I talk to people about Slatwall almost every day, and one question that I get asked all the time, is what makes slatwall Unique?
It’s a good question, in fact it’s a great question, and the truth is there are a ton of answers like;
Marketing Automation Tools
You name it!
And let’s not forget that it’s Open Source, which means the software itself is completely free.
But the one thing that I like to talk about most, is the variety of product types we offer.
I point to that because most platforms are designed to do standard retail eCommerce, and it’s a pretty well understood thing by both users and by developers.
Everyone’s been on Amazon, so you know what I’m talking about.
These are the websites that have a very common eCommerce user interface:
First, there’s a listing page with all the products and maybe some filtering and sorting.
Then, there’s a detail page with an “add to cart” button. Next, you move into the shopping cart, maybe put in a promo code. Then you end up on the checkout, where they ask you questions about your credit card information and who your best friend was in the Third grade.
That’s what eCommerce looks like right? Well… Not Always
The truth of the matter is, that while a ton of time and energy has been spent developing these types of websites and eCommerce platforms, it’s only a subset of the type of products and services that organizations are offering every day.
For example if I’m trying to setup the electric service at my house, I need to order service and schedule an appointment for someone to come out and flip on the meter.
Then I need some monthly emails telling me my usage and allow me to pay now or perhaps set-up auto-payments.
What I don’t need a big list of different types of electricity sorted by best seller and filterable by color, and sortable by best seller.
Using a traditional eCommerce platform here just doesn’t make any sense.
For these alternative product types, there HAVE been some software products built for the specific use cases.
For example, there’s event registration software so that you can sell classes, or concert tickets.
Another good example would be paywall software for organizations that want to sell access to their content, and that might be research documents or even articles from a newspaper.
There is yet another type of software for the stuff that has a recurring billing models like mobile apps, electricity bills, or your favorite magazine subscription.
The problem is that most of this software just isn’t very good.
Now if you're like many of the organizations and your products and services are diverse, you may have gone out and set-up 3 or 4 of these different specialty platforms to service your customer.
These systems are designed to sell such a specific thing, in such a specific way, that it’s almost impossible to get them to work the way you want, let alone talk to each other.
But, the real problem doesn’t show up until you are a few months or even a few years down the road and realize that you’ve now got 1 customer spread out across 3 or 4 systems that just don’t talk to each other… and that customers overall experience with your brand has gotten worse and worse.
And the biggest missed opportunity in all this, is that there isn’t even a way to bundle these products and services together into new and compelling offers.
For example, if I run and online cooking school, I might want to bundle that with some kind of cooking utensil starter kit.
With Slatwall we took a big step back and said lets design a platform that allows organizations to sell all of the products and goods they offer under one roof.
It could be the simple merchandise stuff, or services, subscriptions, content access, events, donations, gifts- you name it!
If you take a closer look at the Slatwall administrator, you’ll see the core product types that we currently offer. Obviously we have the standard merchandise product types, where you can pick from as many different options as your product requires.
For selling access to content, you can use the content access product type.
Now if you need to set up subscription products to get billed on a recurring schedule, that’s not a problem! Our subscriptions are defined by two things. FIrst, the subscription term, which is where all the details around how often you want to bill, and what the rules are around how it gets invoiced. The other part of the subscription products are the benefits you receive for that subscription.
Now if tickets or event registration are a requirement, you can set up products that are defined by the when and where. The when part of an event product can be either a single date and time, or any type of recurring schedule. The where can be any location, either physical, or virtual. You can even combine locations and their capacities when needed. Manage everything, from the event set-up, all the way down to things like the capacities and wait lists.
Most importantly, we allow for product bundles., where you can mix and match one or more of these product types to create new and compelling offers for your customers.
While these are some of the core product types that define behavior within Slatwall, we also allow you to specify your own product types into a hierarchy. Having this hierarchy in place is crucial for good reporting.
It also allows you to effectively manage settings across each of the various types you define. You can define things like how you want these types of products fulfilled, how you might want them to be paid for, if there’s any specific inventory constraints that apply here, what currencies they’re available in, and much more!
Also, keep in mind that you can assign different sets of custom attributes for the various product types that you define. That way, every product in the system has the exact data that you need to get the job done.
If you haven’t seen our previous video on Custom Attributes, be sure to check it out.
We’re always looking to expand on the types of products and services you can offer through slatwall, if you have any questions about if Slatwall can support your products, or questions about this video, please leave a comment below and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.