There’s been a distinct lack of new Magento content here for the last few months. That’s because I’ve been busily beavering away on our latest internal project which I’d like to share with you. It’s only partly Magento related, so bear with me. We’ve created a multi-channel mobile sales dashboard on Google App Engine called OrderPipe, and it’s now been made publicly available. It aggregates order data from multiple online sales channels for consumption on mobile and desktop.
We launched a private beta trial at the end of September, and are nearing a point where we’ll be making it generally available (albeit initially free) to everyone.
I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you about it, what it does (technically), and why it may interest you.
Internally OrderPipe is used to keep track of what sales are happening and which channels are doing well on any given day, and to summarize that data for each month. We access it from iPads, iPhones and on the desktop tens or even hundreds of times a day (on particularly exciting sales days).
Keeping a handle on sales became hard once we started running multiple Magento stores, and selling through multiple Amazon markets. Our solution internally was to start slurping order details from multiple places and aggregating them in an App Engine app. Over time that app has grown and evolved, and now we think others will find it useful too.
What does it do?
OrderPipe brings orders from several sales channels into a single place, and aggregates them for display on a mobile dashboard (think tablets, smartphones etc). From a technical point of view, that means we hook into the API’s of various sales channels and pull order data into our own system. On the way in the data needs to be cleaned up and any gaps in the data plugged through a variety of means. We’re constantly working to improve the data quality, it’s a never ending job finding places where API data is lacking and finding ways to import it consistently for display along side orders from other sources.
Some cool things OrderPipe does:
A Sales Progress ‘worm’ inspired by the politcal devices shows you your sales progress through the day, and how it measures up to the recent average day. You can see if your day is off to a good start or not, whether you’re likely to have an above average day, and when reviewing previous days, which days were well ahead of the recent average.
A Sales Map, showing you where individual sales are happening (as they happen during the day) and also giving you a shaded color indication of which states are earning you the most revenue relative to each other.
There are loads of other features too; top sellers, top earners, order lists and order views. You can try out the demo dashboard by filling out the demo form.
What else will it do?
Internally we use two tools; Roambi and Geckoboard for detailed sales analysis and a shared ‘office dashboard’. To do this we feed our OrderPipe data into these systems. Public API’s to do this, and to more generally access your OrderPipe data programatically are very high priorities on our roadmap.
Equally important is getting order data into OrderPipe from sales channels that we do not yet support (eBay, WooCommerce, Jigoshop and WP-Ecommerce, for example) – we’re hoping a published input API will help other developers bring their own data.
Why you should use it?
We’re really aiming this at business people who are actively running an ecommerce store and selling on multiple channels. One of the things Magento and Amazon do poorly is give you a up-to-the minute data in your pocket, particularly if you want to see the whole picture in aggregate, rather than logging in to different sales channels. OrderPipe solves the problem of multi-channel sales visibility, and lets you enjoy the benefit of an internet business, away from your desk!
As an agency, if you have clients using Magento and also selling on Amazon (or soon eBay) and think they might be interested, please contact us for more information about how we can work together.
Try the Beta
We’ll be running the free private beta for a short while longer, so if you’re interested please let me know. Once we launch we will hopefully be offering a ‘free for the rest of 2011′ deal so that people can continue to try OrderPipe. Going forward a monthly pricing plan starting at around $9/month is the plan, depending on transaction volumes.
Stay tuned for an update on OrderPipe once we release it for general availability, and if you’re interested in the project, please check out the OrderPipe blog for ongoing product and feature updates.