We are about to start a new ecommerce project that has a slightly different approach, in terms of the way you shop, than the Shopify platforms offer out of the box.
In short - it is a subscription e-commerce where the currency traded with, by our customers, is points instead of a traditional currency such as e.g. USD.
The way it works is as follow:
Our customers pay a monthly subscription, let's say $100. We convert the $100 into points (in a way our own currency - we call our points for Repeats) that our customer can rent products for. A retail price could be $50, for a dress, which we price at 25 Repeats (points). Then a customer can rent 4 dresses at 25 Repeats (points) each for the 100 Repeats (points) the customer has in his or her account.
See attached illustration
Our customer creates an account and chooses a subscription plan via our ecommerce platform. In this example, a $100 subscription plan is selected.
For the $100 the customer gets 100 Repeats (points) into her account. As can be seen in the illustration (Step #3), the customer chooses to "only" use 75 Repeats (points) in the month in question, thereby saving 25 Repeats (points) for the next month in her account.
The customer chooses 3 pieces of clothing that she wants to rent (25 points per piece = 75 Repeats (points)) and proceeds to the checkout.
The customer pays, at checkout, with her Repeats (points), in the same way as with a "real" currency.
We send the order to the happy customer.
The following month, when the customer again buys a $100 subscription for 100 Repeats (points), the customer then has 125 Repeats (points) in her account, since she saved 25 Repeats (points) the month before.
In fact a straight forward process, but the small quirk that the currency traded with is points (Repeats) instead of a "real" currency like USD.
We know we need to develop an app that can handle the subscription part, so the question is whether it is possible to use points (Repeats) as currency instead of a traditional currency. Or do we need to find a different platform to workwith.
We love to hear from you regarting the abov, and if you have other takes on what a solution like this could look like we love to here it.
Anyone who can help?
If you have not started and are still shortlisting platforms, know shopify is not in anyway built to facilitate systems like this it's workarounds all the way down.
For credit/points/tokens based stores if the store is on shopify Plus it can probably utilize checkout-scripts, and/or the giftcard api to track a customers credits.
Non-plus stores would want to use an app like loyalty lion or rise.ai to build something custom.
For tracking points that can be as simple as customer tags or metafields.
The problems will come in marking/tracking/reporting orders as paid for products that have realworld prices on the backend, then of course all the places on the frontend where you need to supplant money with points.
Thanks for your reply... I thought Shopify would cause us some issues with our business model.
Would going headless with Shopify as a backend be an option? Think it would require a Shopify Plus plan to make it work - right?
You mention apps... In reality, if we are a non-plus store, would it make the best sense to develop an app that can do what we need?
If you were to start such a project, would you avoid Shopify completely?
I'd love to hear your take on it!
@BayOfDenmark Hi, yes you would require Shopify Plus to customise checkout and cart. It all depends on the budget you have available.
Iterating @Wedevagency's point once it comes to checkout you would need Shopify Plus to customize the checkout for things like getting rid of everyday normal currency symbols , injecting text of what the users current "points" are etc etc. It piles up out of control fast if you don't have someone on the team even marginally aware of the platforms behaviors.
It's possible things like NFT or crypto could be utilized to gymastics this stuff but it's all hypothetical hand waving I've never seen or tested.
"Shopify" is not silver bullet , while none of these things are insurmountable until such time as merchants can directly define their own custom currency there really has to be a healthy budget with a specific business case as to why it must be shopify versus building something standalone and fully custom to the actually defined business cases.