One of my little side businesses is http://www.realnicerugs.com. I started it to give my father an online outlet for his welcome mat business. It hasn't been a huge success because neither Dad nor I have the time to really do proper marketing or to maintain the site. One of the reasons for this is that, while the hosted ecommerce package is functional, if you want the good tools you have to pay more and at our relatively low volume it doesn't seem worthwhile.
Things would be better if the platform had more functionality and was more usable. But, even if the upgraded package paid for itself through more sales, we intend to add custom printing to the product mix later this year. When we do, the site will need custom functionality that the package we're using doesn't offer at any price. And so, the time has come to start building a custom solution.
I'm happy to say that Elumenotion is growing both in terms of our consulting projects and training offerings, but this means I'll have even less time to work on this side project. Therefore, it's critical that the new site do what we need with little manual intervention and also be easy enough to use that anyone can maintain the catalog. I think a simple ecommerce platform built on Windows SharePoint Services will be just the ticket!
I love the "How We Did It: *" posts on the SharePoint Team Blog. Each of these is a little case study on a successful project and it's always interesting to see how people did their projects. But, whenever I read a case study (of any kind), I always wonder how it really went. You know… what skeletons were buried? What went unsaid?
Because of this, I will be brave (foolish?) and keep a running diary as I build the new platform and I will make the resulting site definition available for download.
This little project is not my number 1 priority, but I did promise Dad I'd have it done before the Christmas holiday buying season starts. I invite you to follow along. Feel free to comment and criticize, and if you like the rugs, maybe buy one for your Dad or Mom. J
Right now we only ship in the US, but that will also change soon.