Launchpad? What's That?
If you haven't heard about Launchpad yet, it's an affordable, powerful Magento-based eCommerce system that is completely different from all of the other packaged Magento installations out there. It's affordable ($4,000), has no ongoing license fees (it's a one-off purchase) and it's completely open.
Why'd You Build It?
Launchpad hasn't been a cheap project - our team has invested over 800 developer-hours into it at this point. Other agency owners are no doubt running the numbers in their head now, thinking about how much revenue those developers could've generated by working on custom Magento implementations for large customers. But I've kept investing in Launchpad to get it to where it is today for a very personal reason - I'm passionate about freedom, openness and creating a level playing field for all merchants.
I believe that a merchant should:
- Have the same level of features on their eCommerce site, no matter what their budget is. Great products and great service should win the battle for the consumer's dollar, not just great budgets.
- Be in complete control of their business, able to change hosting providers, agencies and platforms when they feel it's appropriate, and never be locked in.
- Build a successful online presence on truly open technologies.
Some of the cloud-based eCommerce systems out there solve that first item, but not the other two. Systems like Magento solve the second two, but not the first one. So, I set out to build something that would combine all of the features and affordability of the cloud-based systems with the openness of Magento.
Why Should I Refer People to Launchpad?
As an active member of the Magento community, I feel like it's important that we as a community have a Magento-based option for every size merchant, but especially the smaller merchants, and those options should make it easy to move up. When smaller merchants are referred to BigCommerce or Volusion or the like, they're gone. Those cloud-based systems sink their teeth into them and do everything they can to keep them. They're generally never going to come back to Magento, no matter how large they grow.
So, if we want our ecosystem, our community, our marketshare to continue to grow and be healthy, we have to direct merchants into an option that gets them "hooked" on Magento while still allowing them to grow and move from an entry-level option to a more serious Community-based option all the way up to a fully custom Enterprise build.
I'm hoping Launchpad can fill that role - it's designed so that after the site is launched, the merchant can take it to any agency, any freelancer, or even maintain it themselves. So you can send merchants to it and know that we're going to convert them into Magento users that remain active in the Magento ecosystem and will continue to have a need for a Magento developer, Magento extensions and other services for years to come.
So, next time you come across a merchant who is looking for an eCommerce site but doesn't have the budget for a custom Magento build, I hope you'll refer them to Launchpad. For $4,000 we'll get them live on a solid, open Magento-based solution in just 2 business days, and once they're live, they're free to hire you for any other work or services they need. It's truly a win for everyone in the Magento community every time we sign a new merchant up for Launchpad.
I'm anxious to hear any feedback the community has - I want this to be a solution that the community feels strongly about, so if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please post them here or reach me on Twitter at @JoshuaSWarren.