[Something that can share product] Share products


I've a customer and he wants me to build a website for him where he can LEND product to one customer, take it back, and lend to another. DO you have something that can do that or something close?

  • Tony G
    • Mr. LetsFixTheWorld


    Lucas - That's becoming a common model for new businesses, and for common libraries that have extended the concept beyond books and on to tools and all kinds of things.
    I think there are a lot of applications for this model. I would think there's already a simpler solution at WP.org plugins. But using eCommerce software for the purpose makes a lot of sense too.

    I work with enterprise-scale business software where items get a serial number for warranties, returns, and other purposes. I haven't looked at MarketPress recently but if it supports serial numbers then you might be able to "sell" items for no cost and then process returns. I know WooCommerce can do this.

    Lent items don't need cost details, invoices, taxes, shipping, etc. So those kinds of details would need to be removed from user-view when a loan is being taken. However, to use services like this, the business model is often to sell subscriptions, so the cost/price and other financial functionality shouldn't be removed, only masked for specific product categories. There are also penalties for returning items late, repairs, and unreturned items, and for these scenarios you do need to display financial details, accept payments, etc. For example, while it costs nothing to borrow an item, pricing should be displayed on the item page to advise visitors of the costs for delays or lost items.

    That leads to a question about exactly what a "loan" is. In essence, we are selling something that has value, but we are selling it at a 100% discount. When someone buys that item, they are also placing an order to buy that item in the future if the item is not returned. When returned, that sales order can be closed. Otherwise it needs to be auto invoiced, and the amount due is then receivable. How do we apply the 100% discount? That's like applying a coupon. In GAAP you always need a credit and a debit to balance an equation. You lend an item worth $10 to a friend, but that creates a $10 obligation to that friend to return it. When the item worth $10 is returned, the $10 obligation is credited. All of this is basic accounting of the exchange of goods.

    So maybe you can get MarketPress or WooCommerce to do what's required within the scope of the software as it is. You may need to set some CSS to "display:none" for fields that don't apply, or change labels like Price to Value based on details.


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