Archiv der Kategorie: e-Commerce

The video comparison: responsive shop template vs. single page e-commerce web app

As I recently mentioned in a post shop merchants often approach me and ask about the difference between a shop with responsive templates and single page web apps like the ones we offer at CouchCommerce. Because written explanations are not exciting and cannot show all the differences in usability and app feeling we recorded a short video that I like to share with you.

The setup was an iPhone 5c connected to the 3G network. Using this smartphone we are opening the best RWD template available for Shopware and the latest demo web app from CouchCommerce. Both share the same inventory and products.

This was the exercise: open the shop via bookmark, navigate into the categories “Genusswelt” -> “Edelbrände” and select the product “Cigar Special 40%” to add it to the cart. Then go to the checkout and stop at the point where you start to enter personal information as a new customer.

Here is the result:

You can see how responsive shop templates behave compared to a single page web app. The gesture support and speed of single page web apps is, even though they run in the browser, as good as you know it from native apps that need to be installed from app stores. To the contrary responsive templates work like every other website and need to request next pages from the servers on every click. This fundamental difference causes the huge timing difference in our video.

During this test we had good 3G reception. But as soon as you are on the go and have interruptions and slow downs of the connection the difference will be even more significant. Single page web apps even keep working in case you lose the entire connection. You will never see a “404 page not found” error.

A list of all the advantages single page web apps provide can be found here in this German post.

And here are the links to the test shops: RWD Template / Single Page Web App

The e-commerce innovation dilemma

Very recently Roman wrote about the lack of innovations in e-commerce and his frustration with the outlook leaders of popular shop systems gave.

Well, I can feel his pain. Since 2010 there has not really been any kind of innovation across the leading open source systems including Magento, Oxid e-sales, Shopware and PrestaShop from my point of view. It seems everybody got comfortable and relaxed once the feature push of Magento got to an end after the take over by eBay. I am under the impression that everybody went focusing on large “enterprise” clients underlining the stability and scalability of their software and therefore lost the focus on innovation. The nice thing about these enterprise customers is that they do come with deep pockets helping to monetize the open source development and attract other merchants. However at the same time they are the ones usually not requiring innovative features but a robust set of basic native functionality. I strongly recommend to read through this (German) post going into more details about the Enterprise direction the mentioned players are taking. Startups and more agile merchants trying to distinguish themselves from the big players are different and suddenly cannot rely anymore on native innovative features to be introduced by the open source shop systems.

And here we are right in the e-commerce innovation dilemma!

You are not convinced, yet? Let’s take a look at the facts.

Here you can find two years of Magento release notes starting in June 2011 and ending in April 2013. There is not a single major innovation I could find – but countless fixes, changes and refactor tasks.

So was all the innovation saved up for the big Magento 2 release? I was curious as it was first mentioned more than 1.200 days ago. Doing the research I came across an interesting discussion on hacker news I like to quote:

Magento 2.0 sounds promising. However, Magento 2.0 is lead by developers-only. No marketeers are involved to communicate merchant needs. I have tested Magento 2.0 dev60 and it is nothing more than a technical rewrite. Magento 2 offers the same feature set as Magento 1. You’ll just need to pay a developer to migrate all your 1.x extensions to 2.x, since there is no upgrade path.

So as much as I loved and praised the features and innovations Magento introduced and made available back in 2009 it seems to be obvious that whoever stood behind them has left and took the magic away.

And what about Oxid, PrestaShop and Shopware?

Taking a look at their release notes and comparing the feature sets with Magento it is interesting to see that most of the new features are not part of the open source solutions but have been released as chargeable modules and add-ons. For example something quite basic as bundled products is not included as native functionality in Shopware but available for €495 as extra charged module developed by Shopware themselves and published in August 2012. Looking at the PrestaShop module collection (78 modules) or the Oxid e-sales modules and their eFire marketplace it is more or less the same picture. The releases of the core open source product mainly focuses on bug fixes, performance improvements and rewrites. Even essential features are published as complimentary chargeable modules and the real innovation has to be driven in custom projects or bespoke agency work.

An additional good indicator of how innovative shop systems are is to look at startups utilizing the software to go to market. For example shopping clubs or subscription based startups used to be able to start into the market with a quite small budget as the shop systems were able to offer them a 80% ready solution out of the box. Over the last 24 months I have not seen new innovative startups in the e-commerce field who chose to work with one of the solutions mentioned above. For example Chloe+Isabel, an innovative social commerce startup from the US, had to build a custom solution with much higher investments.

When we first launched, we had to create all of our software from scratch as it just didn’t exist. While this was a different kind of challenge, what we quickly realized was that though Chloe + Isabel is a jewelry company, we had to be just as proficient as a technology company.

said Chantel Waterbury the founder of Chloe + Isabel in an interview.

Most of the startups I talked to would have loved to work with one of the open source shop systems after realizing that they are forced to build a costly and risky custom solution to achieve their goals. So why could they not utilize or extend the solutions available? Ironically the APIs are not open and powerful enough to support innovative shopping functionality and content segmentation driven micro sites utilizing just as much commerce functionality as they need. So as a result each of the leading systems has built its own eco system not being able to support true innovation. APIs were not the focus but added and enhanced later on in the process. This makes the solutions slow and harms service orientated architectures where merchants heavily rely on well performing and stable APIs to connect all the components utilized.

So the questions I like to ask are: Will there ever be a new shop system leading innovation and bringing it to the masses like it used to do Magento back in 2009? Or are we at the beginning of a larger paradigm change where shop system setups will not be like we know them up to today?

eCommerce Web-Apps mit dem CouchCommerce SDK und AngularJS entwickeln

In den letzten 18 Monaten haben wir bei CouchCommerce ausführliche Erfahrungen mit der Entwicklung von eCommerce Web-Apps gesammelt. Um das Fundament zu schaffen haben wir unsere SaaS Plattform entwickelt, die sich heute via Shopmodulen an Onlineshops wie Magento, Shopware, xt:commerce und bald auch Oxid e-sales anbinden lässt. (Netzwertig hat die Entwicklung gerade in einem Artikel zusammengefasst.)

Um aus der Plattform heraus Web-Apps zu generieren haben wir bisher Sencha Touch als Framework genutzt und ein System geschaffen, welches automatisch die Generierung der Web-Apps vornimmt. Damit lassen sich auch gute Ergebnisse erzielen, die Lernkurve ist nur leider sehr flach und wir konnten uns nicht vorstellen viele Entwickler und Agenturen nach Veröffentlichung des Codes zur Arbeit mit Sencha Touch anregen zu können. Deshalb haben wir in den letzten Monaten einen neuen Ansatz verfolgt, der äußerst spannend ist:

CouchCommerceJS-serviceDas CouchCommerce SDK, welches wir unter CouchCommerce.org open source veröffentlichen werden, beinhaltet eine CouchCommerceJS Komponente, welche  den Client-Seitigen API Layer bildet. Damit lassen sich ganz einfach eCommerce Aktionen wie z.B. die Handhabung von Produkten und Warenkörben steuern. Somit muss man sich bei der Web-App Entwicklung nicht mehr um die grundsätzlichen Themen um Daten und Transaktionen herum kümmern. Auch steht die Anbindung an alle von uns unterstützten Shopsysteme sofort bereit.

CouchCommerceSDK

Zusätzlich beinhaltet das CouchCommerce SDK UI und Web-App Komponenten auf Basis von AngularJS. Diese können genutzt werden, um sehr einfach hoch performante und individuelle eCommerce Web-Apps zu programmieren. Diese Komponenten und das CouchCommerceJS werden wir offen fortlaufend weiter entwickeln. AngularJS bietet als erweitertes HTML für Web-Apps dabei ideale Voraussetzungen.

Alternativ zu Web-Apps auf Basis von AngularJS lassen sich auch andere Frameworks einsetzen. Für diese werden wir jedoch keine UI und eCommerce Web-App Komponenten bereitstellen. In diesem Fall kann jedoch ebenfalls das CouchCommerceJS genutzt werden, um alle Prozesse rund um Daten und Transaktionen abzubilden. Die Entwicklung von eCommerce Web-Apps wird also deutlich einfacher.

Unter CouchCommerce.org kann man sich bereits eintragen, um den Launch nicht zu verpassen und vorzeitig Zugriff zu bekommen auf unser SDK.

100 Euro PayPal Gutschrift für Shopware 4 Händler bei CouchCommerce

Für alle Shopbetreiber unter meinen Lesern hier kurz der Hinweis auf unsere bis zum 1. April 2013 begrenzte Aktion:

Mit dem Promotion Code “PayPal-Aktion” erhalten die ersten 100 Händler, die sich anmelden und eine PayPal Transaktion via CouchCommerce durchführen, eine € 100 Gutschrift auf ihr PayPal Händlerkonto. Alle Informationen sind hier zu finden.

Am besten direkt jetzt anmelden, denn ich weiß nicht wie schnell wir PayPal  wieder zu so einer Aktion überreden können ;)

CouchCommerce Modul jetzt vorintegriert in Shopware 4

Das CouchCommerce Modul für Shopware ist ab sofort verfügbar und wird ab Version 4.0.7 mit Shopware ausgeliefert.

Für uns bei CouchCommerce ist das ein wichtiger Meilenstein auf unserem Weg CouchCommerce als Web-App SaaS e-Commerce Plattform und später auch e-Commerce Web-App SDK zu etablieren. Durch die Vorab-Integration in Shopware kann unsere SaaS Lösung jetzt innerhalb von nur wenigen Minuten aktiviert werden. Alle Shopware 4 Shopbetreiber die bisher auf das Modul gewartet haben können es sofort hier laden.

Besonders freut mich die Bewertung des Themas durch Sebastian Hamann, Vorstand der Shopware AG. Shopware ab sofort mobil mit CouchCommerce.

Wir wissen aus eigener Erfahrung, dass das Thema Mobile Commerce immer mehr an Bedeutung gewinnt und es bisher keine einfachen Lösungen am Markt gibt. Mit CouchCommerce sind unsere Shopbetreiber bestens auf den Post PC Commerce vorbereitet – und das für niedrige Investitionskosten.

Die Geschwindigkeit der Verbreitung von Touch-Devices in Form von Tablets und Smartphones stellt den ganzen e-Commerce Markt vor eine große Herausforderung. Besonders die kleinen und mittleren Händler ohne großes Agenturbudget sind hier auf passende Lösungen angewiesen. Dem kann man am besten in Kooperationen zwischen Spezialisten und etablierten Playern begegnen.