded.
A very nice suggestion. A marketplace (and not just a simple shop) is something that can change the game in big sites. (and if a Wallet system be implemented in core, then it opens a new door to 3rd party add-ons as well)
 

Robust

Well-known member
#22
(and if a Wallet system be implemented in core, then it opens a new door to 3rd party add-ons as well)
I don't think it does and I'd not like to see a wallet system in the core. Not to mention the added financial burden with a credits based system, and forums don't exactly comply with financial laws as it is (I know Alfa likes to ensure legal compliance too, so this should be a problem he should've considered). Opens new issues with chargebacks too, especially PayPal disputes... In the end, forum admins aren't going to like the wallet system either. I don't like the idea of wallets and depositing credits for later use.

I don't see the project being successful in general, to be honest. @batpool52! had a pretty good marketplace for XF 1.x with few bugs and quite a lot of features from what I recall - he mentioned sales weren't very good. I don't see that many forums trying to implement a marketplace either, and with the amount of work to create this I don't see it being very economic.

It's borderline related to the resource manager, which I think is powerful enough to add some of those features in. You can make the RM a commercial shop with add-ons. It's a pretty powerful tool.
 

Goodfella

Well-known member
#23
In the end, forum admins aren't going to like the wallet system either.
This is not true. I would love a wallet system and I'm a forum admin.

I don't see the project being successful in general, to be honest. @batpool52! had a pretty good marketplace for XF 1.x with few bugs and quite a lot of features from what I recall - he mentioned sales weren't very good
He never finished the marketplace this is why sales weren't very good.


Liked the first post. I would love something like this.
 

DragonByte Tech

Well-known member
#24
It's borderline related to the resource manager, which I think is powerful enough to add some of those features in. You can make the RM a commercial shop with add-ons. It's a pretty powerful tool.
The RM has maybe 50% of what a good eCommerce shop needs, it's true. However, the problem lies in the part where even if you add payments to the RM, you lack the ability to specify renewal periods, as well as the ability to generate downloads on-the-fly.

Generating downloads is important if you need to do user-specific things such as pre-filling details in the options, strip branding for people who buy add-ons like Branding Free, etc.

Furthermore, the main page of the RM doesn't look as good as a layout that was designed to act as an eCommerce system. In danger of sounding like I'm trying to toot my own horn; for the longest period of time DBTech had a front page that was powered by vB4's built-in CSS and such. It was horrible, so we paid a professional design studio to design a new store page that not only looks like an eCommerce store but uses Responsive as well.

RM marketplace mods would need a shopping cart function, since forcing users to buy 1 product at a time is a sure-fire way of getting people to not bother. If I want to buy 10 products from you, I do not want to have to make 10 transactions, that's just ridiculous.

Going even further down the rabbit hole, RM marketplace mods would need to add the ability to have coupons and/or sales (e.g. "33% off everything", not sales as in "selling stuff"), and a way of applying it to the transaction.

Lastly, but perhaps not as important for an initial version, statistics. The amount of hacked-together (or as the British would say, "bodged") statistics pages you'd find at DBTech is staggering.

All of that is ignoring even more vendor-specific functionality such as the ability to define subcontractors that get a percentage of sales (would probably be more relevant to development studios).

My point is, when you take all of these things into consideration, what you are left with is about 20 square pegs that need to be fit in to the RM's round hole. If you think of it that way, the only time you are actually saving when it comes to the RM is attachment handling (upload & download, for non-generated downloads), product info pages, discussion threads, and update alerts.

All of that isn't even considering physical products. Physical products require a whole different way of handling things, such as the ability to define shipping zones & costs, a better product information field system with the ability to set different fiends for different product types (thankfully, in XF2, the system that powers the Thread Fields and User Fields is awesome, I'm working with it as we speak), etc.

In other words, it is my belief that it would be better for anyone creating an eCommerce add-on to write their own implementation. You can always look at the RM's attachment code to teach you how to do it yourself, and look at its generated HTML for inspiration for your own layout.


Fillip
 

Robust

Well-known member
#25
The RM has maybe 50% of what a good eCommerce shop needs, it's true. However, the problem lies in the part where even if you add payments to the RM, you lack the ability to specify renewal periods, as well as the ability to generate downloads on-the-fly.

Generating downloads is important if you need to do user-specific things such as pre-filling details in the options, strip branding for people who buy add-ons like Branding Free, etc.

Furthermore, the main page of the RM doesn't look as good as a layout that was designed to act as an eCommerce system. In danger of sounding like I'm trying to toot my own horn; for the longest period of time DBTech had a front page that was powered by vB4's built-in CSS and such. It was horrible, so we paid a professional design studio to design a new store page that not only looks like an eCommerce store but uses Responsive as well.

RM marketplace mods would need a shopping cart function, since forcing users to buy 1 product at a time is a sure-fire way of getting people to not bother. If I want to buy 10 products from you, I do not want to have to make 10 transactions, that's just ridiculous.

Going even further down the rabbit hole, RM marketplace mods would need to add the ability to have coupons and/or sales (e.g. "33% off everything", not sales as in "selling stuff"), and a way of applying it to the transaction.

Lastly, but perhaps not as important for an initial version, statistics. The amount of hacked-together (or as the British would say, "bodged") statistics pages you'd find at DBTech is staggering.

All of that is ignoring even more vendor-specific functionality such as the ability to define subcontractors that get a percentage of sales (would probably be more relevant to development studios).

My point is, when you take all of these things into consideration, what you are left with is about 20 square pegs that need to be fit in to the RM's round hole. If you think of it that way, the only time you are actually saving when it comes to the RM is attachment handling (upload & download, for non-generated downloads), product info pages, discussion threads, and update alerts.

All of that isn't even considering physical products. Physical products require a whole different way of handling things, such as the ability to define shipping zones & costs, a better product information field system with the ability to set different fiends for different product types (thankfully, in XF2, the system that powers the Thread Fields and User Fields is awesome, I'm working with it as we speak), etc.

In other words, it is my belief that it would be better for anyone creating an eCommerce add-on to write their own implementation. You can always look at the RM's attachment code to teach you how to do it yourself, and look at its generated HTML for inspiration for your own layout.


Fillip
That assumes one product with all the features of a complete ecommerce add-on. It's unlikely the average forum using this will need all the power of the ecommerce system. They'll likely only need some of the modifications to the RM to achieve what they need, and that will definitely be more economic than a completely new ecommerce system.

I just don't think enough forums are going to use the system to make it (economically) worth the amount of hours taken to create and maintain it.
 

Dadparvar

Well-known member
#26
forum admins aren't going to like the wallet system either. I don't like the idea of wallets and depositing credits for later use.
A feature being in the core doesn't mean that every single person should like it and start using it. Subscriptions is in core since first day I think, but having multiple sites for years, and not even sold one single subscription. It was totally disabled (I may start it soon though) -> but it doesn't mean that feature is not useful or I don't like it. I really like it and its so useful, its just me that didn't need it so far, and may need it soon.

and about law: I realize what you say. you are totally right. but as a person whose profession is law, can tell you that setting a site legally (setting rules, checking laws, setting restrictions, policies, and ...) needs just 1 appointment with a lawyer (100 to $1k, based on the project, and lawyer's price and ... -> some lawyers also provide ready to use, free policies) and you are ready to start. If the site isn't important enough to spend this amount for a lawyer to set policies, then that site is just a hobby, not a real project. And yes, that sort of sites don't care about monetizing features.


------------
I don't see the project being successful in general, to be honest. @batpool52! had a pretty good marketplace for XF 1.x with few bugs and quite a lot of features from what I recall - he mentioned sales weren't very good.
@Goodfella is right when he said:
He never finished the marketplace this is why sales weren't very good.
look at the associated thread for his add-on:
https://xenforo.com/community/threads/reckons-team-marketplace-paid-deleted.108011/

The post after his auto post, was mine. Long time waiting for it, but he never finished it (we also talked a lot in conversations and we also wanted to fund for more features. One of my friends also purchased it and after having lots of problems in his site, finally said goodbye to it. and then, the developer ...!)
 
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DragonByte Tech

Well-known member
#27
That assumes one product with all the features of a complete ecommerce add-on. It's unlikely the average forum using this will need all the power of the ecommerce system. They'll likely only need some of the modifications to the RM to achieve what they need, and that will definitely be more economic than a completely new ecommerce system.

I just don't think enough forums are going to use the system to make it (economically) worth the amount of hours taken to create and maintain it.
Maybe so, but I'd wager there's more than a few sites that would want to have some form of eCommerce system that doesn't have someone on the team with the technical expertise to modify the RM themselves. If such a person doesn't exist on that site, my point is still valid as I believe that site would be interested in purchasing such an eCommerce system.

I base that assumption on the fact that if an admin is hiring someone to modify the RM, the modification would have to be small indeed in order to make it cheaper than the $200 or so that an eCommerce modification would cost.
$200 is of course pulled entirely from my arse, but it's going to cost less than $2,000 or so that a week's worth of work from a good developer would cost.

If only there was a small development company out there, currently stuck on a dead platform due to a bespoke eCommerce system... Such a company would probably want to develop an eCommerce suite for XF2 for their own use... And due to how easy it is to extend products in XF2, such a company could separate the internal functionality only they need (keeping track of sales that affect subcontractors and other functions) from functionality everyone needs (everything else in my post)...

Such a company would probably want to release a version that only supported digital purchases at first, but would be bearing physical products in mind for the future.

If only... ;)


Fillip
 

rhodes

Active member
#29
I agree to that what @DragonByte Tech said. I am searching for an ecommerce tool as well and think RM could be a good point to start.

In our special case we want to do two things
  1. sell permissions to create RM items (or showcase items ..)
  2. (later) give users the opportunity to sell their own digital goods for a small fee.
What I really miss is the integration of a payment system that also allows payment on account, for example. Shopify or Amazon Payment integration would be good. Everybody has an amazon account. In my opinion paypal is fine for individuals, but if you want to start a marketplace and also address small companies you need another solution.
 

Alfa1

Well-known member
#30
Everybody has an amazon account.
Everyone in the US you mean? There are people outside the US lol. Amazon has a massive footprint in some countries including the US and UK. But not outside those countries. They just launched here and has barely any footprint here. I do agree with your general suggestions though.
 

rhodes

Active member
#31
Everyone in the US you mean? There are people outside the US lol.
Sorry, I did not mention that I am from Germany. Here most people have an amazon account. I don't know too much about the situation in the US, but I think it is similar. At least for these countries Amazon payment would be a good option because the payment is considered reliable and secure.