Jul 23 2007
I got an email a few weeks back from Phillip Kingston, who together with Edward Thomson, have launched a self funded, beta service called Flogd. Both are 4th year students at the University of Melbourne. Phil writes
We are both interested in elegant, minimalist solutions to complex problems. Flogd is a great solution for less-tech savvy artists/crafters/bands/etc or for those who don’t want to spend money upfront on credit card processing.
Edward was browsing on MySpace when he asked himself a simple question – why can’t people sell here? He brought this to me and 6 months later – today – we have flogd.
The basic idea behind flogd is that you can very easily integrate your own shop on your blog, myspace or facebook profile (yes, there’s a Facebook app). I imagine there would certainly be a large market of niche blogs out there who would have relevant products to flog.
Image you had a passion for fishing, and decided to blog about it. How great would it be to have your own little shop, on your site, that would enable you to sell the latest in fishing lures?
Your shop can cater for up to 500 different products, with more available on request. Transactions are securely encrypted and credit card payments can be accepted.
Anyone who’s had to integrate e-commerce on a website would appreciate the “hoops” you’re made to jump through to get an e-commerce account through a bank. They generally ask for trading history, product overview, terms and conditions, first born child as collateral, business plan, refund policy, what you had for breakfast last Tuesday, profit and loss, assets and liabilities… you get the idea. All pretty prohibitive for a small retailer, and the costs are pretty steep too.
So I thought I’d have a look at the flogd product. I signed up for an account and had a shop ready inside half an hour (with interruptions).
One thing to note: during the sign-up process, I was asked for my paypal email address, which is fine that’s how I would get paid. I was then asked for a password, and as this followed my paypal email address, I thought they were asking for my paypal password – which obviously made me pause. They weren’t of course, just allowing me to nominate a password for flogd.
The “drag and drop” layout was pretty intuitive – I didn’t have to watch the instructional video, and I decided to create my own rather than use the template. It’s all customisable, so you could even create a shop to fit on your sidebar. You can even add a YouTube video.
The help documentation is pretty good, though a little light on the actual integration into your website or blog (which I’ve mentioned to Phillip). You need to turn off the virtual editor for WordPress powered blogs (via users and profile), so perhaps there might be the possibility for a plugin down the track.
The website could use a bit of SEO work, but the functionality is fine – nothing appeared broken.
Nothing to set up your shop, that’s all free. Transaction fees for sales under US $25, are what is charged by the transaction provider (PayPal – so a $20 USD sale would cost you 88 cents). Transactions over $25 are charged at a flat rate of 3% + transaction fees (so a sale of $100 USD would cost $6.20).
While you might not have the exposure of an eBay store, the fees compare favourably. An eBay store would cost a minimum of $14.95 per month, standard insertion fees (up to 50c), and final value fees (so a $100 sale would cost over $9.00 + monthly fee).
RightCart seems to be a primary competitor. They charge a 1% flat fee commission on a sale and 2.9% + .30 USD transaction fee (a $20 sale would cost $1.08 and a $100 sale $4.20). On the plus side, you can sell other vendor’s goods (who will take a commission of between 1-19% of the sale price), but the cart is not able to be customised at this point – it is 160 x 600, and it uses an iframe – so on MySpace it sits in a separate frame.
Cartfly is another competitor, but I really didn’t delve too deeply because it appears I need to sign up to find out more about the product. Their blog contains one post from over 3 months ago. They claim their fee is 3%, but I’m unsure if there are transaction fees on top. From what I understand, the transactions are not processed in the same window, as with flogd.
My (basic) sample shop is below.
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