[ic] Interchange Mall

Mike Heins mikeh@minivend.com
Fri, 23 Feb 2001 22:33:24 -0500

Quoting Jeff Dafoe (jeffd@evcom.net):
> On Fri, 23 Feb 2001, Mike Heins wrote:
> > The hard parts are the rules for running the mall, and defining what
> > you will and will not support. Once you have done that, you have something.
> > Until you have done it, you have nothing.
>       Definitely.  My preliminary theory is that the best solution is to
> force the user through the checkout process for each vendor (a vendor
> being a person with an interchange catalog) who has an item in the user's
> cart, perhaps using some sort of shared customer database so that address
> and other billing info would not have to be reentered across the disparate
> checkouts.

This is pretty easy to do. Just share the userdb among every store,
using the SubCatalog or separate catalog approach and CookieLogin. With
just a bit of work, you can even share the session directory among them
so they carry the cart for each store around together.

Or if you want a very large scalable mall (you can have literally tens
of thousands of stores this way), have every vendor on one store have
a vendor code and place items in a separate cart. (The archives have
the tag for that, and the archives also should show how to set up a
separate look and feel for each vendor with an Autoload.)

Also, check out the [cart name=vendor-id] tag, which allows you to
switch carts and display each separately. Have a store/vendor database
that defines the parameters for a vendor in a record keyed by vendor ID.

You can also do different fulfillment routes for each vendor if you want
the checkout process to be one form for all vendors. That is hard from
a payment standpoint though, as taxing and shipping must be common -- or
gyrations must be done to calculate it separately and somehow communicate
that to the user without confusing them to the point where they drop
the purchase.

I usually try to remember that the bread-and-butter is the one-item,
one-vendor purchase which defines 80% of online sales.  Make that as
easy as possible, and the other things at least possible.

> Or perhaps it will be easier to just offer a "mass search"
> capability and then make the user check out before moving to the next
> store.

Interchange is capable of more than that.

> > I know that some people would say "but that is what *you* are there for!"
> > (Meaning me and my Red Hat compatriots.) 
> 	Well, I agree with those people, I'll bet Akopia offers consulting
> to help them towards these unique solutions.

Ah yes, but they mean for free. 8-)

We do indeed do a good job of it, now as Red Hat E-Business Solutions. And
we are quite capable of helping to define the process, albeit at a

Red Hat, Inc., 131 Willow Lane, Floor 2, Oxford, OH  45056
phone +1.513.523.7621 fax 7501 <mheins@redhat.com>

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