Openship started as a personal backend to manage my e-commerce shops. Inventory for my shops were coming from multiple sources like Amazon, Aliexpress, Rakuten 3PL, ShipBob, etc. Before, I was using Zapier and Google Sheets to manage routing of orders, returns, and replacements, but realized I could optimize more by connecting with the APIs directly. That's when I decided to build Openship.
Openship is a Shopify application that allows you to connect and manage all your shops' operations from one dashboard. It allows you to dropship items from Aliexpress and Amazon, but also route your orders to your own inventory stores like FBA, ShipBob, or a custom 3PL solution. Dropshipping is a good way to test items before buying in bulk, but the model is not sustainable in the long-run. Building a brand and differentiating are the next steps and Openship allows that transition smoothly without being locked-in to any fulfillment service or platform.
Openship is also a development tool. It allows you to access Shopify's GraphQL Admin API for each of your shops using the built-in GraphQL Playground. You can make quick changes to your products or orders right from the dashboard. You can also make micro applications that use the API. For example, our customer service agents found it cumbersome to locate an order's tracking. We built a simple input where the agent could enter the customer's name, address, or order name and it would fetch the tracking. Internally, we have also built micro applications that open tickets when we are contacted, send replacements for lost items, handle returns, buy more inventory when our Rakuten 3PL inventory is running low, etc. We plan to clean these up and release them as well.
What's the catch? How can you offer this application for free and have it be open source? How do you plan to monetize?
All great questions. Our goal is simple. Provide an intuitive operations backend with a clean UI that can be customized and adapted. Within this dashboard, we are building a marketplace where users can list their products for others using the platform to source from. This includes one-time orders or bulk buying and private labelling. The marketplace will have an industry low seller fee of 4%.
This is called an open core model. We are providing an application and then monetizing around that free service. We believe this will align our goals with those of our users since their success will be linked with ours.
You can read more about the tech stack here.