As you may have seen we’ve spent the last couple of months developing a premium WordPress eCommerce plugin. Initially we planned to offer the plugin solely to our own clients but we think it’s going to be so awesome that we should share it with the community.
We now have to make a perilous decision as to how we offer the plugin to customers. When we first had the idea it was generally assumed that we’d upload it to our CodeCanyon WordPress Plugin portfolio. However, the recent rebrand of PHPurchase to Cart66 and their reasons for doing so have made us think twice.
It turns out that offering a plugin of this magnitude for a one-off fee and including support isn’t a great business model, as explained here.
For simple math, suppose we have a product that sells for $1.00. In year 1 we have 100 customers and bring in $100 dollars. In year 2 we get 100 new customers. Now we have to support 200 customers in year 2 on the same $100. By year 10 we have to support 1,000 customers on that same $100. Obviously that business model cannot be sustained.
Lee Blue – Cart66
There’s no obligation to support products on CodeCanyon but it is (justly) expected. And we do want to offer support, but we cannot sustain a flawed business model. We also do not want to suffer the wrath PHPurchase incurred from their user base when they introduced an anual subscription fee to customers who signed up believing their one-off payment would fix them up with support for life.
So we have two options:
Option A. is to offer the core of the plugin for free (sans-support) with basic functionality (PayPal payment gateway, flat-rate shipping), while our saleable products are extensions to the plugin and support packages. Things like additional payment gateways, added functionality in the form of related products, cross sells, discount coupons, shipping tables etc. Due to the smaller size, support of these extensions would likely be more manageable.
Option B. is to adopt the Cart66 approach and charge an anual fee for the entire plugin which recurs year on year should the customer need access to our support area.
Option C. is to make the entire plugin free and charge for support on an annual recurring subscription.
We’d be very interested to hear the opinions of any potential customers or indeed any customers of other WordPress eCommerce solutions.
Don’t forget to sign up over at Jigoshop.com to receive a launch notification.