If you're a MultiMerch marketplace owner, you definitely know how seller accounts are being created, personalized and managed in MultiMerch.
In short – it's a bit of a mess.
Today, I would like to offer a brief retrospect of seller account sign up and modification process in MultiMerch – and provide a glimpse of what's to come.
The current state of seller sign up, profiles and settings in MultiMerch
Today, sellers go through two and a half steps to create a seller account in MultiMerch.
First, there's the very basic account information form, where sellers specify their email address and password. That's pretty much it here.
Then, the user is to complete the second form – a larger one called "Seller profile". This one includes various seller profile details such as nickname (store name), store description, a few images (avatar and banner) and some extra info like links to social media accounts.
Once this second form is filled out, it's technically possible for the seller to start selling.
However, there's more. In addition to these two forms, sellers have a separate setting section in their accounts. This area lets sellers specify even more information about their accounts – combined shipping settings, payment details to receive payments from the marketplace and things like addresses for invoicing purposes, phone number and website address.
Thus, the whole process looks somewhat like this.
All in all, sellers in MultiMerch 8 have three different forms to fill out to complete their accounts. Not too convenient.
How did this happen?
A brief journey into the history of MultiMerch seller accounts
At one point, I've gathered as much historical information on MultiMerch development as I could find – this now lets us keep track of MultiMerch improvements over time using The Changelog.
Scroll to the very end of The Changelog and you'll find that many of the MultiMerch features of today were created quite a while ago – as far back as 2012.
This is where our story begins.
Not many today know, but the history of MultiMerch dates back to 2011.
Back then, I was a simple developer who badly needed a multi vendor marketplace system for a project of mine. (It was intended as a digital marketplace for modules and plugins and the killer of ThemeForest, CodeCanyon and OpenCart Marketplace all at once – please don't tell Daniel).
I couldn't find anything suitable, but I had some experience with OpenCart. Thus, I decided to create a multi vendor system for OpenCart myself. By 2012, it was ready – I did it, after having spent half a year procrastinating, searching for suitable tools and planning the database architecture (pro tip – don't be that guy).
The first version of MultiMerch was called OpenCart Multiseller and OpenCart Digital Marketplace and looked somewhat like this.
Not too pretty, but it did its job.
My great business idea failed, but that's another story. OpenCart Digital Marketplace lived to turn into MultiMerch Marketplace.
One page seller signup didn't live, though – in 2014 I replaced it with a two step signup as part of code cleanup.
Why? In short – MultiMerch had introduced sign up fees and I found it easier to maintain a single page for profile creation and editing. Thus, the sign up process was split into two parts – user account creation and seller profile creation (MultiMerch seller accounts are based on OpenCart customer authentication system).
After some time, I found out sellers need additional settings that aren't part of public seller profiles – such as payment and shipping settings. So, we had to add an extra interface to seller accounts to manage seller settings.
And that's how we ended up where we're today.
Seriously – don't be that guy who puts technical convenience before business requirements and customer experience. It's not good for business.
What now? Is there still hope for humanity and MultiMerch sellers?
Yes, this will change soon.
Not only we're working on completely new seller interfaces together with our design guys, but we're also improving existing layouts. The complex heap of sign up, profile and setting forms will be the next one to go.
In the near future, MultiMerch will have three clear and straight forward interfaces:
- one page seller sign up – in a similar manner to our single page product publishing – where sellers will fill out all necessary info to get started
- store personalization form – where sellers will be able to later adjust how their stores look to the public
- setting forms – everything else that does not belong to public profiles
And after we're done with the big redesign, sellers will also have neat dashboards with charts and graphs and convenient account navigation menus.
The future for MultiMerch is bright as ever. Next time, I'll tell a bit more about the current state of MultiMerch Shipping – and what we plan to turn it into.
Now, if you have any thoughts on or sympathies for the current sign up and personalization process – please do share them here!