An interesting discussion about goals for Shopp e-commerce project took place on the
#shopp IRC channel a couple of days ago. Though nothing is set in stone it sounds as if a remote API may be on the drawing boards and possibly may be made available as of Shopp 1.3.
This is a pretty exciting development and could open up a range of possibilities whereby software running on your home or office PC, cell phone, PDA or even another web server could access and interact with the Shopp plugin.
- Receive low stock alerts when you are on the move
- Update inventory from your favourite smartphone: take a picture of the stock, type out a description, assign a price and click “Update”
- Inventory control using a smartphone. Count physical units using your phone camera as a barcode scanner
Those are just possibilities and much will depend on the way in which the remote API is implemented. Of course some ideas, such as low stock warnings (or failed purchases), are nothing new and Shopp essentially does much of this already in the form of email notifications. Even so this represents a further development as apps could flag these events up in a way that an email client cannot do.
Rich Visualization and Dashboards
One of the most exciting possibilities, for me at least, would be a desktop client featuring the sort of deep and rich user interface that is hard to realize in a regular web application.
Though I don’t operate as a merchant, I envision that being able to quickly open a window on my office PC – or having a dedicated app on my favourite widescreen smartphone or tablet – showing stock levels, store activity and a slicker, faster view of the stores products and prices would simply be fantastic. It would also open a pathway to using a PC as a point-of-sale that integrates directly with your online store – this could all but eliminate any discrepancies between stock levels in the physical store on one hand and the virtual store on the other.