What's new in nopCommerce 3.0 - part 1 - multi vendor support.

With little less than 2 weeks before the nopCommerce 3.0 release we thought it would be useful to share our take on what the new features are in this much awaited major version of our favorite e-commerce system.

NopCommerce 3.0 is all about multi-vendor and multi-store support. One curious fact about this is that no open source system supports this out of the box. In other words you would not get these enterprise features for free unless you are using nopCommerce 3.0.

Another big change in nopCommerce 3.0 is the HTML Refactoring of the system, which was done by Nop-Templates and contributed to nopCommerce.

We would like to cover these major changes from the perspective of the store owner, the developer and the Nop-Templates products. This is quite a lot for one blog post, so we will publish it in several parts.

Let's start with the multi-vendor support!

Imagine you would like to create an online market place, where different people or businesses can manage sales of their own products through a common web store. Products from all independent vendors appear in the common store catalog and online customers shop at one store even though the products are supplied by many different vendors. There are numerous examples of such market places. Let's just mention Amazon and Themeforest to give you an idea of two of the biggest - one selling pretty much all types of tangible and some non-tangible goods, the other selling virtual products only.

How does nopCommerce 3.0 can afford you with such a market place out of the box?

With nopCommerce 3.0:

  • You can add unlimited number of vendor accounts and have more than one user mapped to a vendor account.
  • Different vendors have separate administration area for products and orders by default. Since all vendors are added to the Vendor role, the store owner can configure access control to the different administration areas for the Vendor role.
  • Products from all vendors appear in a single store front
  • Customers can place products from different vendors in one order
  • All vendors receive a notification when an order is placed, which includes one of their products.
  • You have a common payment processing

What is missing from this implementation is the ability to do vendor commissions and payouts. But with some customization and automation effort this could be easily implemented, unless you don't mind to do it manually, which is also an option.

This is its initial release and there are a few useful features that could be added to the multi-vendor support in nopCommerce. Certainly it will evolve and be enhanced over time. Still it is powerful enough and will get you a long way in your virtual mall enterprise. Do consider voting for these work items if you would like to affect the future development of the multi-vendor support:

http://nopcommerce.codeplex.com/workitem/11368

http://nopcommerce.codeplex.com/workitem/11369

What does the multi-vendor mean for the nopCommerce-savvy store owners?

First of all it means that you need to add the vendors to your store:

NopCommerce Vendors

Second you need to configure the ACL (administration access control) for the Vendor Role:

NopCommerce Vendors ACL

 

You need to map the users who represent your vendors to their vendor. Note that you cannot map a customer to more than one vendor.

Customer Vendor Management

 

And you get a new field on the product administration pages:

NopCommerce Product Vendors

 

You do get to filter your products and orders by vendor:

NopCommerce Product Vendors Filter

 

NopCommerce Order Vendors Filter

For the nopCommerce developers, the multi-vendor support means that the Product and Customer entities now have a new property: VendorId. This property needs to be taken into account when implementing product or customer searches as well as various custom entity mappings.

The Nop-Templates customers might wonder how our nopCommerce plugins and themes are going to be affected by the multi-vendor functionality. The good thing is that the plugins and the themes are going to work with the multi-vendor support out of the box.

The multi-store support however, which is the other highlight of this nopCommerce release is a completely different story. If you would like to learn more about it, stay tuned for part 2 of this series on "What's new in nopCommerce 3.0?".