E-commerce platform recommendations?

There're plenty e-commerce platforms out there, but which to use for selling fonts?

It's get a bit tricky with a variable product (single weights/families, licences for print/web/etc and the amount of usage like cpu/pageviews/etc). Which platform offers the best experience for the customer and meet the requirements for more or less general pricing models (e.g. calculating quantity discount for every added font or number of users/pageviews)?

Comments

  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,174
    I'm also curious if anyone is using generic platforms :) From what I have seen, the small amount of products and huge amount of product variations ("SKU"s) involved in font selling means most foundries write their own shop code, because generic e-commerce platforms are optimised for many products and low variations (like ebooks or music files.) 
  • We use WordPress with Easy Digital Downloads (EDD).
  • Exactly. If you want a good shop, go custom.

    If you just want to at least be able to do some of those kind of things, semi-complex e-commerce platforms like Drupal Commerce can work, but you’re not going to be very happy with any of those in the long term, and it takes a lot of hacking them to get there.
  • Exactly. If you want a good shop, go custom.
    If you have $20,000+ budget and a 12month+ development window.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,174
    We use WordPress with Easy Digital Downloads (EDD).
    How many products and SKUs are you offering? :)
  • We use WordPress with Easy Digital Downloads (EDD).
    How many products and SKUs are you offering? :)

    Gradually adding the whole library (200 plus fonts) in Desktop, Web, mApp and ePub each with price variations for user/pageview nubers.

    The main things I have learnt since starting our own e-shop, besides how much time and effort it takes to get it up and running, is just how much time is required on maintenance, updates, marketing and customer communications. If you are considering your own e-shop it will make a big dent in your font productivity time without additional resources (people) to help you.
  • Experiencing this custom shop barrier to entry right now getting things ready (been working 12month+) for an early 2017 launch. I'll reiterate that the custom solution seems necessary to do it right for the long-term.
  • Exactly. If you want a good shop, go custom.
    If you have $20,000+ budget and a 12month+ development window.
    I never said anything else.

    I hacked our own shop together (with no PHP knowledge) with random Drupal / Drupal Commerce plugins back in 2011, often designing the site to adapt to whatever plugins I could find, instead of actually designing a good user experience.

    Then we relaunched with another Drupal-based site in 2013, a bit less cobbled together but still pretty badly done.

    Currently, we’re working on our own custom shop, and I’m very much looking forward to spending more time on making the experience better versus trying to keep the ship afloat in the future.
  • Gerben DollenGerben Dollen Posts: 8
    edited August 2016
    Thanks everyone for their thoughts and experiences, much appreciated.
    We use WordPress with Easy Digital Downloads (EDD).
    Hmm, this excludes the possibility of selling additional physical goods I'm afraid.
  • Shoppify can do anything needed in the retailing of font licenses, I'm advised.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,848
    Shopify does multi-user discounting now? That’s cool.
  • Shopify has a very difficult time using a type testdriver since all external stuff must be run through its proxy server. Also, @Miles Newlyn can you send a link to the multi-user methods available?
  • @Stuart Sandler
    unfortunately I don't have a link, the advice I had on this was from Jake Giltsoff at Adobe.
  • Gerben DollenGerben Dollen Posts: 8
    edited November 2016
    Someone suggested me https://www.opencart.com I haven't looked into this properly yet though.
  • I think Typofonderie uses (or used) Lemonstand, which is one I've been looking into.

  • AbrahamLeeAbrahamLee Posts: 255
    I use Woocommerce for my e-shop. It has lots of plugins, many free, some paid. It also has the benefit of supporting as many product variation types as you want, both digital and physical products.
  • A year ago, we started working on e-shop for our friends. Since they had same requirements and wanted to split the costs, we made an e-commerce platform.

    Check out the website https://www.lttrshop.com/ 

  • I think Typofonderie uses (or used) Lemonstand, which is one I've been looking into.

    LemonStand was shut down on June 5th, 2019. Mailchimp bought them.
  • FWIW, Guido Ferreyra is starting FoundryCore, “a specific web development service for type foundries. It aims to help them to take their work online by building tailored websites by using digital fonts specific knowledge and tools developed after years of working with type on the web.” After getting in touch with him, he sent me some videos. Looks very promising.
  • No experience with it, but it seems an increasing number of foundries rely on fontdue.
  • @Quinn Keaveney Might I wrap up your comment as scalability issue.

    How do we want to address this?
    There are two solutions we are planning to build:
    1. bulk administration for a large number of font families.
    2. headless frontend integration (API first approach) allows creating completely own frontend interface. For end customers, it will look more native. So the subdomain will be unnecessary.

    Once we got more foundries in, those features become priority NO1.
  • Malcolm WoodenMalcolm Wooden Posts: 57
    edited June 2020
    A few more integrated solutions have popped up recently. Not endorsing, just listing.
    https://www.slonline.sk/portfolio/slonline/elefont/
  • The last update on fontdue appears to be almost a year back. That doesn't bode well. 
  • I think https://felicianotype.com/ as well 
  • Giuseppe SalernoGiuseppe Salerno Posts: 2
    edited March 26
    We decided to use Fontdue and we are happy with it 

    http://www.rsztype.com
  • Adam TwardochAdam Twardoch Posts: 503
    edited March 27
    FontLab, FontCreator, Glyphs.app and RoboFont all use FastSpring to sell the licenses of the apps. And it’s not a conspiracy, it just seems that each of these 4 font editor makers arrived at the decision independently.

    FastSpring acts as the point of sales so bookkeeping is simplified, they’re offer many payment methods and offer digital downloads. They also offer complex discount schemes, coupons, ability to prepare custom orders, and a programmatic API. 

    They’re inexpensive, offer good support and are reliable. In fact, tons of software app vendors use FastSpring. 

    However, they don’t offer anything font-specific. Presentation, testdrive and all such functionality needs to be self-hosted. 

    I personally find that it’sa good idea to separate presentation/marketing from e-commerce technologically. For the former, you can these days build even a static HTML site that you can host anywhere, and you can switch technologies as you like. And using a dedicated 3rd party provider for the e-commerce means that you can spend your time doing what you like most. Which may perhaps is type design or development. 

    If you really like the actual selling, then I think you should set up your own shop. :) 
  • Adam TwardochAdam Twardoch Posts: 503
    edited March 27
    Ps. I organized FontLab’s switching from our custom store to FastSpring last year, and after about 10 months I can say I’m quite happy.

    Their HTML components for the cart look a tad dated, but their backend, their responsiveness, their support and the set of features they offer (for selling software apps) are good. We’re happy.

    It was quick & easy to set up and it’s hassle-free to operate. 

    I think FastSpring is a good solution that sits between distributors like MyFonts and self-operated shops. You still need to have your own website, but that website can concentrate on »pre-sales«.

    (And no, I’m not getting any bonuses from recommending FastSpring 😀) 
  • Adam TwardochAdam Twardoch Posts: 503
    Dave wrote: 

    > the small amount of products and huge amount of product variations ("SKU"s) involved in font selling means most foundries write their own shop code, because generic e-commerce platforms are optimised for many products and low variations

    I agree. Solutions like FastSpring perhaps don't scale well for fonts. But they're quick to set up, so you can start selling within a week. This still gives you the option to research & develop your own solution afterwards. 

    When I talked to some people who wanted to set up their own shop (that was some years ago), I told them:

    Go with a distributor like MyFonts first so you can actually start selling. Then do your own shop.

    This way, you're not in limbo during the shop development, and once you launch, you can compare the revenue & cost of both channels. So it's like A/B testing. This will make your decisions more informed. You can always withdraw from other channels later.

    One foundry I advised said “no no, no MyFonts, we want to be exclusive, setting up our own store will be quite fast”. Two years later I met them and they said “You were right, we should have listened to you. We’re now close to launch but we’ve lost two years of sales.”

    So my advice is: use a distributor like fMyFonts first, then work on your presentation website & outsource digital e-commerce to an entity like FastSpring, and only turn start building your own shop. You'll have better analytics this way, and your can always cancel the key channels.
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