The birth of Tea Commerce

It all started on Sept. 23, 2010 to umbraco meetup in Copenhagen with my colleague Rune Grønkjær and four others from the great danish Umbraco community. The evening’s most discussed topic was ecommerce systems – what systems exist today, advantages / disadvantages, which situations fits the various systems and are there alternatives to the systems we use today.

There were both talking about uCommerce, super simple webshop, simplecartjs and simple ecommerce solutions developed for specific cases. As the conversation went on, it soon became clear that among the participants we would agreed the lack of a low budget ecommerce system for Umbraco, but still flexible and having the functionality necessary to operate an online store.

On the way home from Copenhagen, we could not help but think of how such a system should work and how to be developed, and during the trip we laid the first bricks for the new ecommerce system for Umbraco – Tea Commerce

Focus points

Tea Commerce has been developed with two main focus points, compared to the people who ultimately use the system to implement webshops – low cost and simple implementation. The price has been a really great focus point throughout the entire development, which has meant that we thought out the system more simple than other ecommerce systems – but without losing the essential functionalities.

The implementation process of Tea Commerce is incredibly simple, because the whole system is integrated into Umbraco and when you know Umbraco you quick get the touch of Tea Commerce. Many ecommerce systems offer a whole lot of different options so the system can be used in all possible situations, but often ends confusing the developers and end users with all the different options and possibilities. To avoid this in Tea Commerce, we have cut away some functionalities which are often not used or are incredibly complex to use. This of course means that Tea Commerce can not be used in all situations, but by having focus on the primary functions I think most webshops can be build untop of Tea Commerce and as the big prize the system is incredibly easy to implement and use.

Price Structure

Now for one of the very important points – the price. As promised, we have placed great emphasis on price and this means that a site license for will cost: 249 USD ex. VAT – Introduction price rest of 2010

With such a low price, it is possible to implement Tea Commerce in even very small projects with a limited budget, while the system is so flexible that it can easily be used for large ecommerce solutions that require a more custom setup.

Integration scenarios

To give an idea of how flexible Tea Commerce is, I will give two fictitious examples of customers who want a webshop and how these could be implemented in Tea Commerce.

Scenario 1 – simple ecommerce solution

In the first senarie we have a customer who has just started his business up and want to try the online market – but have a low budget. Its products consist of 10 different posters, and they want a new website to sell these through where there is a shopping cart and online payment. These functions are the core of every ecommerce system and of course Tea Commerce have these features out of the box. With the included JavaScript API and integrated payment providers its super simple to implement and the price makes Tea Commerce the perfect choice for a shop with a low budget.

Scenario 2 – advanced ecommerce solution

The second senarie could be a larger company that has hundreds of products, product variants and want the possibility for customers to choose gift wrapping for their purchase. As products and product variants is controlled by Umbraco document types it makes Tea Commerce incredibly flexible and allows almost anything is possible – just as you know it from Umbraco. Gift wrapping options could be created as nodes in Umbraco and be outputted in the basket process via XSLT, and through the javascript API it’s really easy to add custom fields to an order or to add gift wrapping as an order line.

A more technical point of view

If you want a more technical approach to Tea Commerce, I would recommend you to read my colleague Rune’s blog post that goes more into technical details about how Tea Commerce work – from the frontend, through the server and into the data layer.

The next few weeks

Over the next week, my colleague Rune and I will blog about the development of Tea Commerce, all the possibilities in the system and how you can use Tea Commerce to build your next ecommerce solution. If you want a live review of the system and look at some of the technical possibilities of it, you’re more than welcome to come to Umbraco UK Festival – Copenhagen where we’ve got 30 minutes to present the product and to take on questions.

We hope to have a version ready of Tea Commerce we can share with developers in the next couple of weeks so you can try it out. Follow our blogs/twitter the next few weeks for more information and as always you’re more than welcome to ask questions or make a comment.