| questions - and YES, I am serious about them [message #33174] Tue, 23 August 2011 19:33 UTC
A few simple facts to begin with:|
- The shopping site is full of undesirable features *
- Despite many requests and complaints from the community, there is virtually no progress
- The occasional "updates" don't produce much except other undesirable features *
Therefore: Is it time to start thinking about our own, co-operatively managed shopping portal ???
The overall idea is to start off with one of the better-known e-commerce packages on a system of our own. Would automatically give us a largely error-free system, a lot more features and freedom to define the shop front-ends and a much better customer experience. Would also give us a better contact line to the customer, allow better control over prices (get away with ugly markups and everything), product variations (aka. co-creator), even multi-part,multi-material products, what-have-you ...
Consumers would browse and order their products right on that shopping portal.
On the back-end, we would (semi-)automatically create the real (Shapeways-) order with delivery to the customer. We had complete control over the order and would shield the entire nastiness of order cancellations etc. from the customer. No more cancellations without a chance to re-submit.
Also, we could switch print providers as needed, e.g. when Shapeways drops the ceramics, we could let Ponoko produce and deliver the item, or, we could get color and steel items produced by i.materialize for a better price. It should not be necessary to maintain the same item on the Shapeways site or elsewhere. The model upload would be done on-demand, just in time with the order. This concept has been known as instant co-creator.
Managing the portal by a team of 3d printing enthousiasts means that it becomes everybody's own best interest to make the site as functional and error-free as possible, small improvements should then be possible in weeks, as opposed to years.
All of this is currently only a dream and I would like to solicit some input here. There is obviously enough of the needed enthousiasm and expertise around, expertise like server administration, PHP, AJAX, SEO, and last-not-least, great designs which really deserve a better place.
People have repeatedly offered (for free, even) their help to improve the Shapeways system. Shouldn't we not combine forces and let the dream come true? Can we create a critical mass to let the thing fly ? Anybody interested ? Am I completely crazy ?
Please let me have your thoughts. Once again, I can envision this to be a co-operatively managed portal and there should be plenty of room for everybody to promote his/her products and make some profit through own sales.
I for myself could bring server, database and (primarily backend) programming expertise to the table, could help with setting up the base system and connect it to Shapeways and other print providers' sites, be it with or without API.
My prime interest would be the creation of a working (!!!), consumer-oriented shopping portal for 3d printed goods which does not bother end-users with material details, minimum wall thicknesses, order cancellations and other cr*p.
* polite mode expression for you-know-what-i-mean.