Selling Contents of your Home Website Design
When Karin and Richard from Moving On called asking for website solutions for their business ("selling contents of your home" website design), I honestly had no idea how large the scope of work would turn out to be. I thought it would be an easy ecommerce plugin, a bit of restructuring, a smattering of design... and everything would be good to go. LOL. Hello rude awakening.
How it all works
The problem I was faced with was the unique business structure of Moving On. Especially prior to 2020 - the "before times" as it is now known in my circles. Ostensibly a "Liquidation Sale" type of business, where clients need to sell an entire household of goods quickly, they would call an "agent" in their area to come over and set up and oversee a "Garage Sale Event". The event is advertised to an "opt-in" mailing list that identified themselves as living in that region. Judging by the sheer size of the crowds on the day, these sales were eagerly anticipated.
Is it Events or is it eCommerce?
At the time when human beings were free agents to come and go as they pleased, the business as it operated was perfectly fine. When I was approached to find a solution to assist the business with taking online deposits ahead of these weekend sales events, we had no idea how we were "prophetically" getting set up for 2020 and beyond!
There was no "off-the-shelf" solution for Moving On. Yes there was an easy solution for eCommerce - in South Africa the best option on Wordpress is WooCommerce (because the payment gateway plugins offered to South African businesses favour this platform for ease of use and maintenance). Easy. We needed a way for agents countrywide to upload products to their own "selling silos" - there's a plugin for that too. Multivendor plugins are easy to find. And since these "Garage Sales" are real "events", we needed an events plugin - plenty to choose from - very easy.
Anyone who has set up a website for ecommerce would have spotted the problem immediately - in this case eCommerce plugins are not designed to work seamlessly with events. In our case it absolutely had to work for the customers. They needed to find a sales event in their area, which in turn allowed them to find the relevant basket of items on sale in the relevant agent's online shop, and then pay a deposit on items to secure them in advance of the actual sales event, where they would pay the balance and collect.
Off-the-shelf versus tailor-made solutions
There is much to say about how we did it, but the secret sauce will not be disclosed in order to protect our client's business due to imitators trying to do the same. After months of trial and error, we had a working model that could go live. To date we have had many minor iterations, but the basic model is intact. Everything works great!