Feb 06 2019
Feb 06

At the end of 2018, Dries Buytaert, creator of Drupal, asked folks involved with the project to share their thoughts on what's "holding Drupal back." His prompt came on the heels of two great blog posts related to his company Acquia's growth strategy and lessons he's learned and applied from Amazon's growth strategy. I didn’t beat his third post on overcoming Drupal’s obstacles to the punch, but the series did prompt me to think long and hard about the barriers we face as maintainers and leaders of the Commerce project within the Drupal ecosystem.

For the entirety of our existence, Commerce Guys has focused on building and promoting Drupal as an eCommerce platform, first through Ubercart and then Drupal Commerce. While eCommerce is a huge industry, our reach within the community has only averaged around 5% of all Drupal sites. Given the diverse and varied types of users Drupal serves, I consider this relatively low number unsurprising. (A certain percentage will also choose to integrate third party shopping cart systems, but historically that’s always been a fraction of the number of Drupal sites using our native solutions.)

It’s tempting to be fatalistic about Drupal Commerce’s growth and accept that our growth rate will be pegged to Drupal’s own growth rate so long as our relative percentage holds. It actually is an important baseline to acknowledge - our success is tied to Drupal’s success, and so we prioritize contributing to initiatives that help improve Drupal’s core APIs, make it easier to maintain and upgrade, and attract new audiences through API-first / JavaScript initiatives. However, I think we can and should do better than just waiting for growth to happen upon us.

Why should I think we can do better?

After Dries’s posts last year I compared our usage statistics for Commerce 2.x (on Drupal 8) to our usage statistics for Commerce 1.x (on Drupal 7) at the same point in its life-cycle. What I saw convinced me we have plenty of room to grow:

  • In 2013, Drupal Commerce 1.x grew from 23,224 to 33,989 sites.
  • These numbers represent growing from 4.02% to 4.50% of all Drupal 7 sites.
  • Our average growth rate that year was 3.89% month over month; Drupal’s own growth rate was 2.72%.
  • In 2018, Drupal Commerce 2.x grew from 3,097 to 6,980 sites.
  • These numbers represent growing from 1.41% to 2.85% of all Drupal 8 sites.
  • Our average growth rate last year was 8.65% month over month; Drupal’s own growth rate was 1.23%.

Just based on those numbers, even though Commerce 2.x grew over twice as fast last year as Commerce 1.x did in a similar timeframe in its life-cycle, we still represent only half of the relative number of Drupal sites we did back then. We can double our user base on Drupal 8 without challenging our historical average representation at all. That’s good news!

Our growth rate right now is fantastic, especially compared to Drupal's own. There are likely a variety of factors at play here, but I think it boils down to some combination of recognized maturity, excellent word of mouth from a steady stream of case studies, and our contributed module ecosystem stabilizing to a point that Drupal 7 / Commerce 1.x sites are finally porting to Drupal 8 / Commerce 2.x. As our 2.x project lead recently observed, we’re now up to over 250 contributed modules on drupal.org and maintain a community support Slack channel with over 1,000 participants.

Eliminating barriers to growth in 2019

In order for us to keep up and even accelerate our rate of growth, Commerce Guys has been working hard to identify our barriers to growth and develop solutions to them. As a small team playing in a large market (against very well-funded competitors), we can only do so much … but every bit of progress on any of the following fronts will help.

1. Features and integrations

The biggest barrier to growth has historically been our under-developed contributed module and integration ecosystem. Ecosystem development is incredibly important - agencies don’t often have the expertise or confidence to develop new features or integrations themselves. Our major competitors (Magento, Shopify, et al) all have massive ecosystems that third-party software vendors take the initiative to join while our own ecosystem remains dependent on our own team or the core of our development community to expand.

2. Developer support and education

It’s tempting to point to performance and scalability as another barrier to growth, but we see poorly performing Drupal Commerce sites as a symptom of another issue - lack of exposure by the average Drupal developer to best practices for scaling sites with a large amount of authenticated (or otherwise cache-breaking) traffic. We know that we can scale Drupal Commerce to support 10,000+ transactions per hour and thousands of concurrent users, but we also know that otherwise capable Drupal teams struggle at a fraction of that scale. In other words, it’s not a capabilities gap, it’s a knowledge gap, and we’re to blame for not sharing what we've learned with our userbase.

3. Reaching our core audience

Finally, we’re hardly communicating to the market at all about why they should be choosing Drupal Commerce. Our websites are aging, and organizations who do decide upon Drupal are often confused about what sort of support, if any, we might offer them if they choose to adopt our software. We understand how our solution differs from other major players in the market and where it should be seriously evaluated (e.g. cross-border commerce, digital product sales, subscription billing), but we aren’t doing enough to demonstrate our capabilities or provide a vision for why merchants will be better off using Drupal Commerce than a competing application.

We certainly have our work cut out for us in 2019, but we’re encouraged by last year’s growth and the support of our friends and champions within the Drupal community. We believe we can work to eliminate these barriers to growth while building a sustainable business that allows us to grow without compromising our values. In reverse order, the basic roadmap we’re targeting to address those known-blockers above will be:

  1. Relaunch our company and project websites to more clearly communicate who we are, what our software can do, and how we support eCommerce teams to build with confidence on Drupal.
  2. Standardize our consulting efforts and support retainers into concrete, documented offerings that anyone can understand.
  3. Coordinate our development roadmap with more agency and technology partners to ensure essential contributed modules receive the attention they deserve and our integration roster continues to grow.

We'll be encoding our expertise into productized solutions that allow us to grow a team focused on ensuring eCommerce sites built with Drupal are optimized for stability, security, and scalability. We've always valued the impact we have on the Drupal community even as a small team, and we believe addressing these issues will afford us the opportunity to grow, broaden our impact, and grow Drupal itself as a result.

Sep 26 2018
Sep 26

We’ve had several great opportunities this summer to connect with the Drupal community and share our latest work on Drupal Commerce. We’ve been able to highlight specifically our efforts to progressively decouple Drupal Commerce on Drupal 8.

Drupal Camp Asheville 2018
Ryan Szrama gave a demo on Saturday, July 14, based on the Belgrade demo store that provided an overview of Commerce Cart API Flyout. We detailed this work in our recent blog post announcing the feature.

A fully decoupled Drupal Commerce experience—including support for complex forms like checkout—is something that Commerce Guys is committed to delivering by the end of 2019. Until then, our strategy is to progressively decouple the product catalog and shopping cart to help sites scale in addition to opening new user interfaces. In Ryan’s words, “We started with the shopping cart because that’s the obvious way to help large websites avoid a common bottleneck for performance.”

Watch Ryan’s session to learn more about the Commerce Cart API project and see the demo.

Decoupled Drupal Days 2018
Next, Matt Glaman presented his talk “The road to a headless Drupal Commerce future” at Decoupled Drupal Days in NYC.

The session reviewed the development of the Commerce Cart API in greater depth. It covers our research into the RESTful Web Services and contributed JSON API projects (potentially in core soon) as future dependencies that the Cart API can adopt. Matt demonstrated even more progress on the project since Ryan’s demo, including a fully decoupled React based front-end.

This talk put the progressively decoupled Drupal Commerce Add to Cart form and shopping cart on display for the community with the expressed desire that Drupal based merchants will have an out of the box experience rivaling other major e-commerce software platforms.

Drupal Europe 2018
Matt’s session at Drupal Europe covered our latest developments in the Commerce Cart API and Flyout as part of the dedicated eCommerce track. This was an iteration of the Drupal Drupal Days session, including any improvements and additions in the time between Drupal Europe and Decoupled Drupal Days.

If you’re interested in contributing to the roadmap for decoupling Drupal Commerce, connect with Matt to learn where to get involved or how to give us feedback from your implementations.

Aug 01 2018
Aug 01

We recently released Drupal Commerce 2.8 and are excited to highlight some of the new features. We also published new releases of two key contributed modules that make lightning-fast, client-side Add to Cart forms possible, representing a significant improvement to the customer experience.

Drupal Commerce 2.8 adds BOGO support

The most significant new feature in the 2.8 release is the “Buy X, Get Y” offer type funded by Norwegian Drupal agency Ny Media. You can now configure promotions with just core functionality that grant free or reduced price products after a set number of other products have been added to the cart. This work required a re-architecture of parts of the promotions data model and a redesign of the user interface to make it easier for merchants to create promotions in general.

Configuring a BOGO promotion

Other key updates and improvements in this release include:

Read the release notes to get the full scope of additional updates and also to learn about some backward compatibility breaks that affect custom promotions, custom tax types, and order processors. We'll keep chipping away at the core roadmap and plan to add query-level entity access to the API for the next release.

Commerce Cart Flyout “Add to Cart” Update

The newest release of the Cart Flyout module includes notable updates to its JavaScript based “Add to Cart” feature. In addition to powering an editable shopping cart in a “flyout” sidebar, it now improves the Add to Cart experience with a very fast client-side solution using resources defined by the Commerce Cart API.

The standard Add to Cart form uses Drupal’s Forms API to update form elements based on attribute selection. It can submit three to four Ajax requests on average while customers select a product variation, but the new module can build, update, and submit the form purely in the client via JavaScript. Because the server sends the browser all the data it needs to build the interactive form in the initial request, we're able to avoid any additional requests to the server until the customer is actually ready to initiate the Add to Cart. Check it out:

Following up on our Commerce 2.8 release, we've released updates to our Cart Flyout and Cart API modules to build, update, and submit dynamic Add to Cart forms purely in the browser via JavaScript. More on this decoupling effort in the latest blog: https://t.co/yXcZOv1RQy pic.twitter.com/bIikuiERaq

— Drupal Commerce (@drupalcommerce) August 1, 2018

Even under high visitor load, users will have a faster experience overall. Server resources are only devoted to users who decide to convert. Casual visitors can browse and modify product variations as much as they like and not affect other users’ load times. This is yet another step on our path toward providing a progressively decoupled eCommerce solution for the community to build robust experiences for merchants and consumers.

Jul 27 2018
Jul 27

Commerce Guys maintains a suite of ecosystem modules that give merchants easy access to third-party integrations as part of leading the Drupal Commerce project.

Historically, the issue queues for these modules were looked at when a client requested it or someone from our team had spare time, but that timing was pretty irregular. To provide developers and merchants with a better experience, we’ve decided that moving forward we’re committing dedicated time to review these third-party issue queues on a regular basis.

Our Commitment
Once a week, we’re setting aside time to review new issues in the queues. We’ll use that time to do several things: identify bugs, direct people toward resources to help them solve their problems more quickly, identify earlier when we need more information from the reporter, and help move community patches forward.

Cleaning the Current Queues
As part of this renewed focus on integrations, we’re starting by cleaning up the issue queues. To give ourselves a clean slate, we’ll be closing a lot of these older issues. This will allow us and other contributors to focus on relevant problems. There are a significant number of old issues hanging around that represent duplicate bug reports, tasks that were resolved via other patches, or issues that cannot be resolved without clear steps to reproduce the problem.

What to if we close an issue you still need resolved?
If we close an issue that you’re still having problems with please let us know! For old support requests, we likely closed them because the issue queue isn't the best place to get Commerce support. To find a broad base of people who are willing and able to help you (including us), please use the Drupal Answers Q&A forum with the drupal-commerce tag instead.

For old bugs, the best thing to do would be to reopen the issue with additional information. Please include any error messages you’re seeing, custom code that may affect the module, and clear steps to reproduce the bug. Screenshots or recordings of the issue in action would be great, too!

May 15 2018
May 15

On April 2, 2018, Acquia retired Mollom, a spam fighting tool built by Drupal founder Dries Buytaert. As Dries tells the story, Mollom was both a technical and financial success but was ultimately shut down to enable Acquia to deploy its resources more strategically. At its peak, Mollom served over 60,000 websites, including many of ours!

Many sites are looking for alternatives now that Mollom is shut down. One such service Commerce Guys integrated earlier this year in anticipation of Mollom's closing is Human Presence, a fraud prevention and form protection service that uses multiple overlapping strategies to fight form spam. In the context of Drupal, this includes protecting user registration and login forms, content creation forms, contact forms, and more.

Similar to Mollom, Human Presence evaluates various parameters of a visitor's session to decide if the visitor is a human or a bot. When a protected form is submitted, the Drupal module requests a "human presence" confidence rating from the API (hence the name), and if the response does not meet a configurable confidence threshold, it will block form submission or let you configure additional validation steps if you choose. For example, out of the box, the module integrates the CAPTCHA module to rebuild the submitted form with a CAPTCHA that must be completed before the form will submit.

We believe Human Presence is a great tool to integrate on its own or in conjunction with other standalone modules like Honeypot. Furthermore, they're joining other companies like Authorize.Net, Avalara, and PayPal as Drupal Commerce Technology Partners. Their integration includes support for protecting shopping cart and checkout forms, and we are looking for other ways they can help us combat payment fraud in addition to spam.

Learn more about Human Presence or reach the company's support engineer through their project page on drupal.org.

Apr 27 2018
Apr 27

Last week we announced the Commerce Cart API module with a goal of facilitating new patterns for Commerce 2.x shopping cart management. As far back as the launch of Lush's UK store, we began seeing more sites adopt one such pattern where the cart block just shows an icon or the number of items in the cart but clicking on it expands a sidebar that lets customers update the cart contents via JavaScript interactions:

Lush UK cart flyout

We saw this more recently with a similar feature on the Orlo watches website launched by our friends at 1xINTERNET:

Orlo watches cart flyout

We expect each successive Drupal Commerce release to cut down the number of things every site developer has to do to launch a new store. Providing a general solution to this cart paradigm would do just that! We received positive feedback on the cart flyout at DrupalCon, so building on the Cart API, we have now released Commerce Cart Flyout to provide a progressively decoupled cart block and form, which gives customers a more modern cart update experience.

What does the Cart Flyout module do?

  • Provides a new cart block which triggers the cart form flyout.
  • Allows quickly changing quantities of an order item.
  • Allows removing order items without a page refresh.
  • Gives flexibility for design and interaction that is not limited by Drupal's Form API and rendering layer.

What is next

  • Provide better user feedback when an operation occurs, such as dimming the form when the auto-update happens.
  • I would love to see the add to cart message's "your cart" link trigger the flyout.

Check out the demo video!

Demo of the Cart Flyout module

How is it built?

In discussion with Bojan, we decided to use Backbone.js and Underscore.js for the implementation since they ship with Drupal core. Yes, it was a journey back in time, but it also provided a way to ship a contributed project without introducing an additional dependency for end users.

The module stores Underscore.js templates in Twig files that register to the theme registry. The decision to use Twig and the theme registry allows themes to customize the template and markup. We do this for our demo theme Belgrade, which you can see in its code repository: http://cgit.drupalcode.org/belgrade/tree/templates/commerce/cart.

In fact, I used a ReactJS implementation to test the underlying API and prototype this module. If you’re interested, see the test sub-module in the Cart API repository.

Apr 19 2018
Apr 19

At the end of February, I began working on an series of API endpoints that would allow for a progressively decoupled cart experience. There are a few reasons why we decided that Drupal Commerce needed an API solely for the cart.

  1. Performance: when a cart block is rendered on the server it has complicated cache metadata. Cart block contents vary per user and change too often to be cached effectively. As such these blocks incur heavy logic and rendering costs.
  2. Flexibility: modern consumers expect interfaces to be more reactive and match common UX patterns. These patterns almost always require client-side implementation using JavaScript that communicates to backend APIs.

In my last blog I brought up why the API-First and JavaScript Modernization initiatives matter to Drupal Commerce. I wanted to target something limited in scope that would provide big wins for Drupal Commerce users as we ventured into the fully and progressively decoupled Drupal realm.

As a result, we now have the Commerce Cart API module. Our first implementation will be the Commerce Cart Flyout module, which uses the RESTful endpoints provided by the Cart API module to create the dynamic cart interface shown in the sample animation below.

Demo of the cart API with the upcoming flyout module

This moves us decidedly down the path of providing Drupal Commerce users with progressively decoupled components that improve the customer experience. In a following blog post, I’ll going to write about what it was like to build this module. (Hint: we didn’t “just do it” and release it into the Drupal.org namespace.)

I am planning on experimenting with more areas that we can perform progressive decoupling and look forward to connecting with folks about the topic at Decoupled Drupal Days in August. You should meet me there to join in the conversation!

Apr 07 2018
Apr 07

Commerce Saloon sponsor badge

Commerce Guys is joining forces with some of our Technology Partners and several contributing agencies to promote Drupal Commerce at DrupalCon Nashville from April 10-12, 2018.

We are colocating our booths to create the Commerce Saloon, your one stop shop to learn all things Drupal Commerce. Our booths will feature jam band instruments, multiple demos (including a new store theme), exclusive swag, and case studies to help you learn how teams are succeeding with Drupal Commerce.

Come try Drupal Commerce 2.x

DrupalCon Nashville is the perfect time to learn what's new by joining our week long sprint at the "Power Up" tables by the Commerce Saloon. We'll be training new contributors and working on the project together using sprint kits powered by DRUD's ddev local development environment.

We prepared the following sessions to help you learn more about Drupal Commerce and its ecosystem:

  • Contributing to Drupal Commerce (for beginners)
    Tuesday, April 10th, 12:00 PM | Commerce Saloon: "Power Up" Table | By: Matt Glaman
  • Drupal Commerce 2.x Update and Roadmap Planning (add it to your conference schedule)
    Tuesday, April 10th, 3:45 PM | Room: 203A | By: Ryan Szrama / Bojan Zivanovic
  • Marketing and Selling the Drupal Commerce Ecosystem (as seen at DrupalCon Vienna)
    Wednesday, April 11th, 10:45 AM | Commerce Saloon: "Power Up" Table | By: Ryan Szrama
  • Decoupled Drupal Commerce / REST APIs (for developers)
    Wednesday, April 11th, 3:45 PM | Commerce Saloon: "Power Up" Table | By: Matt Glaman
  • Subscriptions and Recurring Billing in Commerce 2.x
    Thursday, April 12th, 10:45 AM | Commerce Saloon: "Power Up" Table | By: Bojan Zivanovic

Hear from every Commerce Saloon sponsor

There's a lot to be said about how Drupal Commerce is making merchant and agency teams more productive, and you don't just have to take our word for it. Each Commerce Saloon sponsor has something unique to teach you about succeeding in eCommerce, and we encourage you to seek them and their sessions out:

  • Acro Media (Booth 803) - Test drive Commerce POS at their booth and hear its business case from Becky and Josh! You can also purchase (for free) a limited edition Drupal Commerce t-shirt through Acro Media's demo site.
  • Authorize.Net (Booth 911) - Authorize.Net offers several payment tools that let merchants get paid securely online. We've joined forces to demo Accept.js, their new drop-in solution for PCI compliant payment.
  • Bluespark (Booth 908) - Bluespark contributed significantly to Commerce 2.x development via their Sport Obermeyer project (check out their awesome case study) and have long promoted Drupal Commerce as a hotel booking solution.
  • Commerce Guys (Booth 809) - Stop by for a demo of Belgrade, our new default store theme for Commerce 2.x, or for a demo of, Lean Commerce Reports, our first SaaS product that offers a plug-n-play sales dashboard for Drupal Commerce.
  • Drupal Commerce Technology Partners (Both 811) - This booth features representatives and demos from Avalara and Lockr. Talk to them about tax automation and about eCommerce security respectively.
  • MailChimp (Booth 813) - MailChimp has revitalized their approach to eCommerce email marketing and has a full integration available for Drupal in the MailChimp eCommerce module. Stop by to learn more!
  • Zivtech (Booth 909) - Zivtech has a long history of implementing eCommerce in Drupal, including joining the Drupal Commerce project in late 2009. Talk to them about using Drupal Commerce as a front-end for third party applications.

Finally, be sure to catch Promet Source's showcase session on helping The Corning Museum of Glass migrate from Commerce 1.x to Commerce 2.x and Rick Manelius's session on the dos and don'ts Drupal Commerce project estimation.

Schedule Time to Meet

If you're heading to DrupalCon, we'd love to chat about Drupal Commerce with you. Use our meeting request form to get on our calendar to discuss a particular project or need, or subscribe to our newsletter to be kept in the loop more generally.

Mar 29 2018
Mar 29

On March 21st 2018, the Drupal security team posted a public service announcement that Drupal core would be receiving a security release. The vulnerability affected Drupal 6, Drupal 7, all versions of Drupal 8, and Backdrop (a fork of Drupal during the rewrite to version 8.) On March 28th that security release landed, and the Drupal world went scrambling to apply updates. As maintainers of Commerce Kickstart we have to be conscious of Drupal core releases, especially security ones.

Release bash commands

In preparation for the upcoming security release, we had patches ready to commit. Since there would be no other Drupal core releases before the security update, we could make our prepared changes ahead of time and push them once the releases landed. Within minutes of the security release dropping and the Git backend for drupal.org becoming available, the release tags were pushed.

For our Pantheon users, our first step was to merge in Pantheon’s Drupal 7 upstream and receive the Drupal core security fix. Once the packaging system of drupal.org built the Commerce Kickstart 2.53 release, we pushed that out as well.

All in all, by 3PM CDT the drupal.org releases for Commerce Kickstart 1.51 and 2.53 were out. We experienced some packaging issues due to a malicious attack hitting drupal.org during the security announcement and a backed up packaging queue. However, we monitored chat channels and communicated the process throughout.

Commerce Kickstart 1.51, 2.53 released. The @getpantheon upstream has been updated as well. GO AND GET YOUR SA-CORE-2018-002 FIXES NOW.

— Matt Glaman (@nmdmatt) March 28, 2018

Thanks to the Drupal Security and Infrastructure teams for handling this release and all the stress they endured.

Feb 27 2018
Feb 27

Drupal core has two initiatives that are helping modernize our platform and make it easier to work with. There is the API-First Initiative and the proposed JavaScript Framework Initiative. While separate, these two initiatives have a big and somewhat overlapping impact. Together they will make Drupal an even greater eCommerce platform and allow us to do more amazing things with Drupal Commerce.

What is API-First, and why should it matter?

API-First

The initiative has a simple purpose: make it easy for the data managed by Drupal to be consumed anywhere. A common need driving the initiative is the usage of Drupal with a decoupled frontend — i.e. where a JavaScript library or mobile app is rendering content from Drupal but Drupal itself has no part in the render process.

We have our own hot buzzword in the eCommerce realm: omnichannel. What does omnichannel mean? Well, it’s this idea you’re selling anywhere and everywhere. Your products are controlled in one location and appear on Amazon, Walmart.com Marketplace, Google Merchant Seller, custom mobile apps, in-store kiosks, etc. You manage your products in Drupal and push the relevant data out. The API-First initiative will make it easier to integrate with these kinds of services.

It also expands what Drupal Commerce can be, beyond just a full-stack store. In one recent case study, Running a Billion Dollar Business on Drupal Commerce, Drupal Commerce was used in a micro-service architecture. Drupal Commerce has the data model act as a product information manager, inventory management, an order workflow manager, and more — all the components you expect out of an ERP and tools Drupal Commerce users generally already use. The API-First initiative can make it easier to interface with Drupal and allow Drupal Commerce to serve in these capacities.

JSON output of a cart

Current Drupal Commerce users already implement the RESTful Web Services module and JSON API to accomplish these tasks. I look forward to what can come as Drupal core has better support for exporting internal data for external consumers.

Modernized JavaScript will build a better Drupal Commerce

JSDrupal

What was your last online shopping experience like? How did the shopping cart work? Did the checkout refresh itself or specific parts of the page? Did it have fancy loaders and other doodads that let you know it was processing without refreshing?

Drupal has some dated JavaScript. While it has a pretty robust JavaScript API all things considered, it was written by PHP developers for PHP developers. We have Underscore and Backbone in Drupal 8, but they became outdated for the modern web by the time we got to use them.

For an example of where we'd like to be, take a look at the following Add to Cart experience. There’s no page reload, but adding a product to the cart shows a confirmation alert and my cart block increments its quantity. These are interactions we are growing accustomed to and taking for granted, until we have to implement them.

In Drupal Commerce, or Drupal rather, this currently would involve adjusting the add to cart form to support an #ajax call. You'd have to hope that a status message block is present to render the success message, and then you have to make a best guess to target the cart block and change it’s quantity. All of this needs to be done in PHP to build Ajax response commands. It’s possible, but it shouldn’t be so hard.

With the API-First initiative we can begin to build a public facing API for working with carts. Then with modern JavaScript tooling in Drupal we can start to build components with ReactJS to enable these experiences. If ReactJS isn’t your thing, the groundwork is there to use AngularJS or VueJS and reference whatever comes out of the box as an example.

Having an improved Drupal core means an improved Drupal Commerce. These two initiatives let us tackle the frontend user experience and even the backoffice administrative experience.

Check out the other strategic initiatives

There are many initiatives happening, and all of them make an impact. If you have not read about them, I highly advise you check out the Drupal Core Strategic Initiatives page.

Feb 22 2018
Feb 22

When Commerce Guys raised $5m in 2012 to grow Drupal Commerce and its ecosystem, we invested a big chunk of it in improving our user experience for both customers and administrators. With competing platforms like Shopify and Magento really coming into their own, we knew it was essential to provide a solid out-of-the-box experience. While Drupal Commerce was and is truly unique as an eCommerce framework natively extending and deeply integrated into a CMS, it turns out "flexibility" doesn't pitch nearly as well as a polished demo.

Investing in Drupal Commerce adoption

The product we developed to address that need is Commerce Kickstart, by far the most popular Drupal distribution ever built. I named it such to underscore the fact that we intended it to be an accelerator, both for Drupal Commerce's own adoption but also for newcomers wondering how to demo and develop with the software. At its height, we supported over 13,000 sites reporting in to drupal.org, and we continue to see new sites launch with it to this day.

Building the distribution proved to be a fantastic learning experience. The project drove improvements that worked their way into many contributed modules and Drupal core itself (e.g. contributions to Views, VBO, Entity Reference, Inline Entity Form). Its broad appeal also gave us a platform to invite Technology Partners to invest in the community in a way that Drupal hadn't seen before, many of whom continue to invest in Drupal today (e.g. Authorize.Net, PayPal, Avalara).

It was a ton of work, but Bojan, Jonathan, and their team accomplished everything we set out to do and more. With the release of Commerce 2.0 last fall, we now find ourselves regularly fielding the question, "What's the plan for Commerce Kickstart on Drupal 8?" The reality is, porting Commerce Kickstart as it is to Drupal 8 would be both too costly for our team today and a poor strategy for the way the Drupal market is developing. We're doing something new again.

Accelerating adoption today

Another frequent question we field is, "Why does Drupal Commerce require Composer?" Composer is often highlighted as a barrier to Drupal 8 adoption, and I can understand why. I always felt the same way about drush. I had a UI; why did I need a CLI? I had my process and never had to battle the command line to make sure drush worked, was up to date, and did what I expected. I always felt that way ... until I buckled down and learned it. Now I can't imagine using Drupal without it.

I felt the same about Composer at first, but I was determined to learn how to use it as I learned Drupal 8 and modern PHP in general. I know I'm not the only person suffering from tool fatigue (cf. Dries ; ), so we're doing what we can to help you ease into using Composer on your own terms.

We started by releasing Ludwig last summer, a Drupal project that lets you manage Composer dependencies similarly to the familiar Libraries module. We also expanded and documented a Composer project template that lets you create a new Commerce 2.x site with composer create-project, and we then began planning how to let users customize a project template via the browser while prototyping a GUI for Composer.

With today's release of the new CommerceKickstart.com, developed in partnership with Acro Media (thanks to Shawn McCabe, Mike Hubbard, Jace Bennest, et al), we're taking the next step!

Commerce Kickstart for Drupal 8

What you'll find there is that Commerce Kickstart has been reimagined for Drupal 8 rather than rebuilt on Drupal 8. The quickest way to get up and running with Drupal Commerce today is not through a distribution as it was 6 years ago, it's through Composer. This is the tool for modern PHP developers, and we see prioritizing Composer while also making it simpler to use as essential to growing Drupal Commerce adoption both from without and within the Drupal community.

While still in its infancy, CommerceKickstart.com presents a form that lets you construct a Composer JSON file ready-made to support Commerce 2.x and the contributed modules you specify. Module categories include payment and shipping providers, product catalog and search tools, data migration, and more. As with Commerce Kickstart 2.x, it features Technology Partners whose modules we have integrated into Commerce 2.x, and we expect the selection to continue expand.

Future plans for the tool include clarifying and improving the tool's usability, adding additional modules and Technology Partners, and evolving it to continue to lower the barrier to entry for new Composer users. If you give it a whirl, we'd love to hear your ideas as well in the Commerce Kickstart issue queue.

Feb 14 2018
Feb 14

Florida DrupalCamp 2018 finally arrives this weekend, February 16-18! Commerce Guys is a Gold sponsor this year, and I will be heading down to the conference to talk about Reporting in Drupal Commerce.

With Drupal Commerce 2.4 out the door (see yesterday's release notes), our focus is shifting back to the contributed module ecosystem. As Bojan highlighted in our year in review blog post, we have now ported many essential modules and pushed for them to achieve stable releases. With 55 payment gateways, shipping support, and work on recurring payments in progress, we've identified reporting as our next major initiative.

Reporting is obviously essential to eCommerce. Merchants need to know which products are selling, if a marketing campaign is producing new sales, how much sales tax to remit, and more. Each new type of report brings unique challenges related to understanding, querying, and visualizing the underlying data.

At Florida DrupalCamp, I will discuss the requirements and challenges we've identified in reporting within Drupal Commerce and the solutions available to our users in the Commerce Reports and Commerce Google Analytics modules. Finally, I will also unveil Commerce Guys’ newest product, Lean Commerce Reports.

Lean Commerce Reports dashboard

Lean Commerce Reports, which we first showed off at DrupalCon Baltimore, is finally production ready. Over 80 stores use Lean Commerce Reports to add a plug and play sales dashboard to the back end of Drupal Commerce. The dashboard gives store owners immediate visibility into their sales trends, traffic by channel, conversion rate, and top selling products over time. Furthermore, each summary report on the dashboard links to a full report you can further explore, refine, export, etc.

Jonathan and I have worked really hard these last few months to get Lean Commerce Reports to where it is now, and I can't wait to show it off in Orlando. If you miss me there, come find us at DrupalCon Nashville or get in touch if you'd like to try it out while it's still in private beta.

Nov 01 2017
Nov 01

Drupal Commerce is more than just a module project. As I laid out in my session at DrupalCon Vienna, it is an entire ecosystem supported by dozens of agencies and powering well over $1.5bn in online transactions annually. This makes Drupal Commerce one of the largest open source eCommerce projects in the world, and it's thanks in no small part to our Technology Partners (comprised primarily of payment providers) that we are able to invest as much of our time in it as we do.

Braintree is one such partner and a fantastic supporter of Commerce 2.x since last Summer. During our sprint to release a beta at DrupalCon Dublin, they sponsored Bojan's time for two weeks to expand and improve the core Payment API.

As a result, they also became the first integrated payment gateway and the test case for any payment provider following their integration pattern - individual iframes embedded into the checkout form for each payment field, making it easy to securely collect payment card data through your own checkout form.

For the initial release of the Commerce Braintree integration on Drupal 8, we targeted basic credit card payment support via their Hosted Fields API. As of this week, we've finalized patches that add support for PayPal Express Checkout and PayPal Credit alongside credit card payment through Braintree. They are a PayPal company, after all!

PayPal Express Checkout modal in Commerce 2.x
Customers can pay via credit card on-site or Express Checkout via a modal dialog.

You can test the new features end to end by grabbing the latest release of the Commerce Braintree module and configuring it to work through the Braintree sandbox. If you get stuck, you can find us in the #commerce channel in the Drupal Slack or open an issue in the queue if that's not possible.

Thanks again to Braintree for their support and development sponsorship. If you'd like to learn more about how Technology Partners benefit our ecosystem, consider joining me and Commerce Braintree's D7 co-maintainer Andy Giles this weekend at DrupalCamp Atlanta (Nov. 3-4). I'll present a longer version of my DrupalCon session, Marketing and Selling the Drupal Commerce Ecosystem, and naturally I'll tap Andy to help me answer all your hardest questions. ; )

Sep 26 2017
Sep 26

We released Drupal Commerce 2.0-beta1 at DrupalCon Dublin one year ago. Over the next 9 months we tagged 6 more beta releases comprising over 500 commits by 70 different contributors working for at least 10 different companies. Now, just in time for DrupalCon Vienna, we have tagged the full 2.0 release, celebrating the achievement with Drupal contributors around the world on September 20th and 21st.

Celebrating Commerce 2.0 with Circle WF in Pancevo, Serbia.
Celebrating Commerce 2.0 with Circle WF in Pancevo, Serbia.

Our release candidate phase was refreshingly uneventful (as you want it to be), giving us confidence to recommend developers begin using Drupal 8 and Commerce 2.x more broadly to develop their new eCommerce sites. Our team has contributed to a dozen projects directly, including architectural consulting and development. We also continue to see more case studies demonstrating how the new version is performing well at scale, making development teams more productive.

Additionally, not only has Commerce 2.x eliminated the need for half of the top 60 contributed modules in Commerce 1.x, many of the major contributed modules still required have seen their own releases or very active development to address important use cases. For example, we released a third beta of Commerce Shipping for Drupal 8 to support stores selling physical products with multiple shipments, flat rate, calculated rates and more. We continue to work on those feature modules ourselves (e.g. Commerce License / Recurring) and in partnership with other Drupal contributors (e.g. Commerce Stock) to make Commerce 2.x ready for more and more use cases.

Drupal Commerce deserves cake. Thanks, Drupak!
Drupal Commerce deserves cake! Thanks, Drupak.

We're believe in Dries Buytaert's vision for Drupal as empowering ambitious digital experiences. For us that means continuing to improve Drupal Commerce to better support any company aspiring to grow their online sales. While our work on the project will never be "done", at this milestone, we couldn't help but pause to celebrate with a bit of cake.

If you'd like to join us in celebrating this achievement, we're hosting a release party with our whole team and our friends from Commerce Guys by Actualys on Tuesday, September 26th, at DrupalCon Vienna a short walk away from the venue. We've timed it for dinner between the opening reception at the venue and the party later in the evening, with drinks and food on us until the tab dries up. Stop by our booth to get your ticket / directions, and come find the dozens of contributors here at DrupalCon to share your Drupal Commerce story with them in turn.

Sep 05 2017
Sep 05

The Drupal Commerce 2.x development process has been one big adventure! Over the last 2.5 years we've accumulated 2,000 code commits in multiple repositories from over 70 contributors at dozens of agencies. With last week's release of a stable Commerce 2.0-rc2, we've started preparing to celebrate the full release with parties around the world.

Our plan is to release Commerce 2.0 on Wednesday, September 20th, just in time for us to show it off at DrupalCon Vienna. On September 21st, we are coordinating a series of release parties at the offices of a variety of contributing Drupal agencies, including 1xINTERNET, Acro Media, Actualys, Adapt, Blue Oak Interactive, Circle WF, MD Systems, Wunder, and more.

Drupal Commerce 2.0 showcase sites

With over 1,500 sites reporting usage and a growing number of high quality case studies, we can all feel proud of what we've achieved together. Many of these projects directly contributed to the development of core and other essential features in Commerce 2.x, including promotions, coupons, shipping, etc. We've created a Drupal Commerce 2.0 party list and showcase that we'll be updating as we go, and we invite you to get in touch to be added or to find a party near you.

The release parties will give you and your team an opportunity to review the important new features and capabilities Commerce 2.x offers out of the box. We'll provide basic slides covering those topics, and we invite you to add to them for your part to reflect on your agency's experience and involvement with the project thus far. (e.g. What Commerce 2.x sites have you launched? How did those projects go? What parts were contributed back? etc.)

Any other ideas? Leave 'em in the comments and help spread the word!

Jun 19 2017
Jun 19

Drupal Commerce and Square

Square's pitch is pretty straightforward: accept payments anywhere, no coding required. They nailed this first through their simple phone based card readers and their slick in-store tablet interface. They also made it easy to process all major credit cards, guaranteeing deposits as soon as the next business day.

They're now rolling out their same great support for merchants online with the steady release of open APIs for eCommerce applications. With our recently released Commerce Square module for Drupal 7 and Drupal 8, you can now pitch Drupal Commerce to existing Square customers in your area.

Thus far we integrate their payment APIs for full checkout and administrative support in Commerce 1.x and 2.x. We're working with Square to integrate new APIs as they become available in pursuit of our vision to enable the turnkey creation of online stores for Square merchants using Drupal Commerce.

Among the module's primary benefits, especially when used in conjunction with Square for retail sales, are:

  • You can sell online, and in person, with all of your sales in one place. Integrating your physical and online retail operations will ultimately simplify the management of your business.
  • Accept all major cards, (including Apple Pay and Android Pay in-store) and pay one simple rate per tap, dip, or swipe. (Note: Square also offers custom rates for qualifying stores processing over $250k annually.)
  • Integration is simple and seamless for Drupal Commerce on both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8. (Look for new features to come into the D8 branch first and be backported, as additional contributed modules may be required to make up for core features that were added in Commerce 2.x.)

Square’s eCommerce API is on the bleeding edge of integration technology, making PCI compliance easy; customer credit card information never touches your website, so you don’t need to worry or complete a single checklist. Each component of the payment method form is an embedded iframe hosted on Square's server and returns a payment token identifier used to capture payment. We actually designed the Commerce 2.x checkout form to treat these types of payment methods as first class citizens, so expect the integration to just work.

Sign up for Square and get free processing on your first $5,000 in sales.

As part of our module launch effort, Square has teamed up with us to offer free processing on your first $5,000 in sales. If you or one of your customers are interested in learning more, review the offer details here and hit us up in the issue queue if you run into any problems!

May 03 2016
May 03

Three months ago Commerce Guys separated from Platform.sh to refocus the business around Drupal Commerce. Even as a three-person team (we're now four - welcome, Doug!), we worked hard to dedicate Bojan completely to Commerce 2.x in anticipation of DrupalCon New Orleans. As I discussed in the most recent DrupalEasy podcast, this resulted in great progress both for Commerce 2.x and for Drupal 8 itself. (It also kept us near the top of the most prolific contributors to Drupal. : )

While we're preparing to present the latest in Drupal Commerce in our session at 10:45 AM on Thursday, we're also getting ready to sprint on Commerce 2.x the full week from our booth. This will be our first opportunity to jam on code as a full team since our spinout, and we'd love to have you join us.

Look for us near the permanent coffee station (intentional) beside Platform.sh and Acro Media, our delivery affiliate in the U.S. whose partnership and vision for enterprise Drupal Commerce have been invaluable as we've rebooted our business.

If you'd like to get up to speed on the current status of development, we recommend the following resources:

Naturally, we're happy to help anyone begin to contribute to Drupal 8 / Commerce 2.x. Bojan has mastered the art of integrating developers from a variety of agencies of all skill levels into the development process so far. For an espresso or a Vieux Carré, he may even train you, too. ; )

Feb 09 2016
Feb 09

Commerce Guys has long been a leader in the development of e-commerce websites using Drupal, with our flagship Drupal Commerce project running on over 60,000 sites. We are now releasing alphas of Commerce 2.x for Drupal 8 every two weeks, with alpha3 up next. Our first production ready beta is scheduled for end of March, but developers are already using our standalone libraries for addressing and currency localization in production. Written to support Commerce 2.x, these libraries gave us a chance to share our knowledge and experience with the broader PHP world.

Over the last several years, we have also developed and launched a second generation Platform-as-a-Service for web applications, Platform.sh. With thousands of customers and an ever expanding list of supported technologies, Platform.sh is now becoming an independent company led by my two partners, Frédéric Plais as CEO and Damien Tournoud as CTO. With the full support of our existing investors, Platform.sh will use this move to grow and adapt to meet the needs of the new development communities it serves.

As the remaining founder, I have acquired Commerce Guys' Drupal Commerce business. I am succeeding Fred to manage the company as its President / CEO and will lead it to refocus on the development and support of Drupal Commerce and its community. My co-maintainers, Bojan Živanović and Matt Glaman, will continue to lead our software development and consulting programs respectively, with goals to achieve a Commerce 2.x release candidate by DrupalCon New Orleans (join us! : ) and to offer more strategic consulting and support to companies implementing Drupal Commerce.

Finally, we are adopting a new operating model whereby we deliver full Drupal Commerce projects through exclusive regional affiliates. I'm pleased to announce two launch partners, Actualys of Paris, France and Acro Media of Kelowna, BC, Canada:

  • Actualys has acquired Commerce Guys’ France-based services team and clients. They will deliver Drupal Commerce projects as Commerce Guys France and facilitate promotion and development of the software in France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
  • Acro Media has acquired Commerce Guys’ U.S.-based services team and clients. They will deliver Drupal Commerce projects in affiliation with Commerce Guys in the United States and Canada and are dedicating developers and designers to the development of Drupal Commerce (and especially Commerce 2.x).

We expect to deliver strategic consulting services to these and other agencies and to deliver projects in territories not represented above. However, we do plan to engage additional affiliates in strategic territories throughout 2016.

Nov 04 2015
Nov 04

B2B eCommerce is growing. Fast. In fact according to one Internet Retailer article B2B online revenue will hit $1.13 trillion in sales worldwide by 20201. This is outpacing retail eCommerce significantly and is creating significant opportunity for manufacturers and other B2B companies to invest in online sales and marketing technology to better serve their clients’ demands. There are a number of factors in today’s business environment that contribute to this critical need to invest in better, more integrated web technologies. If you are unsure about whether it’s worth it to modernize your online technology, or you’re reluctant to set aside the appropriate budget for such an endeavor, this article provides strong reasons why this may be the best opportunity to grow your business and better serve your customers.

If you are a manufacturer, you are probably keenly aware of the industrialization of traditionally ‘3rd-world’ countries. While the quality of this new competition is often lower, the fact is that these manufacturers create downward pressure on prices in the market. And additional competitors never make it easier to keep and gain market share. Ultimately, margins on products are skinnier than they were a decade or two ago. Two major strategies are being considered to combat encroaching lost profitability and market share: cutting costs and going direct-to-consumer.

What many manufacturers have realized is that their technical infrastructure is outdated and their inability to leverage the latest web technology to modernize their business is costing them big. Legacy systems are typically spread across multiple technologies that are difficult and expensive to integrate and maintain. Often times, multiple databases become hard to manage and require manual data entry often by the company’s most valuable employees! Transitioning can be expensive, but modernized systems often reap the benefits of reduced stress and hassle, better customer service, reduced technical and inventory costs, and more agile marketing capabilities.

Another opportunity that many manufacturers are considering , is increasing their margins by removing the ‘middlemen’, and going direct to the end customer. The reward is higher profit margins and ownership of the end customer relationship. Direct ownership of the customer has benefits that go beyond higher profit margins as it also means better access to word-of-mouth advertising, easier brand management, the higher ROI on marketing dollars that goes with customer loyalty, and the customer behavior and preference data gathered through the process of directly servicing the customer.

The other obvious (and often painful) fact is that the methods of reaching buyers are changing. Buyers are less willing to be subjected to cold call2 sales efforts and less likely to click on banner ads3 4. Traditional online marketing is losing traction across the board. Marketing is seeping from every corner of our lives, whether it’s print, radio, web, apps, calls, and texts. You can’t even visit a news site without being confused about whether your clicking on an article or an ad disguised as an article! What buyers want to do now is research product details and pricing on their own and choose their supplier before they even pick up the phone, relying on that research to inform their interest and buying decisions. This requires that the right content is at their fingertips when they are researching your offerings.

In a recent article from ‘think with Google’5, statistics were presented that showed that a full 46% of buyers now fall into the 18-34 years old age range, and this shift has rapidly occurred over the last two years. These younger buyers will demand a different experience than old buyer portals with their poor user experience. Even the new ones created by ERP systems are typically years behind modern eCommerce technology, and can range from cheap and dirty to expensive yet constrictive. All of these ERP wholesale portals lack flexibility, scalability, etc. The hidden cost to the B2B merchant is frustration, loss of time, loss of growth, and ultimately loss of their loyal clients.

There is no question that significant revenue is transitioning to the online channel from traditional B2B channels. If you include revenue that comes through these traditional channels (sales reps and other direct offline orders), but was initiated by buyers’ online research, it accounts for a (most likely) majority percentage of overall revenue changing hands in the B2B arena. The distributor is sorely hurt if they do not have the right online experience. And these buyers are not likely to reach out before they move to another distributor. Their silent ultimatum is modernize or lose market share.

The hard part about making the transition is that it is a jungle in terms of technologies promising ‘robust’ B2B solutions. The discussion seems to always center around a list of features, which are used to compare one technology to the next. While it may be comforting to have these lists and comparisons, the crux of the matter is actually less about features, more about fundamental differences. Features create the blind spots, where decision makers stop thinking about how the technology choice will impact the end user experience, including the integration of commerce and content, and how it may create unnecessary dependence on a vendor. We often find that the focus on features creates an assumption that all other decision factors are equal, and in doing so, often lose control the ability to adapt quickly to market changes and maintain control over their business processes.

Aug 11 2015
Aug 11
At Commerce Guys we know the value of content-driven commerce. It’s the reason our founders built Drupal Commerce, to enable the seamless blending of content management and robust commerce within a single software platform. We are thrilled to see more and more people talking about this continued transformation in the eCommerce market.

On Friday, Apple Inc., one of the largest companies in the world, announced what they see as a major shift in their eCommerce operations via a post on their website titled "A new way to learn and shop on apple.com": Dear Online Customers, We’ve made a significant update to apple.com by combining the shopping experience with our product information to create a simpler site for all of our customers. This will make it easier for everyone to discover and purchase our latest products. Now you can shop everywhere across apple.com and purchase products right where you learn about them. For convenience, accessories are located with their product families. We’ve also combined search so it’s easier than ever to find Apple products, accessories, and support. We think this update will be a big improvement to the way you learn and shop on apple.com. Thank you, Apple Content and Commerce are two sides to the same coin. Without Content, no one knows what you're selling. Without Commerce, how does your website help your business grow? A powerful platform that allows for seamless blending of the two can make a business grow by strengthening its ability to attract new customers and effortlessly convert browsers into buyers.

Most eCommerce platforms do a great job at transactional eCommerce, but in today's ever changing online landscape, a business needs more than just a checkout experience to attract and engage prospects and turn them into customers. A flexible framework like Drupal Commerce allows companies to build a web experience with a single software that controls both sides of the coin. Content that engages and attracts customers and feature rich eCommerce which improves conversion rates.

As Apple stated “Now you can shop everywhere across apple.com and purchase products right where you learn about them.” Now that Apple has seen the value of blending rich product information with eCommerce, something that Commerce Guys already embraced, perhaps you should consider making similar improvements to your eCommerce strategy by taking a look at Drupal Commerce.

Jul 16 2015
Jul 16
If you are thinking about building something on Drupal 8, or maybe you saw the the recent television interview with our CEO Frederic Plais on France’s BFM Business channel, then here is what some of the hype is all about

1. Drupal 8 is coming, and Platform.sh has been ready since 2014

While other PaaS providers are playing catch-up, we’ve been running Drupal 8 successfully since last year, providing Drush 7 support and a Symfony-based CLI for local development. Platform.sh is also multi-technology, so that Drupalists looking to “get off the island” can easily run Drupal and Symfony and very soon Drupal and NodeJS side-by-side.

2. Leading Swiss publisher Suedostschweiz.ch is using Platform.sh and Drupal 8 in production, others are already in the pipeline

Since going live in June, Suedostschweiz.ch has been providing Switzerland with cutting-edge news, radio and TV in the form of a specially developed Drupal 8 portal. Since its launch, the site has taken over 12m hits in a 7 day period, making it one of the largest Drupal 8 sites in the world right now.

And that’s just the beginning. We have several other Drupal 8 sites that are currently in development and we’re working with our partners to deliver many more.

See more on Südostschweiz see the following release:
https://platform.sh/press/2015/05/groundbreaking-drupal-8-news-portal-go...

3. Platform.sh and Fastly (CDN) unleash Drupal 8 tagged caching

News portals and other sites with frequent content updates have been subject to at least one serious constraint up to now; careful scheduling of content updates that requires the entire global cache to be invalidated and re-built. The downside being massive spikes as every request is passed through to your backend webservers. That’s now a thing of the past, as Platform.sh can selectively invalidate both the reverse proxy, and via our own specially developed API, the CDN itself. This is one of the reasons Suedostschweiz.ch selected Platform.sh for its new hosting PaaS.

4. The Drupal Association (DA) is using Platform.sh for Drupal 8 (D8) Usability Testing

The Drupal 8 Usability Testing that was recently conducted in Minneapolis made great use of Platform.sh. This phase of Drupal 8 development is crucial to the success of the new CMS, and benefited greatly from Platform.sh’s unique ability to spin up multiple identical environments - on-demand and within seconds - for testing against many hundreds of different variables. Many of Drupal's leading lights are clearly recognising the value of Platform.sh to their landmark projects.

You can find out more on the D8 usability testing here: https://groups.drupal.org/node/470398

5. Platform.sh Enterprise offers a Drupal 8-ready, triple-redundant architecture that is secure, resilient and effortlessly scalable.

24/7 white glove support and comprehensive documentation round out the offer. With highly credible financial backers (including the recent grant from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program see https://platform.sh/2015/06/european-horizon-2020-grant/ ), we are accelerating our roadmap with a wealth of features that will boost the benefits of Drupal 8 and everything that goes with it.

Interested? Then get in touch at https://platform.sh/contact/

Jun 30 2015
Jun 30

Much ink has been spilled about which open-source ecommerce platform is the “best.” Most comparisons perpetuate what is typically an easy (but usually incorrect) way of understanding these two platforms and whether they are a fit for your business. They are often compared like word processors based on line item comparisons of features instead of powerful business growth engines and visible brand extensions that they are. To limit them to nothing more than published feature sets or architectural comparisons is foolish, unhelpful, and often leads companies down the wrong path. A better approach is to fully understand your current and future business requirements and make a decision based on which solution can serve those needs the best.

At a high level, the most important thing to ask is “do you know what you want and how you want it done?” If you don’t know what you want, then you will likely consider a tool with lots of features out of the box. The tradeoff is that those features come with assumptions that are set in stone. While lots of prepackaged features may feel good now, you risk not being able to adapt as quickly as your competitors or the possibility that modifying those features will lead to incompatibilities down the road. The alternative is a framework where you get a larger feature set and with fewer assumptions. The tradeoff here is that you have more work to do to get off the ground—planning and implementing the exact features and experience you want—but with endless flexibility to mold a solution that exactly meets current and future business requirements. Trying to compare these solutions through features alone just won’t do.

Let’s take a step back from the deeply rooted (and borderline religious) discussion of frameworks and function sets, and examine at a higher level both Drupal Commerce and Magento. For business owners who are trying to figure out what’s best for them and anyone who has any experience with either technology, let’s talk about what really makes Drupal Commerce different from Magento.  Let’s get away from discussions about classes, architecture, benchmarks, features, etc. and instead, talk about each solution and objectively what problems they solve and which they do not.

To start off, I’d like to restate a quote (attribute to Adobe SE leads) from Bryan House’s “Competing with Giants” presentation from DrupalCon Denver:

If you are looking at both (Adobe) CQ5 and Drupal, then one of us is in the wrong place.

This quote struck me. It sank deep into my soul. In a way, once I let the weight of these words really take hold, it completely changed my way of thinking. To help, consider this slight rewording:

If you are looking at both Magento and Drupal Commerce, then one of us is in the wrong place.

The obvious implication of this statement is that both Magento and Drupal Commerce have unique roles in the online commerce ecosystem. They are each geared towards certain types of projects and use cases. Instead of pitting each platform against each other to have a winner based on some arbitrary set of features or architecture, a better approach would be to first establish a clear understanding of customer needs. When the needs of a client are properly applied to the strengths of each platform, one will clearly meet those needs in a way that the other does not. Thus removing the need for a feature comparison.

Framing the solutions

What I’d like to endeavor here is (as much as possible) an unbiased and systematic approach to discussing Drupal + Drupal Commerce and Magento as unique solutions to the question of “which commerce platform should I choose?” Keeping the internals aside, here are the particular use-cases that make a lot of sense for a given project. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but if you’re trying to figure out which platform you should be looking at, then take a look. If you find one column aligning with your particular needs—chances are that’s the one that will be a better fit for your business.

Drupal Commerce Magento Content strategy various types of content with rich relationships, taxonomies, and categories catalog and product content with basic site content or blog Catalog complexity unrestrained catalog creation and product presentation options conventional catalog format and product presentation Product offering non-traditional and mixed-product offerings traditional physical and/or digital product offerings Platform functionality open, flexible feature set and custom application foundation commerce-focused feature set Admin interface basic yet, customizable admin interface robust, rigid admin interface User experience strong, defined vision for bespoke user experience best practice, industry standard user experience Business strategy commerce is a part of larger offering or experience commerce is the strategy Development skill level basic PHP knowledge required advanced PHP knowledge required

Now that we’ve drawn some lines, let’s discuss.

Content Strategy

Drupal Commerce (by way of Drupal) has an extremely powerful content system which allows for boundless creation of content types all with their own custom fields and attributes, editing experience, and a set of rich media tools. Content can be related to each other and those relationships can be harnessed to generate lists of related products and blog posts on product pages, or customized landing pages with unique product listings and content. It’s a breeze to set this up and you can do all of this without touching a line of code. If providing content and information to your customers is vital to your business and how you differentiate yourself from others, Drupal is what you want.

Magento, on the other hand, has a very basic content system. You can add pages, add some content to category pages, and adding attributes to products is painless. There are even some great built-in blog modules. But once you step outside of this, you’re in custom territory. You’ll either need two systems (like a blog or a CMS) or you’ll end up building it all custom into Magento increasing cost and ongoing support. Again, it’s not that Magento can’t do content at all, just that Magento’s content features are pretty basic. Enterprise does expand on this, but you still have a very limited tool set and code changes (requiring a developer) are usually required to expand on it.

Catalog Complexity

Magento offers what any reasonable person might consider to be a wholly conventional approach to catalog management. You have a catalog root, and from there you can create tiers of categories. Products fall into one or more of those categories. In fact, it’s pretty common for a product to exist within multiple groups based on how visitors will look for and try to find those particular products. But Magento is also pretty strict that products really can’t be displayed outside of this hierarchy. Aside from some of the product blocks for up-sells and cross-sells, your ability to display products is completely centered around this. Also, product listings are limited to lists and grids views without additional extensions or modifications.

Drupal Commerce releases you from this constraint. Products can be organized, tagged, and dynamically added to or removed from product lists automatically. A traditional catalog-like user experience can be built. But the catalog automatically follows how you already organize your product and can use virtually any attribute that exists on a product. And when you want to display your products, you can choose from a number of pluggable styles from tables, grids, lists, and each product can have it’s own customized look and feel in a product list, too. This can make a huge difference as you try to differentiate, promote, and get your visitors engaged in what you have to offer—no matter how many products you have or how complicated they are.

Product Offering

If you’re selling physical and/or digital products, both platforms are fairly good at that. In fact, Magento again has a lot of features that don’t require individual setup. Want simple and no-fuss sales of traditional products? Magento can tackle that easily. With Drupal Commerce, you start with a basic product structure and are then free to build exactly what you want no matter how complex it might be.

When it comes to non-traditional offerings—event registrations, donations, recurring billing, licensing, and subscription service models—Drupal Commerce provides tools to configure or build what you need without having to reinvent the wheel. And best of all, you can mix any and all of these product types pretty easily. So if you want to do registrations, t-shirt sales, and a recurring monthly donation, you can easily support that in a single site and in a single transaction.

Platform Functionality

Magento has a well implemented and cohesive commerce feature set. And frankly, if you’re judging a product solely on the published feature set, Magento looks good. That’s not because Drupal Commerce doesn’t have a great feature set—in fact it’s much more expansive than Magento’s—but Drupal Commerce’s flexibility is in the expansive and ever-growing list of modules. It’s hard to quantify. If you’re only looking for a shopping cart and you’re happy with what Magento provides, it may very well be the right choice.

However, if you are wanting to integrate features that go beyond commerce—you want to define and build your own custom application or create a totally unique customer experience—then Drupal Commerce will be a much better platform enabling you to adapt quickly to business and market changes.  Entire new areas of functionality can be configured and enabled just  like a new feature.  Whether you’re adding customer portals, forums, web services, an LMS, or even back office functionality, Drupal can give you the agility and freedom to change and grow as you need to.

Admin Interface

While Drupal’s administrative interface can be endlessly customized and tailored to your specific needs (in many cases without even touching the code), it generally tends to be pretty basic. It is trivial to create new screens, targeted to specific users, that gives specific information and actions that can be performed on that information. In short, you can get what you want, but you’ll have to spend the time configuring it.

Magento’s administrative interface is comprehensive and gives users a structured, well-defined way to manage the entire store. If you’re willing to use what’s out of the box, then it will serve you well. The pain will come if you ever decide to deviate from the out of the box experience. Customizations require code modification and even “small changes” could require considerable effort to complete.

User Experience

When it comes to user experience, Magento delivers a best-practices, industry standard implementation of a traditional shopping cart: you get a catalog, a cart with a one-page checkout, account pages, etc. It’s designed to be a finished product, so you can pretty much trust it will all be there and that it will work well.

Drupal Commerce provides all of that same functionality, but expects you to expend some effort to make it look good. At a minimum, you’ll need to theme it. That’s not much to ask since you’re likely already doing that for the rest of your site. Drupal’s theme system is extremely powerful and adding unique or advanced features can be really easy. In some cases, little to no theme work is required. In addition, the user experience for path to purchase can be more easily integrated with the content experience, giving the merchant far more content marketing and merchandizing avenues.

Business Strategy

Drupal is a powerful platform. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it is something that can’t be explained in a single paragraph. Drupal can be a community form, a wiki, an LMS, a translatable content management platform, a web services platform, and an online store. In fact, it could be all of these things at one time. If your vision calls for a platform that can do more than one thing, Drupal can rise to the challenge and integrate several business platforms under a single (software and hardware) roof.

Magento, no surprise here, is a shopping cart. That’s what it does. It does it well, but if you are wanting to integrate Magento with another part of your business (e.g. magazine subscriptions, forum membership, etc.) you’ll have to deal with two independent systems talking with each other. You’ll be synchronizing your data between multiple systems and having to keep everything up to date with custom or 3rd party solutions.

Development Skills

If you’re wondering how easy it’ll be to integrate your team with either Drupal Commerce or Magento, here’s what you need to know.

Magento is a very powerful and complex system. It’s makes heavy use of objects, inheritance, and programming concepts that are confusing to basic and even some moderately experienced PHP developers. Getting acclimated to Magento as a back-end or front-end developer could take weeks or months, depending on the experience level. Also, architecturally, Magento does have some profound gotchas when it comes to adding and developing many extensions on a site. Documentation is so-so but there is a very active community of bloggers, training is available, and Magento support is pretty widely available.

Drupal Commerce is much simpler and even people with minimal to no PHP experience can customize and pick it up within a few days. While parts of Drupal use objects (such as Views and the entity system) much of it is procedural. Drupal is designed to be much more accessible to individuals without coding experience. This flexibility is made available to non-coders through the various modules (such as Views, Rules, features, VBO, etc.) that offer powerful UIs to manage it. However, when code is necessary, bespoke modules can often be very simple. Documentation is generally very good for things like Drupal and Drupal Commerce, while contributed modules can vary from having non-existent to excellent documentation. Again, a very active and friendly community exists to support Drupal developers and users, and a wide range of training and support is available.

Conclusion

When deciding on an open source ecommerce solution, it is important to first look at the fundamentals of your business and identify your priorities. By doing this you will avoid the needless exercise of feature comparisons and checklists and quickly conclude that one of these solutions is simply not a good fit.  If content is important to how you engage with customers and sell your product and if you want to control and choose how the solution supports your business needs, Drupal + Drupal Commerce is generally the right choice.

Jun 25 2015
Jun 25
In today’s tech-driven culture, any business that’s looking to succeed must have an online presence. eCommerce, is rapidly becoming pervasive. There are plenty of high-cost, enterprise software solutions available as well as inexpensive SaaS options that provide turn-key ecommerce solutions.

Regardless of which solution you choose, both the enterprise solutions and the smaller SaaS solutions create liabilities and risk for your business. The reason is that they both lock your business into a cycle of license (or maintenance) fees and deep dependency on a single vendor to extend the feature set and remain relevant in the fast paced world of technology.

eCommerce software = Cable (or Satellite) TV.

Think about it. How much of your TV lineup do you actually watch? Probably less than 10%. In fact, back in September of 2014, Nielson reported that most American Households watch only 17 of the 189 channels that the average TV service provider pipes into our homes. This wouldn’t feel so bad if the average cost for pay-TV service wasn’t climbing at an astronomical rate.

So it’s no surprise that many are deciding to ditch their cable company and get the specific entertainment options they actually use, without over-paying for services they don’t want and will never use. People ultimately want to choose their entertainment options and control what it costs. Do a Google Search for cord cutting and you’ll get countless articles detailing fed-up customers and fearful pay-TV executives. You’ll get even more links to how-to’s and YouTube videos with advice on how to get the content you want, often for free… or at the very least, less expensively via streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and others using devices like an Apple TV or Google ChromeCast (plus, more every day). It’s clearly a tipping point for home entertainment, and the big companies who provide the content are taking notice.

Something very similar is happening online.

Companies are also beginning to look at their eCommerce platform in the same light. Rather than a huge code base and feature set that makes vast assumptions about their requirements, many of which they will never use or simply won't fit their business model, they are looking for solutions that can exactly meet their current and future needs without costing a fortune.

As mentioned previously, any business today must be online. It’s not a nice to have anymore or a service reserved for companies with specific plans to sell online. Your customers will be shopping online. If not with you, then with your competitors. Companies today are increasingly choosing free open source solutions rather than proprietary solutions that lock them into contracts, license fees, and a single vendor. Those companies choose software that offers a flexible framework rather than rigid technology that can’t deliver on all their requirements. They are embarking on a strategy centered around a web publishing framework that allows them to build something that exactly matches their business needs and doesn’t come pre-packaged with anything that will compromise the experience the customer receives.

Only need a catalogue online? Get that without having to disable features that come with the enterprise software that’s costing X over the next Y years. Ready for eCommerce? Enable it. Need a new feature? Build it in-house, or pay a web developer to give you exactly what you want. The alternative is to submit a feature request and wait helplessly through the software vendors next (and next, and next) release cycle for the feature you need. An open-source framework allows you to build a modular web application with just the features you need... and none of the features you don’t.

That’s why Drupal is the perfect software for web publishing. And why over 1 million sites have been built with Drupal. Its modular architecture and community supported framework allows companies to get just the experience they are looking for without the bloat.

And thankfully for companies who have eCommerce requirements, Drupal Commerce provides the perfect extension of that framework. It brings the modular thinking to selling online, lets merchants pick only the features they need to sell their products online, and skips the licensing, the bloatware and the software release cycle. If you need to enable a specific third-party connection, or have a unique product to sell (like digital goods or subscriptions) there are modular components that let you do that. Enable them and you’re good to go. And if you’ve come up with a new idea and there isn’t a module that lets you just turn that on, well then, there are many services companies with developers ready to build it and a huge community of developers to support it.

So if you’re planning on cutting the cord at home (or maybe you already have), why not do the same with your eCommerce solution??

Jun 22 2015
Jun 22

Commerce Guys has been promoting the value of content-driven commerce for many years, and we are thrilled to see more and more people talking about this continued transformation in the eCommerce market. One company that has recognized this important trend is Forrester Research, who makes a strong and compelling case in their "Content And Commerce: The Odd Couple Or The Power Couple?". In particular, they point out that companies who differentiate themselves by providing a unified user experience to tell their story should consider a tightly integrated solution that provides both a rich Content Management System (CMS) and a flexible eCommerce transactional engine.

Today there is almost no barrier to selling online, making it increasingly difficult for companies to differentiate themselves online, create a strong web presence, and attract customers. The solution for many will be to focus more on creating unique user experiences, supported by interesting content, which allows their users to execute transactions anywhere along the buying journey within the context of that information. The challenge today is that this experience requires CMS and eCommerce to work together seamlessly. Unfortunately most companies manage these two functions separately with two distinct systems. This approach results in added complexity and a disjointed and inconsistent user experience that is confusing to users and damages their brand.

According to Forrester, "the convergence of content and commerce platforms is already well underway. [They] expect that these two solution categories to be foundational elements in digital customer experience management"1. They go on to say that "In an ideal world, commerce and content platforms would have fully converged into customer experience management platforms, with commerce services seamlessly exposed through best-in-class digital engagement tools and supported by social, testing, and content management services." - "But this ideal isn’t likely to exist in the near future"1.

Drupal + Drupal Commerce Provides Seamless Content & Commerce

The future is NOW - and the reality is that Drupal + Drupal Commerce is the only platform with commerce natively embedded in a CMS, offering a seamless digital experience management solution with a single code base, administration, and database.

Why is this not more widely known?

While this may be news to many, Drupal Commerce has been around for over 5 years and has over 57k active sites. It consists of core and contributed modules, support by Commerce Guys and the broader community, that can be dropped into Drupal (which itself has been around for 10+ years and has over 5 million active sites) allowing transactions to occur anywhere within the user experience created. Contextual relationships between content and products are extremely easy to create - something that is hard to do when you bolt together separate CMS and eCommerce platforms. A great example of the power of Drupal + Drupal Commerce is www.lush.co.uk which helps Lush in the UK tell their story, engage their customers, and sell more product.


Who Benefits from a Content & Commerce Solution?

Potentially everyone, but in particular are brands who benefit from a differentiated user experience that enables them to tell their story through interesting content and community engagement driving sales within the context of that experience. In addition, existing Drupal sites looking to add transactional capabilities is another obvious fit. With an existing investment in technology, skills and content, there is no better choice than to "drop in" commerce functionality, through Drupal Commerce modules, anywhere. Integrating with a separate eCommerce solution and bolting it onto Drupal is a common approach and certainly possible, but the result is added complexity, cost and valuable customer information that is spread out across multiple systems. Two systems makes it harder to create a level of contextualization and a unified experience that buyers are looking for. Given the increasing importance of targeting and personalizing content and offers and knowing your customer, having customer information in one place allows companies to merchandise more effectively.

What Should You Do?

1Read the Forrester report. They get it right, and they are one of a growing number of analysts talking about the value of content-driven commerce. 22. Don't get stuck on features. Yes, they are important, but they will also change, and you need a solution that will adapt and allow you to take advantage of new ideas quickly. Instead, consider how your business will benefit by creating an experience that keeps your customers coming back and makes it easy for them to buy. 33. If you think your business would benefit from a richer user experience, or if you just want to simplify your infrastructure with a single platform that can serve both your content and commerce needs, take a look at Drupal Commerce - you will be pleasantly surprised by what you see. -----
1. Stephen Powers, Peter Sheldon with Zia Daniell Wigder, David Aponovich, Rebecca Katz Content And Commerce: The Odd Couple Or The Power Couple? How To Choose Between Using A Web Content Management Solution, An eCommerce Platform, Or Both (Forrester, November 19, 2013) 11,14
Mar 17 2015
Mar 17

You know It's coming - you can feel it, hear it, and see it - the low but powerful rumbling of change - the next big wave of innovation in ecommerce.

Buying and selling online has become second nature and a core part of our lives - yet there is fundamental change underway in how people are thinking about ecommerce and how transactions of all kinds should be woven into the fabric of an engaging online user experience.

Content Sells

The importance of content in creating online experiences that drive people to buy is becoming increasingly important to online merchants and brands. Is there any doubt that this next wave of innovation will in part be centered around a more fluid content driven commerce experience?

Companies who are using a traditional catalog based ecommerce solution are realizing the importance of content to online revenue growth and that simply integrating their ecommerce solution with a separate CMS solution is ultimately not a great solution and creates unnecessary complexity. As a result, many companies with mature online revenue channels are beginning to define their next generation systems.

Ingredients of a Revolution

Fundamental change and a common vision are key ingredients for any Revolution. Mix in a large and growing community of stakeholders who all stand to benefit from this change and you begin to see momentum shift.

But it all starts with needs that are not being met.

Talk to anyone who has been using or delivering ecommerce solutions over the past view years and you will hear a discontent with their current system and in general the future of ecommerce.

What is the source of this discontent and what do they want their ecommerce solution to do that it isn't doing now? Here is what we hear.

  • My current ecommerce solution doesn't provide me with powerful enough CMS functionality to deliver the type of experience that I need to attract and keep users on my site.
  • I have too many systems to manage and maintain - one for content, one for online transactions, one for orders, fulfillment, and inventory and it's hard to integrate them and expensive to support - and even harder to create a unified experience for my users.
  • I need to be much more agile and timely in adapting to changes in the market and responding to the changing behavior of my customers. My technology needs to support this iterative approach that is critical for my business.
  • Technology is way too complex so I really would like a service that insulates me from the complexities of technology so that I can focus on my business - BUT - I don't want to sacrifice flexibility and control over the functionality my business needs and I CAN'T be locked into a single vendor who doesn't have my interests in mind.
  • I need ecommerce functionality that is more modular - rather than an all-in-one solution that resides in a large and separate codebase - so that I have greater flexibility in how and where commerce exists on my site.

Drupal + Drupal Commerce

While Drupal + Drupal Commerce won't solve all of your problems, it will address many of these fundamental challenges, and it will solve them far better than most ecommerce solutions today.

Why? Because it is built, supported, and extended on a massive scale by the largest open source community to address the needs of users just like you.

Join the Revolution

Want to be part of this change? Join us for the first Commerce Revolution on Monday afternoon, May 11 right before the start of DrupalCon Los Angeles. This is a great opportunity to learn, engage, and hear how customers, integrators, and agencies are addressing the shifing needs in ecommerce with Drupal + Drupal Commerce. This is an exclusive, invitation only event. If you would like to receive more information when we officially announce the Commerce Revolution on March 30, please let us know by completing the form below.

Feb 13 2015
Feb 13

We're always on the lookout for great sites built with Drupal Commerce, our truly flexible software that's changing the face of eCommerce one site at a time.

Perhaps the biggest strength of Drupal Commerce is it's flexibility, and that's clearly at work on the Novus Bio web site, a niche eCommerce site that's servicing a unique need in BioTech. Novus Biologicals features a commerce suite with a multitude of products available internationally for buyers of many different languages. Not to mention they are selling "cells", How cool is that?

Drupal Commerce Spotlight Site: Novus Bio

To see Drupal Commerce sites we've Spotlighted in previous weeks view the Other Spotlight Sites

Jan 30 2015
Jan 30

We're always on the lookout for great sites built with Drupal Commerce, our truly flexible software that's changing the face of eCommerce one site at a time.

Pam Kerr is one of New Zealand's leading independent jewelry designers. Her company - Pam Kerr Designs - had a Shopify site that served retail customers well, but it didn't meet their growing B2B needs. With the help of Blue Fusion, a New Zealand based web design and development chose Drupal Commerce for its flexibility, power and customizable user interface.

For more information, check out the full write-up DrupalCommere Showcase

 

To see Drupal Commerce sites we've Spotlighted in previous weeks view the Other Spotlight Sites

Jan 24 2015
Jan 24

Use Case Experiences from Agencies and Merchants

Platform.sh is a 2nd generation Platform as a Service (PaaS). It accelerates your PHP/Drupal/Symfony based project development and reduces the risk of moving new features into live. Some customers are seeing circa. 40% reduction in project budgets and revenue loss prevention, whilst gaining huge improvements in developer productivity, eliminating environmental resource management and reducing live downtime to zero, all at commodity hosting prices! For an Agency providing web development, commerce and hosting services, or the end customer themselves, understanding the detail behind these very powerful messages is an important factor to making the right decisions around the critical tools and technologies that impact their business, especially if say the pricing structure appears to be a little higher than the known alternatives.
 

There is a huge amount of eCommerce experience built into Platform.sh

Commerce Guys are involved in many leading edge developments that are pushing the boundaries of how eCommerce is being utilized and evolved to meet new business models, many of which are tied into faster development, more frequent changes and better uptime. These include the migration of offline customers into advanced online purchase environments; encouraging said customers to spend more money whilst at the same time becoming less expensive to support, requiring tighter integrations of support and customer care functions; also important is the delivery of B2C-like experience for B2B customers; as well as defining online and mobile strategies in conjunction with each other; Drupal 8, Distributions etc. etc.

What gives Commerce Guys the credibility to offer such a convincing project development tool? We are a commercial software vendor, and we’ve invested several $m into building the Drupal Commerce application and its Kickstart distribution (deployed into over 50,000 active sites), so we know how to develop successful software products on an industrial scale. Of further relevance is the deep involvement we have in so many of our partner projects each year, providing analysis, design authority and development skills that puts us in the middle of hundreds of individual and unique development processes ! What we have engineered into the heart of Platform.sh is the flexibility to overcome the big problems and common manual activities that hold project teams back.  

Different customers, all with common problems

Let’s take a look at a handful of typical eCommerce customers, and work through their issues:

  • A Digital Agency (DA) with a global pharmaceutical client who has many simple but different web-shop brands across 18 European countries.
  • A Systems Integrator (SI) with a high street optician as their customer, with an eCommerce system covering 14 territories. They have all the usual requirements of a high end client plus an unusually complex hosted infrastructure accommodating various index sites and 10 plus environments in each location, totalling 150 service instances.
  • A Retail Fashion client rolling out a Distribution based eCommerce system to 4 geographies.
  • A pureplay online marketing business providing 4,000 products through a Social Media community exceeding 200,000 people in 22 countries around the world, of which the mobile traffic accounts for over 70% of their revenues.

And although both the Agency and the Integrator are at the high end of technical capability, and the 2 retailers have way less experience, they all have similar sets of problems that only Platform.sh seems to be able to solve.

Complex eCommerce applications versus simple brochure-ware sites

To properly emphasize the advantages that Platform.sh brings to an eCommerce system, we first need to draw a comparison between the complex and transactional nature of these customers’ applications, and that they usually work differently in each country, and as such require various different code bases. By comparison, these are very different for example, to brochure-ware sites with a central content repository, combined with simple language differences plus content change workflow pushed out through a multi-site architecture.
 

Typical lifecycle issues that all 4 of these online businesses worry about

To start with, the development process differences between these two project personalities (multi-region eCommerce and multi-site brochure ware) are significant, the differences being 1) many more environments through which the upstream movement of code is being managed, 2) a much longer code-test-production timeframe, 3) bigger testing overheads (including tools, time and people), 4) complex content approval workflows, 5) higher consequential management costs, and 6) a severe risk impact of changes not working in production and feature release delays due to poor Continuous Integration (CI).

All the above are directly related to revenue loss - exacerbated by reputational damage in severe circumstances – which of course make them fairly unique to eCommerce. The effects on cost, time and business risk all increase exponentially when considering multi-country implementations.

What Platform.sh does for eCommerce that nobody else can !

Platform.sh solves many problems specific to this eCommerce Use Case, as well as easing various issues that make such projects more expensive to deliver and very laborious to manage,as follows:

  1. Many development process issues are greatly affected, resulting in a significantly reduced number of coding errors due to inconsistent environments, and greatly reduced elapsed times in the code delivery process from local environment through test, staging and user sign-off.
  2. Hugely improved Continuous Integration (CI) process that speeds up the change process for similar features across multiple environments into different local production services.
  3. True Continuous Delivery (CD) now becomes possible because the process no longer requires large number of changes to be bundled up and tested together before going to production say every 6-8 weeks. In this new regime, even the smallest of changes can whistle through in less than 60 minutes, which is vital for changes to aspects of the ‘Sale Offer’ during peak season, modifying coupon functionality for instance, or making micro changes during the advertising campaign.
  4. Time to 1st byte (TTFB) is 30-40x better (20Msecs versus 6-800Msecs). This may only be a few hundred milliseconds, but some customers waiting longer than 1-2 seconds for a site’s pages to resolve often get bored and move on. And this is the problem with a hosting vendor that offers a single global Varnish cache location in the US, effectively forcing your customers all around the world to do this global round-trip to fetch every single page they want to view. Platform.sh offers several CDN vendors, many with up to 50 edge locations, many of which will never be far from your target clientele.
  5. Platform.sh triple redundant architecture offers a 100% transactional guarantee, meaning you will never experience lost data or incomplete transactions. Whilst other N-tier architectures offer passive/active configurations for ‘psuedo resilience’, when the network breaks, re-connects and then breaks again, the load balancers flip-flop between master-slave faster than the databases can keep up and very quickly you reach the point of irreversible corruption, leaving the customer thinking they’ve bought something, the PSP with their money, and you with no idea how many sales you actually made/lost!
  6. This triple Master approach also allows us to scale seamlessly, horizontally and vertically. Dynamically adding PHP servers to serve peak read-only traffic against a popular news item is one thing but it isn’t real protection. Adding extra processing power for transactional spiking or to increase database capacity/performance without taking the system offline for 20 minutes is in a whole new league of its own, and being able to do this during peak periods is now a business critical must-have.
  7. Steep cost reductions against previous over-provisioning:
    • Within development there is no need to maintain multiple static environments because there is no on-demand facility, and tickets take too long. Developers can now create and destroy their own full-stack environments that mirror staging, at the touch of a button, whenever they want, and within seconds.
    • The Platform.sh triple redundant production environment is not an N-Tier master-slave architecture with resources waiting patiently for a failover incident. We have zero idle capacity, because it’s always paying for itself whilst working for you in a Master-Master-Master configuration.

We’ve learned from various retailers using Platform.sh in the run up to holiday periods and promotions (especially Black Friday, Cyber Monday and December 26th) that the reduced risk of making changes into live offered by Platform.sh, plus the triple redundancy we provide in the Platform Enterprise (PE) offering with its ability to seamlessly upscale around traffic peaks are all regarded as extremely valuable to their business, the combination of which simply cannot be provided by alternate vendors ! This makes Platform.sh a must for any mission critical eCommerce site.

Wauwaa.com make 38% savings in their project delivery cycle with Platform.sh

Dec 22 2014
Dec 22

Whew! 2014 is almost in the books. We wanted to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who attended live or watched a recording of one of our webinars, and provide a recap of all we learned throughout the year. We held 12 Webinars last year on a wide range of topics. We introduced you to new technology partners and showcased beautiful and innovative Drupal Commerce sites. We discussed the upcoming transition to PCI version 3.0 and talked about a new breed of eCommerce sites, focused on the merging of Content & Commerce.

We also kicked off a new type of webinar series, focused on the unique technical aspects of Drupal Commerce. We held 6 Drupal Commerce Tech Talks and covered features and functionality to enhance and redefine how eCommerce is done with Drupal.

And we launched a new cloud development and hosting solution, Platform.sh, and managed to do several live demos (including ones in German and French!) All in all, it was a hugely successful year for our webinar series...and we’re looking forward to continuing that trend in 2015.

We invite you to browse our entire archive, recapped here for you in the form of little gifts that you can give yourself at your own pace. We hope you will find it to be a valuable resource to you in your continued work with Drupal Commerce.

Happy Unwrapping

Dec 05 2014
Dec 05

We're always on the lookout for great sites built with Drupal Commerce, our truly flexible software that's changing the face of eCommerce one site at a time.

Traveling this Holiday Season? Well if you're in Germany, you might be taking FlixBus. And if you are, then chances are you just purchased your ticket on their new site hosted on Platform.sh. The site features a robust ticketing engine powered by the flexibility of Drupal Commerce and was built by the talented team at Wunderkraut, a Drupal Commerce Delivery partner that has just recently announced their plans to move all the organizations development to Platform.sh, our Continuous Delivery Cloud built to enable and enhance agile development from day one.

To see Drupal Commerce sites we've Spotlighted in previous weeks view Other Spotlight Sites

Nov 13 2014
Nov 13

On October 15th a new version of Drupal core was published (see details of this fix), so naturally everyone is wondering: How do I protect my site?

How Updates Work in Drupal

Drupal is open source software managed by a community made up of all kinds of experts and hobbyists. Community members who manage security specialize in the processing and verification of all modules hosted on drupal.org and the core of Drupal itself. This super-smart team has a long history in Drupal and a vast understanding of the core code, its history and its planned future. 

They are in charge of analyzing the existing application to protect it from malicious threats, regardless of their origins. When an issue is detected, they evaluate its impact and urgency in order to determine an appropriate mode of communication that meets the needs of the community. This usually means that in the event of a risk, an update is issued on one of the pre-planned bi-weekly release dates.

The security team works independently and regularly offers updates to the modules and Drupal core. Below are some ways you can follow these updates to keep your site secure and up to date.

The Security Alerts

Most Drupal users have an account on drupal.org. If you don’t have one, you’re missing out and you should get one immediately. From your account, you have access to the "Newsletter" tab. On this page, you are invited to subscribe to the security newsletter and be informed of updates.

Drupal.org newsletter subscription

Twitter

Like any self-respecting tech community, the security team is on Twitter: @drupalsecurity.

RSS

You can find subscribe to two different RSS feeds of security advisories for Drupal core and for contributed modules.

Application maintenance of your site

Whether you developed your site or worked with an agency, once online it must be maintained. The purpose of this maintenance is not to make your site a Rolls Royce, but rather to protect it against errors, insecurities and to improve it with the new features added to Drupal core and the modules you use. It’s encouraged to update early and often.

You can choose the frequency and process for updates, but the operations to be carried out are always the same: update the core of Drupal, update themes and modules and test the full operation of your application before you push your updated project live. Prior to deployment, ensure you have a full backup of your codebase, your files directories, and your database in case anything goes wrong.

How do I update my site?

Several technical means are available to you to get the latest version of core, themes and Drupal modules. Whatever method you choose, you will retrieve new files to install it on your production site. Here is a summary of what to do in general (this protocol is an example for your project, please refer to your usual procedure of deployment).

Starting with a copy of your site on a local environment:

  • Get the new version of files or a patch containing updates.
  • Review the changelog to see what has been changed that may affect existing functionality on your site, including any new dependencies, minor API changes, or other notes requiring manual intervention in the update process.
  • Replace the files or apply the patch. At this point updates are physically available but they are not necessarily applied on your site.
  • You may be asked to launch an "update" of the database, for example.
    • In this case, start Drush UPDB drush command or run the update.php page on your local copy site. This operation will be applied to your site changes in its database.
  • To ensure that the updates have all been taken into account, empty the cache of your site. Please note this may take some time and will affect the navigation on the site for treatment. For production sites, it is recommended to keep your current deployment procedure.
  • Once this is done, test your site. Check that everything is working properly.

If you update a Drupal site between two very different versions of the core, it is possible that some functionalities could be affected. However, in an update of one direct release to another, you should not experience major functional changes. When you are confident with this procedure, following your usual process, update your site or sites.

How to update Security SA-CORE-2014-005 - Drupal core - SQL injection

If your site has been well-maintained, the security update will be simple and have no effect on the functionality of your project. You can update the core of Drupal as you normally do using this new version: https://www.drupal.org/project/drupal

However, if you have not maintained the core of your application for some time (skipping several versions) and even though we do not recommend it, if you made a manual change in the core of Drupal, we recommend that you apply the patch only containing the security patch itself, here: https://www.drupal.org/files/issues/SA-CORE-2014-005-D7.patch

In both cases, the changes in the new version of Drupal will have no effect on the functionality of your project, because it only affects one file related to forms.

How to ensure security on my eCommerce site?

Security is a key issue for an eCommerce website and it is your duty as a merchant to maintain a safe site for your users. To ensure the security of your site, you must first perform regular Drupal core updates, security or not, or suffer the risky consequences.

Then, regularly update the modules you use. In some cases, this may affect the functionality of your site, and must be treated with kid gloves.

In any case, to make these updates, please refer to the standard procedure for updating your site that you have set up with your agency or web host, or enjoy the new technology implementation of Platform.sh to easily update your site and test with confidence.

How Commerce Guys ensures the security of your projects

Subscribers of our Drupal Application Support and Commerce Application Support programs have seen first hand how we can help protect your sites. We patched our customers immediately and 100% were protected whether they hosted with us or not.

Our Platform.sh subscribers benefited from the ability to use a “Drush make” driven workflow to manage the codebase for their sites. This workflow has the advantage of managing the versions of Drupal core and contributed themes and modules on your site through a single configuration file that contains a list of elements that make up your site. Platform.sh uses this file to create and deploy your site by downloading modules and the core of Drupal, making updates fast and easy.

By creating a file Drush Make File, you can ask to recover the latest version of Drupal with the security patch automatically. You gain in maintenance time and reduce your potential for errors.

In addition to ensuring the stability of your hosting, Platform.sh blocked incoming HTTP requests for applications that had not applied the patch. Therefore, only stable sites were available on Platform.sh, and any unprotected sites were immediately aware that action must be taken.

Read more about this protective block here.

If you want to know more about the updates to Drupal, the following links to learn more:

Oct 14 2014
Oct 14
DrupalCon AmsterdamWow!!! As I think about the week spent in Amsterdam, I am in awe of the entire experience. This beautiful place has a very long and eventful history dating back to the 12th century, and was the perfect setting for DrupalCon Amsterdam 2014. As I think back upon the week, so many words come to mind that reflect emotions I felt while there: festivity, jubilance, liveliness, pride and treasure.

Having only been with Commerce Guys for a short 3 months, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve been in the world of technology for over 13 years, and I’ve been around the block more than once with emerging technologies within the word of digital commerce. This experience for me personally will be one that I will forever treasure.  

I said on many occasions that I felt like a fish out of water just trying to get some air. I consider myself fairly smart – I realized in Amsterdam with these magnificent people that any hopes of me getting an invite to be part of Mensa International most likely will never happen. Their kindness and willingness to welcome me to the world of Drupal was more than I could ever ask for.

Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

The amazing group of people whom I refer to as the “Drupal People” (all 2,370 of them in attendance) embody this quote by Henry Ford. These are some of the most amazing, generous and intellectually aware people I have ever had the experience to associate with. 

There was something rare and unique about this group of “Drupal People”. I believe that rareness is their desire to work together for one common goal…it’s what sets them apart from so many others. That goal is to serve the customer, and to provide the best of the best when it comes to a solution that is cost effective, manageable and scalable. From small startup business to full-blown enterprise organization, we have a solution that will work. Whether you are a current Drupal customer or are looking to make a change over to Drupal, I am here to tell you that the “Drupal People” truly are working together in a spirit of togetherness that will make Drupal the platform of the future (if they haven’t already).  

DrupalCon AmsterdamI mentioned in the first paragraph some adjectives such as festivity, jubilance, liveliness, treasure and pride. There are two that stand out above all the rest: pride and treasure. I can’t be more proud of the company I have the privilege of working for and the people I have the opportunity to work with. Each and every team member of Commerce Guys brings to work a sense of pride that can’t be explained; only witnessed. Many sleepless hours are spent building the best of the best and ensuring that our customers know only one name: and that name is Drupal, a rare treasure.

I am excited about the next DrupalCons in Bogota, Los Angeles and Barcelona in 2015. As always, Commerce Guys will be there loud and proud supporting Drupal Commerce, Platform.sh, our partners, and the great people who are advocating the vision and future of Drupal.  

Thanks to the beautiful city of Amsterdam, the fine people of Amsterdam, and each and every one of you who make what we do possible.

Cheers! 

Justin 

Sep 25 2014
Sep 25

The Symfony Live events of this Fall (London, Berlin, NYC, Madrid) are around the corner, and for the first year, Commerce Guys is going to attend these events as a sponsor. Some people are wondering why, and I’d like to explain why Commerce Guys is very excited to engage with the Symfony community and its open source software vendor, SensioLabs.

In fact, there are 3 main reasons for Commerce Guys’ interest in Symfony and working tightly with SensioLabs:

Drupal 8 and Drupal Commerce 2.0

It’s no secret that Drupal8 will rely on Symfony components. This architecture decision is good, and paved the way for similar thoughts on Drupal Commerce 2.0. It also ties the destinies of both open source communities, we think for the better. The work on Drupal Commerce for Drupal 8, known as Drupal Commerce 2.x, started in June 2014. During a community sprint that included members of SensioLabs and other partners like Smile, Publicis Modem, Osinet, i-KOS, Adyax, and Ekino, we validated the idea that some of the core eCommerce components of Drupal Commerce 2.x should rely on Symfony and other general PHP libraries directly. The goal is to offer an even more generic and flexible solution that spreads the impact of our code beyond the walls of the Drupal community.

This effort is well in progress already. Bojan Zivanovic, Drupal Commerce 2.x co-maintainer, provides a great example of this in a recent blog post about our new Internationalization library. He explains how much improvement this component will bring to the software for managing and formatting currencies internationally via a generic PHP library called commerceguys/intl. Expanding the reach of our work to the broader PHP community will help us get more feedback, more users, and more open source contributors, ultimately leading to better software. Ryan Szrama, Commerce Guys co-founder and Drupal Commerce CTO, will be presenting this approach at Symfony Live in New York City in October. We strongly believe this vision will bring us closer to our goal of building the most popular open source eCommerce software.

Platform.sh now refined for Symfony projects

In a context where Symfony will be central to mastering Drupal 8 projects, we’ve pursued the goal to enable our development & production Platform as a Service (PaaS) for Symfony projects in general. We’re convinced that this will provide Platform.sh an edge, and wanted to be a driving force in providing tools that will fit both open source communities.

Since Spring 2014, Commerce Guys engineers have been collaborating with SensioLabs engineers to understand Symfony better. Few companies in the world have the expertise in enterprise PHP that SensioLabs has, and the Platform.sh Symfony experience is the outcome of lots of intense discussions with the SensioLabs’ team.

Our objective was to enable teams to develop and deploy Symfony projects faster and more productively on Platform.sh. That work is now done and we’re very happy to announce today that, with just a few clicks, Symfony developers can create a full Symfony development environment (starting from an existing Symfony distribution), in order to build and deploy highly scalable websites and custom applications. This will lead to a much improved development process, lots of time saved for developers and a reduced time to market from development to production. Sponsoring Symfony Live is a way for Commerce Guys to share the hard work we’ve done to build a unique, cloud-based development experience for Symfony developers. We’re excited to share our work and get feedback from the Symfony community about this product.

A shared focus on the developers

The time we’ve spent with SensioLabs’ management team highlighted our common passion and interest: help developers be more efficient and successful and, as much as it depends on us, to enjoy their jobs even more. SensioLabs and Commerce Guys were both founded to design and develop open source frameworks, gather large and global developer communities, and enable developers to create great web experiences. Both companies aim at making developers happier and more successful by providing them the right tools. It’s on these values and fundamental principles that this partnership was built. It’s all very solid and here to stay!

Sep 16 2014
Sep 16

Plenty of people have written about the tremendous potential that Drupal Commerce has to expand the capabilities of higher learning sites already running on Drupal. Colleges and Universities have overwhelmingly chosen Drupal as their CMS, and it’s a growing need for schools to use commerce functions to process a myriad of things, from registration and book sales to donations and permits. We just don’t think it makes sense to create these functions with a bolted-on commerce platform when Drupal Commerce provides such a smoothly integrated solution to serve a wide range of commerce needs at no cost. Leveraging the investment already made in knowledge, training and resources to serve commerce needs is the way to go. 

These schools felt the same way. 

Check out the ways they use Drupal + Drupal Commerce:  

Harvard University - Uses Drupal + Drupal Commerce to sell books and other physical goods at the Harvard Art Museum website Stanford University SLAC - Uses Drupal + Drupal Commerce to manage event registration for conferences held at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). Georgia Tech - Uses Drupal + Drupal Commerce to manage their broad offering of Professional Education courses, enabling students to select, register, and pay for their courses and streamline Georgia Tech's ability to track, manage, and report on this important revenue channel. Emerson College - Uses Drupal + Drupal Commerce to sell both physical and digital subscriptions and individual issues of their Ploughshares and Omnibus publications. Grinnell College - Uses Drupal + Drupal Commerce for fundraising and donations, allowing donors to select how and where their gift will be utilized through one-time or recurring gifts. Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School - Uses Drupal + Drupal Commerce for fundraising and donations as well as ticket sales. Want to share your higher learning story or learn more about how Drupal Commerce can address your needs? Talk to us 
Sep 01 2014
Sep 01

eCommerce is undergoing rapid change from the traditional search, view, add to cart, and checkout paradigm to one that is rich in content, creates a more engaging and unified user experience, and drives buying decisions within that context. This change will require a shift in thinking around the platforms selected and their ability to support both content and eCommerce needs seamlessly. No longer will silo'd solutions with a long list of features that make vast (and many times incorrect) assumptions about your business provide the tools necessary to respond and adapt quickly to these market changes.

If you already have Drupal to manage content and community interaction for your site, or are considering it for its powerful CMS capabilities, and plan to add or upgrade commerce capabilities, you have two choices:

A separate eCommerce solution that is integrated with or "bolted on" to Drupal. While this can work, it adds unnecessary complexity and results in a disconnected experience for your users that maintains valuable customer data in multiple places. An alternate choice that an increasing number of companies are considering...

Utilizing the power, scalability, and flexibility of Drupal + Drupal Commerce, where content, community, and commerce can all be served natively within a single environment.

Here is why it is important to go beyond features to make the right long-term decision for your business.

Looking Beyond Features when Selecting an eCommerce Solution

All too often, eCommerce selection is based on a long list of features. While features are important, focusing too much on features creates blind spots that prevent focus on other more strategic considerations that have far greater impact on long-term success. The reality is that eCommerce solutions today all do approximately the same thing. General feature parity exists because eCommerce has been around for a long time and there is little in terms of features that differentiates one from the other.

Let's face it, any feature list, and the assumptions they are based on, only reflects requirements that are important at a given point in time. Undoubtedly, those requirements will change over time; sometimes very quickly. As a result, it is increasingly important to consider how well the solution you select can adapt to rapid changes in technology, the market and your business needs. The important choice here is determining how much control and flexibility you want to retain in adapting to these changes versus being dependent on a particular solution vendor to meet those needs.

Having the flexibility to implement new features and rapidly innovate in the future to serve the changing needs of your customers and business is a critical consideration when selecting an eCommerce solution.

As businesses focus more on inspirational shopping driven by engaging content, the "feature" that will become increasingly important is a rich CMS that is natively integrated with eCommerce.

Drupal + Drupal Commerce provide seamless Content and Commerce

The importance of content and social engagement in influencing what people buy cannot be overstated. Drupal + Drupal Commerce is the only solution that provides powerful content, community, and commerce functionality all within a single environment. A rich content platform like Drupal is critical to creating an engaging user experience that results in attracting people to your site, keeping them there longer, and spending more money. 

Today, there is massive competition for eyeballs and high placement in search results. Google and other search engines now place higher priority on content that exists on your site and how that is shared and linked with other sites. A weak CMS or one that is separate from your eCommerce platform makes it significantly more difficult to get the results necessary for success. And if your online presence is split between two systems, it becomes even more challenging to target and personalize messages and offers since customer data resides in multiple databases.

While many sites bolt together independent CMS and eCommerce solutions, it's not nearly as powerful. A Drupal + Drupal Commerce solution means that you have 1 code base, 1 skill set, 1 backend, and 1 database, resulting in less complexity and a single platform to support your entire online business.

Jul 09 2014
Jul 09

As attractive as it sounds, “instant global sensation” is a contradiction in terms. Going global requires strategic moves, and those require research and forethought. Those sensations that are indeed instantaneous are usually one-hit wonders, and rare. In order to build a successful, sustainable global strategy, you need to take the time to address the things that slow global commerce down—and then be able to enjoy the speed with which you succeed after having those foundational pieces in place. 

Legal Constraints 

Advertising and selling internationally presents a complex series of legal and logistical considerations. You need consistent, sustained access to updated information for each country, so it’s worth seeking the advice of a lawyer who knows your target countries well. You should also subscribe to newsletters or blogs that offer updates on legislation in each country that could affect your bottom line. These updates keep you abreast of upcoming legislation that may affect the bottom line. From the type of product you carry to the way in which you advertise its uniqueness, countries may have laws that affect you. There may be rules for the time of day that an ad can be shown, for example, or special taxes that you have to pay in order to advertise there. 

Global Payments

While Visa and Mastercard are good ideas in some countries, PayPal and Western Union are better for others. Compare rates and pay attention to the types of payment your target audience uses most. There are several online portals and physical locations (for places such as Western Union) where payments can be made as well as temporary contracts. The most economical portal for money transactions may also have restrictions on the amount of money being transferred. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with each country and its unique payment preference; it’ll pay in the long run. 

Translation

You want to be careful with what and how you translate. If you don’t translate enough, users will get frustrated and leave your website. If you translate everything, but do so only with machine translation, you don’t get the benefit of localization, and may send an inaccurate message. 

Before translating anything, make sure that the technology you use is smart enough to use analytics to tell you which pages to translate, that it operates within your workflow, and that it gives you the opportunity to have people vet each translation—whether through crowdsourced labor or by professional translators. Also, make sure that it stores all translations in a database comprised of millions of words, known as “translation memory.” Anywhere content, websites, docs, user groups or social media is stored, you can use the same translation database. You don’t need to re-translate as each entry becomes perpetually entered into memory for repeated use.  

Once you have systems in place to address your legal, payment and translation needs, the world literally becomes your oyster. Taking the time to address these needs will pay dividends in the form of future success. 

Jun 26 2014
Jun 26

IS YOUR eCOMMERCE SYSTEM READY FOR VAT CHANGES ACROSS THE EU ?

European Union tax changes to provision of e-Services affects eCommerce systems globally

On the 1st January 2015, the European Union (EU) rules on the calculation of Value Added Taxes (VAT) on broadcasting, telecommunications and e-services are changing. This affects businesses and consumers inside the EU and businesses outside the EU selling into the EU.

These changes are referred to as VAT on Electronic Services (VOES), and in principle, VAT on electronic services supplied to consumers will no longer be calculated based on the place the service was supplied from, but rather on the place in which it is now consumed.

So for every single purchase that is made, you will need to know if the buyer is resident in the EU, and if they are you will have to know which country they are in and calculate the VAT and new price accordingly.

For businesses inside the E.U. these changes are referred to as VAT on Electronic Services (VOES). In the U.K. specifically, The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) estimates that 34,000 business will be affected by these changes (BBC, 2014). Across the E.U. this totals approximately 500,000, and globally it’s over 1m.

Businesses outside the E.U. selling e-Services to consumers (private individuals and non-business organisations) in the EU have to register for E.U. VAT in a member state of their choice, covering sales to any and all E.U. member states. The scheme provides an optional, simplified means of registering and accounting electronically for E.U. VAT, and does not apply to supplies to business customers in the EU as they will continue to account for any tax due using the 'reverse charge' procedure.

Are you selling an 'electronically supplied service' ? The definition of which is one that is delivered over the Internet or an electronic network (in other words, reliant on the Internet or similar network for its provision). The nature of the service in question is heavily dependent on information technology for its supply (in other words, the service is essentially automated, involving minimal human intervention and in the absence of information technology does not have viability).

The “place of supply” rules determine which country’s VAT rules apply and where output VAT is due when services are supplied across national borders. In general, this is where the customer resides for business-to-business transactions and where the supplier resides for business-to-consumer. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule.

The rules tend to vary depending on whether the service is being supplied to a consumer in a telephone box, on a mobile phone or landline, at a WIFI hotspot or in a hotel lobby, or whilst you are travelling between different countries. In addition, which locations apply to which of your services (and which taxes should be charged) require zero, two or three forms of non-contradictory commercial evidence, including billing address, bank details, internet protocol (IP) address, SIM card country code, or geo-location data.

The impact to your eCommerce system and associated business processes The application of these rules on January 1st will have an immediate impact on your accounting systems and how you must now report to clarify your tax obligations. You need to make changes to your business processes and eCommerce systems to establish the facts, collect the supporting evidence where required, charge correctly and accurately report across the end-to-end process.

How can Commerce Guys help ? Larger sites especially will need to be working out what they need to do now, in time to make changes to business process, modules and front-end workflows to be ready for compliance in January. Commerce Guys has had a tax practice within our eCommerce delivery team for some time, as the majority of our customers are selling into and within the E.U. as well as globally.

If you’re a medium to large Drupal site, we can offer advisory services, consulting and development skills to make and test changes. If you’re non-Drupal, we can also advise and consult on the business implications and at a business process level.

Please call us now on:
Email: [email protected]
Office: +44(0) 203 435 6847
Web: www.commerceguys.com/quote

Download a copy of this important info to share with others

May 31 2014
May 31

Need to keep up with Commerce Guys @DrupalCon Austin - June 2 to 6? Here's everything you'll need to know

Yep. We're bringing back the Commerce Village to DrupalCon, this time with even more ways to build, enhance and support online stores. Even if you're not going to DrupalCon, we have something for you here. Don't miss the part about the beer at the bottom. Read on.

It's here. Cloud 2.0.
Commerce Guys introduces Platform, the Continuous Delivery Cloud.

Platform is a powerful cloud hosting solution with an optimized development-to-production workflow, enabling Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery during development, at launch, and throughout a site's life. Unique snapshot technology enables immediate cloning, completely replicating full-stack environments into new branches on demand in a moment.

Come to the Commerce Guys booth (CV2) for a demonstration of Platform.

Integrators and agencies are saving up to 25% on developer and systems integration effort when they develop on Platform. Talk to us about how you can move your projects to Platform.

Go to Platform.sh

Meet the people behind the Modules.

We work with Technology Partners to provide great modules for Drupal Commerce sites on Commerce Marketplace. Come to the Village to learn more about different solutions to enhance your site.

Click on any logo to request an informal meeting.

Come to the Commerce Guys booth to talk about over 450 other modules to enhance your website, available through Commerce Marketplace.

We support the way you work.

We have been working hard to support the Drupal Commerce community by offering new ways to assist you at any level. Whether you are just starting and need free advice or are an enterprise-level business, we can help.

More about Commerce Guys Support.

New this year, we have partnered with companies in the Drupal Community who are passionate about Drupal Commerce. Visit our Delivery Partners at DrupalCon and see what they've been doing with Commerce.

We'll always be about Drupal and Commerce.

Last but not least, we want to share as much information as possible during DrupalCon to help you win with Drupal Commerce. This happens in sessions, in the hallways, at lunch, everywhere. Come see our sessions, find us in the Commerce Village and ask those burning questions. Contribute your ideas. Let's talk.

The Best Drupal Commerce Training

Ryan Szrama (rszrama) and Josh Miller (joshmiller) will be giving their fun, informative, and highly rated training on Monday, June 2nd at 9:00am. Sign Up

17 Sessions at DrupalCon

We've got a lot to talk about at DrupalCon, with 17 sessions including the Village Square demo space. From quick 15-minute demonstrations of great site enhancements to a 2-hour lab on commerce, pick your faves and add them directly to your calendar from our schedule. See the schedule

Free Beer & Parrot

We want to meet you at DrupalCon, and bribes tend to work. Come to the Commerce Guys booth (CV2) and learn how to get a free beer ticket and a chance to WIN a Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Quadricopter.

The beer event will be on Wednesday from 3:00 - 4:00 at the Village Square (CV5).

If you skipped to the end to read this, go back up and finish now. Learn more about
Parrots & Beer

If you can't make it, keep up with what's going on at the show by following us on Twitter.

Oct 23 2013
Oct 23

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Sep 11 2013
Sep 11

©2013 Commerce Guys. All Rights Reserved.

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About Drupal Sun

Drupal Sun is an Evolving Web project. It allows you to:

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