An eCommerce website for a wholesaler


#1

Greencity Wholefoods is a wholesaler of food and drink, based in Glasgow, and celebrating our 40th birthday later this year - I’m sure many of you will have heard of us!

We’re no stranger to eCommerce - we already have a website (www.greencity.coop) but we’re at the early stages of planning a major revamp. We’ve graduated from a self-hosted Zencart site (we still use it, in fact) to the BigCommerce site linked above. Neither approach is completely ideal, and we’d like to solicit advice from other co-ops and - hopefully - build our next website at least in part in partnership with other co-ops.

We’re wholesalers, not technologists. We have an IT department of 2-3 people, but in general we’d like to focus on selling wholefoods. That’s why we moved from self-hosting Zencart to an out-sourced BigCommerce site. But that brought disadvantages, too - BigCommerce might well be ideal for retailers, but it doesn’t fully meet our needs as a wholesaler.

Internally, we’ve talked about commissioning a local developer to build us a new eCommerce site using an industry-standard eCommerce package - much like we did with BigCommerce, but more tailored to wholesale. I’d like to discuss whether that’s the right approach, whether there are co-ops that could do better, seek advice on co-op hosting, etc. Cost is a major factor for us, obviously, but there’s possibly scope for an element of barter!

So, over to you good people - any suggestions on how best to approach this, how to divide the work, would your co-op be willing to tender for part or all of the task?! Any and all advice appreciated!


#2

I realise that these are not exactly websites but rather a point of sale system but perhaps it is of interest that the North American based Tech Support Cooperative provide customised open source systems for a number of North American whole food stores.

My local wholefood wholesale outlet, Lembas (who are almost a co-op) has a Microsoft Access based database for their sales / stock control.


#3

Solid fund has about 70 grand in the bank and wants more worker co-ops to ask for money.

What if a bunch of whole food wholesaler worker co-ops like Green City, Suma, Infinity, Essential etc got together to make a proposal for funding a bunch of other worker co-ops ie those in the CoTech network to create an open source platform that fulfills shared needs? (Perhaps it could even be built on top of the already existing Open Food Network software?)

Sounds like a good idea to me :wink: