Our experience with building and taking care of hundreds of e-commerce sites has earned us the leading position amongst Czech shopdevelopers. However e-commerce is being globalized and the fact that we are ahead of the game locally is only of little significance in the global market. That is why, after a great amount of research on global trends, hours of debating and consulting with the top experts, we decided to make the biggest change to our business yet and make our next product, including the source code, available to everyone and for free — as open source software.
We have made one of the biggest and most important decisions in the history of our company — the next version of the ShopSys platform will be in a form of the so-called open source software. This means that you will be able to take our platform and build your own e-commerce site with it, completely for free, independent of the supplier, owning the codes. Imagine something like WordPress as an e-commerce solution for your site.
Moreover, you can do the same as an agency, build on our platform and then offer the e-commerce solutions to your customers. There are no exceptions, no limitations; there is no catch in it.
We are launching a product of which we are convinced is the most technologically advanced system for building e-commerce sites tailored to one’s needs. Up until now we have invested several years of development, as well as millions of Czech crowns into this project, and now we are making it available for you — open to use, modify and alter however you want and need, and for free.
The market is unforgiving and the world won’t wait
The e-commerce market is constantly evolving and shaping, and if we want to take care of our customers even five years from now, we have to keep up with it. Here are 5 trends that currently influence e-commerce on the global scale and are expected to come into play on the Czech market, too, and have a greater impact than any other local tenders or investments:
1. Market consolidation — as the e-commerce sales are growing globally, the e-commerce pie is becoming less and less up for sharing as majority of the profits goes to the e-commerce giants
2. SaaS platforms — the improvement of the SaaS platforms has made them more technically adept and suitable even for mid-sized businesses
3. In-house development — e-commerce platform has become a crucial part of a successful business, large online shops have been gravitating towards in-house development, regardless of the extra costs and stress that this decision carries
4. License model on the decline — the value of software license has been falling worldwide with the rise of SaaS
5. Open source — the popularity of this free of charge software with an open source code has skyrocketed and is not seen as a cheap alternative anymore, but rather as an engine of inventions that is commonly used. No matter what size the business, open source yields large throughput saving and faster technological progress.
We ourselves have encountered these changes happening over the last few years. We have scrutinized each of them, compared data, debated with both Czech and international experts, asked our customers and partners, and after six months of intense preparation we could discuss these topics for days.
Currently, the vast majority of shopdevelopers and hundreds of e-commerce sites in the Czech Republic and Slovakia are all developing their own framework. However if we take the aforementioned trends into account, this situation is unsustainable and disadvantageous as it wastes the important resources we have — the talent and capacity of developers. We are pretty sure this might as well be a way to hell. Truth is we have paved it ourselves and we’ve been putting the decision to look for new ways aside for a long time.
We know we will lose part of the profit. We know that it may seem counterintuitive to give away our product and know-how that we value so much to companies that have been our direct competitors.
So why on Earth are we doing this?
Although we are one of those businesses that constantly try to contribute to the developers’ and e-commerce community (be it through ShopCamp, Barcamp Ostrava, PHPlive conferences, or Symfony meetups), this decision is not based on altruism but business.
1. Global challenges, global ambitions — from our point of view, winning a local competition only heralds a fall from a greater height. E-commerce is a global phenomenon and one’s position on the map is a less and less relevant factor. Anyone who steals your clients is a competition, and more often than not our competitor will be a global shopdeveloper, rather than a local one. However this also works the other way around — our company situated in the fairly small city of Ostrava can easily work for foreign clients.
2. There’s not that much to lose — sold licenses pose only a small portion of our revenue, recently it has been about 4 %, and the rest of the revenue comes mainly from services, not a product as such. This shows that our competitive advantage isn’t necessarily the platform itself, despite the fact that it is the best, but it is our experience and approach.
3. Opportunity — there are only two companies in the whole world that do what we want to do, both of them are starting out. We have a competitive advantage over both of them, be it our size or the open source model. There is a huge niche in the market and we have all the cards for it. For us this is a real chance to become the new global standard in developing big e-commerce solutions.
4. People — last but not least, we see this as an opportunity to enable our software engineers to work on something that is beneficial to all, not just the customer, to create something that is bigger than us. We want to give our people a chance to go down the history, say “I was there!”, and we hope that other e-commerce professionals and software engineers will be intrigued by this opportunity, too.
Let us introduce you the ShopSys Framework
- ShopSys Framework will be a pure open source under MIT license.
- It will be available to be used by in-house team developers of large e-commerce sites, smaller shopdevelopers, competition, anyone, and for free.
- We will be able to create and develop e-commerce sites for ShopSys clients in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and all over the world without binding them, as they will be able to take over the source code anytime.
- ShopSys Framework has realistic global ambitions, which is one of the reasons why we decided for open source.
To make our plan a reality we are hiring new employees, offering an MVP app to our partners to test out the software. If you want to talk about open source itself, where are we headed with ShopSys Framework, or if you are an investor, about the opportunity to accelerate our growth, feel free to contact us!
Let the future of e-commerce frameworks begin!