Christina Kirabo Jordan said
Important to note is that every product has it’s own cause-related impact split, so it’s a multi-faceted system on both ends (income and earnings distribution) that we need to manage over the long haul.
Lars Hasselblad Torres said:
So the important piece is the CMS that will drive all of this. I don’t know of any eCommerce platforms that are also good CMS (but then, I’ve never built for eCommerce).
There is one Content Management System (CMS) and eCommerce platform that fits both these requirements; Drupal enhanced with Matt Westgate’s eCommerce module. (Tech comment: Matt’s contribution is much more than a module, it is what developers call a framework; that is, a collection of modules that provide a data architecture and application programming interface that work like pliable clay to be molded to whatever you need.)
One of Sohodojo’s applied research goals is to develop a story-driven and game-oriented eCommerce platform to support microenterprise and small producer supply/impact chains and their alternative markets. To this end, we have installed, tested, and examined the source code of all the most popular and well-supported Open Source CMS and eCommerce platforms.
It is a Matter of What You Don’t See
Virtually any mature, full-featured CMS and eCommerce plaform will have easy-to-see “sexy” features that attract your interest. If all you wanted to do was throw up an Internet store and sell basic products, making your plaform selection based on these visible features would be reasonable.
But when you know that what is special about your business model is that it is different than the run-of-the-mill business, it is what is unseen that is more important than what is seen. That is, your business model will only be realized by custom programming. In this context, it is the unseen source code that is most important, not the platform’s visible features that will determine how successful you will be creating a web environment that brings your business model to life.
We have selected Drupal and eCommerce for two primary reasons:
- Our interest in story-driven eCommerce requires, precisely as Lars has specified, that we have an ultra-tight integration between the content management aspects of the platform and the eCommerce aspects. Matt’s eCommerce framework is not an independent add-on “world of its own” like virtually all eCommerce add-ons. This means there are virtually no limits to how you can design the shopping/investing experience.
- To support inprosuming (investing, producing, consuming), our candidate CMS/eCommerce platform had to be both architecturally expressive as well as modular and extensible. This means that when you find something that you just have to have in your design and it is not there, it has to be easy to design the missing piece and seamlessly integrate it into the whole of the system. Conventional eCommerce systems cover consuming well, but they are largely blind to the investing and producing aspects of our interest. Drupal with Matt’s eCommerce is a singular exception to this blindspot.
One of the biggest challenges to achieving Christina’s vision for cause-related impact splits has to do with the design assumptions that virtually every eCommerce platform makes about their solution domains. That is, virtually every eCommerce package assumes that the finest-grained element in the purchase transaction is a product. They handle this requirement admirably well. But cause-related impact splits mean that the product is just one end-bit of a combination of elements (impact points) that are motivating the purchaser’s decision. (We’ve written before about compositional impact points here.)
We know of no other CMS/eCommerce platform than Drupal with Matt’s eCommerce framework that is capable of the deign flexibility required to build the LiA/WE/I4C web portal/presence.
–Sohodojo Jim and Timlynn–