Sustainable Drupal Distributions - Part 2 - The Software You Need

This is the second in a four-part series on building a sustainable Drupal distribution using Commerce Kickstart 2.0 as an example.

A sustainable distribution is one that displays the following software attributes: High quality, Extensible, Well Maintained, and Evolving.

Furthermore, for an eCommerce distribution, all of the stakeholders need to benefit: the customers, the merchant (site-owner), the primary software vendor, secondary software vendors.

(See yesterday’s post describing the main criteria to look for when evaluating a distribution.)

In this article I show how Commerce Kickstart 2.0 is sustainable for all of the parties involved.

Commerce Guys is the software vendor that writes and maintains Drupal Commerce and Commerce Kickstart. For our work on this software to be sustainable, we’ve had to find ways to generate revenue from the distribution, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to keep investing in it. 

The following revenue models support the development of Commerce Kickstart while also leading to software that has all of the traits of a sustainable distribution. Each one has the goal of providing you with the software you need when choosing Commerce Kickstart.

1. The Commerce Marketplace and Technical Partner Program

The heart of the commercial model of Kickstart is the Commerce Marketplace. It's a growing set of resources that help merchants build great eCommerce experiences. In addition to learning materials, Marketplace is home to the add-ons from our Technical Partners. Nearly every eCommerce site needs to integrate with service providers for payment, shipping and fulfillment, email marketing, analytics, and compliance tools (tax calculation, PCI compliance).

Commerce Guys is in the process of building a repository of the best partners in each of these categories and making the modules directly accessible from within Kickstart. Early adopters of this program include Jirafe, Skrill, Payleap, Yottaa, and HostedPCI (coming soon) with many more are in the pipeline. This helps the various stakeholders in the following ways:

Merchants benefit from easy access to the best-of-breed solutions. This will eventually include the ability to download and install the modules directly into Kickstart, including instant product activation and configuration. Imagine being able to configure your payment gateway in just a few clicks instead of the days to weeks that it typically takes now.

Merchants may also benefit from special deals offered by our Technical Partners. For example, some partners are willing to lower their prices for Drupal Commerce users or offer other incentives that aren’t publicly available.

Customers benefit by shopping from superior eCommerce sites. For example, many site owners don't know how important it is for eCommerce to have a transactional email provider that protects sender reputation. They learn the hard way that sales and conversions suffer when important emails end up in their customers' spam boxes. The Commerce Marketplace not only provides solutions to such common problems, it also serves to educate merchants about available tools, helping them avoid pitfalls and provide the best customer experience possible.

Commerce Guys benefit from the partnerships formed with third party solution providers by engaging in affiliate and reseller relationships that let us benefit from the adoption by our merchants. We also offer module development and maintenance services to these partners so they can quickly get their Drupal Commerce integration module written by the experts and listed on the Marketplace. We provide bug and security fix updates to the modules as well as major Drupal version upgrades. In short, we help our partners address the Drupal Commerce market.

Our Technology Partners benefit by knowing that their integration module is well written and well maintained. They are instantly ready to do business with the more than 21,000 merchants who have already chosen Drupal Commerce.

2. Custom Module Development

Beyond the Marketplace and the Technical Partner Program, Commerce Guys sustains the development of Commerce Kickstart by providing custom module development. If a merchant is building an eCommerce site and needs a special commerce feature or integration with ERP/CRM/BI software, Commerce Guys is happy to build those special components or modules. As often as possible we look for ways to contribute those components back to the community to strengthen the Drupal Commerce software platform, paving the way for even further investment from others in the future.

3. Kickstart Mobile Application

We've also invested in a base mobile application for iOS and Android that integrates out-of-the-box with Commerce Kickstart. It provides a full catalogue, search, cart, and purchase workflow. If you have a Commerce Kickstart site and want a dedicated mobile application for your customers, we've got the solution for you. Here are some screenshots, contact us if you need something similar.



Through Commerce Marketplace and a Technical Partner Program, Commerce Guys has taken steps to guarantee that Commerce Kickstart development is sustainable. This is good for merchants and their customers as well as for Commerce Guys and our Partners. By offering custom component and mobile application development services, Commerce Guys makes sure that you can undertake the most ambitious projects with Commerce Kickstart knowing all of the software needed for success is available, both now and in the future.

Next: Part 3 - The Knowledge You Need

Robert Douglass's picture
Director of Products
Posted December 18, 2012

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