Stuff & Nonsense

For the last couple of months I’ve been working on a platform to solve one of the problems I’ve seen repeated across numerous businesses in the ‘fast fashion’ ecommerce space.  The problem is how to update your homepage and site with the numerous promotions you’re running in a timely fashion without impacting site performance.  For the majority of businesses in this space, Magento is the platform of choice for the web facing side of the business.  Unfortunately Magento’s tools for this particular problem are lacking.  Smaller businesses tend to use CMS blocks with javascript timers to make sure their promotions show at the right time.  Moving up the scale, we have plugins for magento that allow cms blocks to be shown on a schedule.  And at the top end of the cost spectrum we have ‘personalization’ platforms that, as well as offering variant testing and personalization also offer the ability to schedule blocks of content.

However, all of these solutions have their downsides.  Writing javascript for your CMS blocks is…inelegant to say the least, and requires javascript knowledge.  Scheduled CMS block plugins have caching issues, and the larger personalization platforms inevitably introduce the ‘flicker’ seen when content is swapped out for javascript replacements as well as being fairly costly pieces of software. aims to solve these issues with a platform built from the ground up to do one thing, and do it well (ie: without the flicker that is the hallmark of similar platforms).  It offers a simple web based platform to ‘cut out’ chunks of your website and transform them into dynamic, scheduled content with an easy to use interface and built in geo targeting.  It’s lightweight, fast and very easy to use.

Going forward I aim to add more features such as variant testing, analytics and pre-built widgets (such as countdown timers, image slideshows etc) but for now the core platform is available for testing and evaluation.

Pricing is free while the platform is in Beta, but moving forward I expect it to be much lower than other personalisation platforms (in the range of hundreds of pounds per month, not thousands) and pricing will be based on ‘teams’…so for the price of one team you’ll be able to add X number of sites and X number of users.

Anyway, you can find the Beta platform here:

Once you’re registered and have created a ‘team’ (more on that later) you simply highlight a section of your site, replace any ‘variables’ in the content with placeholders like {{link}} or {{image}} and automagically creates a template with data inputs. For images, the template engine is smart enough to detect when you’ve put a variable in place of an image and automatically adds an image uploader input.  For colours, you get a nice colour picker. You can also add any javascript you want to a template to be run after the html content is injected into the page.

Sign up, have a play around with it and let me know what you think.  Be warned, this is early stages so the interface is still at the start of the learning curve, and there’s undoubtedly a few bugs lurking in there but I’m a big believer in the release early, release often mantra so expect more features and bug fixes to be added at a rapid rate.

If you want to talk to me about using this platform in production, you can get in touch with me here: [email protected]

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