Dear Fellow Developers, etc.
I have received a lot of questions over the last few weeks about the eCommerce plug-in for mura, which I have developed and used for Nytro.com.
The eCommerce platform (plug-in) is called "Slatwall" and it runs seamlessly on top of mura. Currently, I am working with the team at blue river to get it ready for distribution; it should be ready for download by mid July.
Now that I've cleared that up, let me talk a little bit about exactly what Slatwall is. It was designed from scratch to be an intermediary between an e-commerce website and an inventory management system, Point of Sale system, or Accounting System. Nytro, for example, runs its business on a system called "Celerant", but Slatwall is designed to integrate with any type of system, including:
It remains to be seen if Slatwall will ever operate as a standalone eCommerce platform. So now here is the real question... why not?
After years of working with Retailers, Wholesalers & eCommerce only stores, I recognized a recurring issue. Clients would have an existing website, but it would be almost unbearable to manage. This is because eCommerce software is designed to be a standalone system with order processing, but it isn't very good at doing things like inventory management, accounting, and business analytics, especially in situations where the client has both retail and online stores.
This leads to the business owner relying on two system: the first for accounting, inventory management and possibly POS, and another for online sales. Then, the business sets up some "automation" processes to move the information back and forth. These automation processes are typically unstable, custom built, limited and result in redundant work for businesses. In addition, the customization typically done to the web software make it impossible to updatable without breaking code.
There is another option for business owners; to use the "web software" offered by the software company, which runs the rest of the business, for accounting and inventory management. The problem with these solutions is that they typically are limited in their "web" capabilities. They can almost never match the type of functionality as standalone eCommerce platforms.
This is why Slatwall was designed the way that it was. My intention was to create software that could be used by small and large businesses and be configured for any new or existing business application infrastructure.
"That is all fine and good, but what if I want to start a brand new company that doesn't have any software?"
Luckily for business startups, we will be rolling out Slatwall coupled with QuickBooks as Software As A Service. We have chosen QuickBooks mostly because accounting software is a necessity for all businesses. It can also handle all of the Inventory Needs, as well as order fulfillment needs of a small business. We are hoping to have this service launched by August, however it could be sooner if there is enough interest.
Lastly, and here is the kicker, Slatwall is a completely free and open source platform. That being said, I am currently looking for additional help in the development of this system. Currently it is only designed to work with an MS SQL server, but I hope in the very near future to expand it to MySQL and Oracle as well. If you would like to get involved in the development of this product please e-mail me at email@example.com
Thank you all for your continued support,