Looking for Web-Cart software that allows for multiple sellers to create a sort of "Farmers Market" online.
October 9, 2006 1:52 PM   Subscribe

[Selling Stuff via. the Internet]Filter: I have a friend that would like to host a "Farmers Market" on the internet. I'm trying to search around for software that will let this happen, but my google-fu is failing me.

Here's the stipulations:

A)Self-Hosted, not some sort of Ebay-Mirror

B)Hosted on a linux server, so Windows-based software is out.

C)Multiple sellers that can manage their own goods. It'd be best if there were two groups, sellers and buyers.

D)Auction-type software would probably fit, especially if it's open-source, and I'd be able to fool with how long the auctions are listed. (We don't want people to actually auction off their goods, but the auction software is the only software we could find that had multiple sellers... for less than several thousand dollars).

Can anyone recommend software that will help us out?
posted by hatsix to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A lot of little ma and pa online stores use osCommerce an open-source storefront. It's written in PHP, uses mysql, is easy to hack/customize and there are lots of user-contributions.

(The bad part is that it's easy to customize so the contributions can suck. Also i found the base code to be a total rat's nest, but to be honest, i didn't spend that much time with it.)

You can probably find a mod that allows for various sellers to add/edit/delete their goods in a specific category - but can't futz around outside their category.

How did you envision the whole order fullfillment process working? (and are you really planning to ship fresh veggies??)
posted by kamelhoecker at 3:11 PM on October 9, 2006

In a perfect world, the seller would worry about order fullfillment, we would simply administer the software. We have a large group of specialty sellers (no fresh fruit!) who have made it clear that they want to be able to show off their products/inventory on the internet, they're the ones that are pushing for this.

My friend wanted to set up a base osCommerce site, and she would do all of the legwork, emailing orders to the correct seller, making sure payments were processed, and all that jazz, but she has a full time job, AND is the acting head of the group that wants to be able to sell their ware online. I'm patiently trying to explain to her why this is a bad idea, but I need an alternative to offer up, but haven't found one.

Also, the sellers are aimed at keeping things as local as possible, so rather than categories of stuff, it's more like regional areas. They've all agreed that they would not try to compete by offering "sales" unless they have a stockpile that needs to be sold fast.
posted by hatsix at 3:48 PM on October 9, 2006

There's an osCommerce mall variant. You might also look through the rest of this list for software that might allow multiple sellers to share an ecommerce site.
posted by Robert Angelo at 4:37 PM on October 9, 2006

I have built this for my own farmers' cooperative, and am readying making it available, turn-key, to growers in January.

Here's the site I currently use: locallygrowncoop.com. I built it five years ago starting with osCommerce but re-written for the farmers' market domain. The new system is re-written from the ground up using Ruby on Rails. There's a link on my current site to join a mailing list for the new proect, and of course it will be announce in Projects when I go live.

The one hitch (with your criterea) is at first I will be hosting it. However, after the first season and it has proven itself, I'll be making it available for markets to host themselves.

There is no off-the-shelf system that currently exists. I've been invited to enough farming conferences to speak on what I've done so far to be pretty sure of that.
posted by ewagoner at 5:05 PM on October 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

We've created a marketplace over at www.uask.com where users can sell both at retail and based on negotiations

It's free to create a store and is setup in an ebay style way without the auctions.
posted by uask at 6:19 PM on October 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

Marketplace had a story about this recently. Maybe it will help you.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:16 PM on October 9, 2006

How about that... those "Local Food Plymouth" folks managed to get off the ground. They're following my system exactly, from the weekly timeline down to the initial software setup. We've been doing this for five years, but they get on Marketplace their first season -- I'll have to scold my PR person.
posted by ewagoner at 2:16 AM on October 10, 2006

The Oklahoma Food Cooperative has indicated that their software is/will be GPL'ed. I think this has the buyer / seller functionality you are looking for although I haven't given it a shakedown.
posted by sagwalla at 3:15 AM on October 10, 2006

As promised, here's my MeFi Projects announcement.
posted by ewagoner at 4:30 PM on January 22, 2007

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