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New idea for website add-on

johncjohnc subscriber Posts: 3
I`d like to get feedback to see if there is interest in this type of service.  Some sites (ie, Amaonzon.com, Buy.com, etc) allow you to login and view all of your customer information, including contact info, billing history (no storing of credit cards) and tech support (opening new tickets and tracking them).  Would you use such a service for your website?
The service would be hosted.  After you setup an initial account with the hosting provider, it`s as simple as putting a link to the account login.  Customers create a new account with you.  They can then maintain all of the information wthout your intervention being required.  It will also have PayPal integration, which updates the billing history section for customers automatically.


  • stonesledgestonesledge subscriber Posts: 608 Silver Level Member
    is this for hosting service? folks like control, so it would be a good idea for any business. this will allow them to view history, ask questions, get help and pay. Do you have a programmer to set this up? what is your business type?
  • johncjohnc subscriber Posts: 3
    Hi stonesledge.  It will be hosted.  I`m not a website hosting service however.  I supply custom web based applications.  The online account service is something I`d like to offer as a canned solution.  Here`s an example of how it would work:
    You have a website and sell services or products.   You get many repeat customers and believe you can build more loyalty and offer high quality service by giving your customers a free place to view their information (mentioned above).  You come to my website and open a new account.  You choose the offerings you`d like for customers to access in the account and add a link to your site.  Now your customers can register new accounts with you.  When customers log into your account, they are taken to my site but the account you setup is branded.  So customers experience a close to seamless transition.  Their login is also secure.
    I do have someone to help put it together.  I just wanted to get a few initial comments and explore if people here thought it would be a valuable addition to their website, marketing and customer service.
  • johncjohnc subscriber Posts: 3
    CampSteve,Thanks. Your comments are helping me flesh out a better description.  I should have mentioned it is very oriented toward those that are selling online and most likely are subscription based or selling many products.  The advantage is that you don`t have to type in and maintain all of this customer information.  Customers will set it up and maintain it themselves (think about how you do this at Amazon.com).Yes - most everything will be consolidated.  However, once a user makes a purchsase on your site, he will be prompted to log into the account (which you have setup with me) and then is directed to PayPal.  They finished the trasaction and are returned to their account with a thank you message.  The billing history is already updated.You can log into the admin area and view purchases by customer name, date, product/service, etc. and downloaded these into Excel.  You can also download address information (for those that included it) into Excel or maybe another format for mailing customer gifits, marketing material or what ever it may be.  Customers can as well signup for newsletters or unsubscribe within their account.Maybe one confusing area is the difference between an account the business owner creates and an account the business owner`s customers create.  If it were a hiearchy, I would be the top account.  Business owners would setup accounts with me to use the service.  Next, their customers would setup accounts with them.  So the business owners look like Amazon.com or Buy.com to the customer in regards to account login.  I`m not proposing a place that you can login and see information from accounts you might have with Amazon.com, Buy.com, egghead.com, your bank, etc.  This is only for "your" customers to view transactions they have "only" with you.  Does the concept seem clearer now?Thanks,John
  • johncjohnc subscriber Posts: 3
    Hi RaiseCapital,This is in the early development stage and still has a ways to go.  Since it will be hosted on my server, no installation is required.  That brings up a key question, would businesses rather install this type of application on their server or is host it with me?Hosting is the simplest solution.  No install and maintenance on your part.  You can be up and running immediately.  For the install solution, there will be some barriers for businesses since not all hosting companies will allow you to install applications on their server.  But if that is a popular enough request, it will most likely be offered.Thanks,John
  • efoozleefoozle subscriber Posts: 2
    johnc,The negative:    Currently I cannot think of a way to overcome all of the technical issues with the idea. The main goal would be to make it as transparent to the user as possible while making it extremely easy to configure for the company using your product. Take for instance a OScommerce based site. They already have a built in database with all customer information and some pretty standard statistics. You could make an add-on module for this but then you have tons of other CMS and prebuilt packages to hook into, not to mention the millions of custom sites. Another way would be to mirror all of the companies database, stats, etc and then give them a great interface. But again, millions of different database structures to deal with. The Positive:    If I were to try this here is what I would do ( for beta ). Find the top 5 most used ecommerce systems. Such as OSCommerce, Virtumart, etc. (just examples). Then create some kind of easy to install package which streams data back to your servers in a secure manner ( another challenge ). On top of that add a javascript snippet like Google uses for Analytics to get traffic information. After all of that information is on your server, compile it into a super intuitive system that people can log into and analyze.
  • johncjohnc subscriber Posts: 3
    Hi CampSteve,Those are interesting ideas but won`t happen because of collaboration and privacy.  You would need to somehow convince Amazon.com, Buy.com PayPap, 2checkout, etc to transmit specific customer information to your online service.  They will need customer consent of course, which no customer will consent too, since that just seems fishy.  Besides, people already have their information spread out all across the Internet as it and aren`t readily willing to keep doing that for little benefit.I believe some service such as MS Money Online or Quicken do something similar to an online statement, which are tough competitors.I was referring more to online businesses that want to allow their customers a place to update contact info for that "one" business.  If an online business uses PayPal, they can`t view their customer contact info.  Have you ever tried this in PayPal?  A history tab is there but it doesn`t work.  So this means if the online business wants to mail out a branded mug or something to specific customers, they can`t because the mailing address isn`t available to them.  Perhaps it is but it will take some effort to get it.    With the online service I propose, they could search for the highest paying customers and send out gifts.  Storing customer contact info was just one of the aspects of this service.
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