Have a social commerce idea, but no money? No problem.
An emerging category of free, nearly free and freemium social commerce software is available to bootstrap your social commerce business and take it from dream to reality (or at least transform it from idea-ware into a working pilot with the power to seduce an investor). This, the first in a series of ‘bootstrapped social commerce’ articles covers two such examples of low cost social commerce software.
Daily Deal: Group-Buy WordPress Theme
WordPress, the free open-source CMS that powers 1/6 of the top million websites, allows you to install e-commerce enabled themes. Daily Deal is one such wordpress theme that allows you to run a Groupon style group-buy site for a particular market niche. It’s not the first, but it’s from a leading and respected WordPress theme shop, Templatic – with an active support forum. The theme allows you to broker deals between businesses and buyers in your market niche. Businesses can create accounts and submit deals (digital products, coupons, vouchers, etc) that you can approve, reject, edit and manage. Deals run for the time duration specified by the vendor or until the item stock runs out. Buyers can purchase deals with various integrated payment options (7 payment gateways), with relevant notification emails sent to the admin, sellers and buyers throughout the process. Total cost $89.95.
Member.ly – Online Subscription Club Software
A second example of new software for bootstrapped social commerce is Member.ly, a new software as a service offer for entrepreneurs who’ve caught the subscription club bug that is currently a hot area of social commerce. Have an idea for a monthly discovery box club – Japanese candy, lingerie, razors, cosmetics, or even the next Netflix, then member.ly will help you launch your online subscription club without having to worry about the technology – a simple integrated platform works as a site-builder, CMS, billing and payment system – and will even manage printing out labels to stick on the subscription boxes you send out. Member.ly the brainchild of New York based digital product development studio Disrupto, and despite their impressive big budget client list – member.ly looks to be start-up friendly. Free to use, with the service taking just 5% commission from subscriptions.
More bootstrapped social commerce tips coming soon.