I will be announcing a beta version of our QR Shopping application for brothas and sistas to play with and see how we can hustle hard with a $5/month GoDaddy account. This will be our first product from Swagg-Scientific and I’m going to cover the service for you guys to get your first look.
It Ain’t As Easy As It Look..We Good Enough to Keep It Simple
Keep in mind that it is my policy and also the policy of my crew to be extremely open source and transparent with our business models for brothas and sistas. We are not going to sit up there and talk that “do it on the low” BS or walk around with a smug like we know something you don’t know. We don’t get down like that – our goal is to provide you with all the information to help you get better.
Now, the thing I love the most about my hustles is whenever people like me and the 30 Rotten Dissidents create stuff like this, it’s always some cornball sitting in a corner or on the sidelines wanting to say something dismissive like “oh, I could’ve done that ish” or “I know something already out like this” stuff. This QR Shopping stuff wasn’t easy but we are so good, it will sound and look easy when we break it down. So look out and expect to hear those type of comments, mostly coming from brothas.
The thing is we make it look easy and that’s what real cats supposed to do. We put in the long hours of work, research and trial and error and leverage our expertise worldwide in development. We architect the hustle, mapped out all the details and found issues in workflows that need addressing or correcting. And when we clean all of those details up, we just know our hustle inside and out after that.
What happens is cats then hear us talking and explaining our hustle like it is second nature, cats think we done something easy like they could have done it in a day. I wrote an article discussing how Swagg Scientific and the 30 Rotten Dissidents create solutions (http://www.dreamandhustle.com/how-swagg-scientific-and-the-30-rotten-dissidents-create-and-execute-hustles/) . Once you cats read that article on how we create solutions, then you see how we work hard to make our hustles look too easy.
Keeping Our Promise
Now, here is the deal because I made a promise – I’m going to give the code and application only to the cats who made comments on the previous blog series discussing QR code shopping walls. No one better email me asking for the code, I already know who getting the code from us. Now everybody else here on Dream and Hustle, you guys can sign up for the Shop Wall Service and use it as beta users. If you sign up as beta users, you will have access to the service for the first 6 months at no cost once we go live. That is how we going to play it out.
I want you guys reading this article to understand something – you are not my target customers nor will I be targeting you or peddling you with this hustle or any of Swagg-Scientific hustles. What we will be doing is showing you cats exactly how we build our hustles, take to market and build up our customers and money to show you how it is done. This is what real cats supposed to do when talking about hustles to brothas and sistas and we are real cats in this game.
The Business Model
One of the first thing I did and I stated this on our Dream and Hustle Facebook page was GoDaddy.com was having a 99 cent domain registration sale. So we got the domain name shopwallstar.com for 99 cents and we hosting a $5/month ASP.NET – these other cats can keep making excuses how expensive it is to launch a side hustle in this tech game. Now, why did we name it Shop Wall Star? The reason why we didn’t name it QR Wall Star is because we can use both QR codes and NFC tags and did not wanted to limit our offerings to QR codes. We can even use UPC barcodes with a name like Shop Wall Star, right?
It is important to know your real customers when running your hustle. We have two types of customers that will be using the Shop Wall Star service – a marketing firm or a business operation. The marketing firm will create QR code posters on behalf of business operation and the business operation will probably manage their own QR code posters. Keep in mind that most business operations don’t have the technology skills to promote their own QR shopping posters so the marketing firm will be doing that. And most side hustlers selling hair extensions or selling their e-books can operate their own QR code posters.
So the way the money works is marketers and business operations can sign up for the service. We will send them an invoice and they can pay us by Paypal, check, money order and the reason why is we have an active relationship with our customers instead of hide behind some credit card payment form. I want you cats to keep this in mind – focus on invoicing and building a relationship with your customers so they can know you.
The Social Responsibility and Opportunities
When Swagg-Scientific create solutions, we incorporate social responsibility to the hood and to brothas and sistas in our business models. A lot of these Black technology cornballs be talking up much ish about being Black in technology but ain’t about ish when it comes to helping Blacks with technology. Swagg-Scientific is led by a brotha from the West Side of Chicago and we always keep the hood in mind because I know where I came from and ain’t forgotten either.
Now, the social responsibility Shop Wall Star creates is a new entrepreneurial opportunity for brothas and sistas in the hood to become marketers and promote local business operations using this new mobile commerce or m-commerce technology. They can sign up new business operations and manage their shopping wall posters and help consult others in their community as a marketing firm. Remember that I told you that the first framework for economic empowerment in the hood is the marketing and communication framework – that’s why this is the first project we are putting out there.
The other opportunity is we give cats working full-time jobs a way to side-hustle as a business operation. They can now put up their own QR code shopping posters to promote their brand. For example, some sista can now make Valentine Day gift baskets put up QR shopping posters of those gift baskets up
around town. Someone like a typical successful brotha forgets to get a Valentine Day gift for his significant other. The brotha sees the QR code poster at work in the break room wall board offering Valentine gift baskets by scanning it and place an order from his mobile phone and the entrepreneurial sista can get the gift basket delivered the same day or next day.
Every hustle Swagg-Scientific put in work to get out to market, we sit down and heavily consider brothas and sistas in the hood and empowering our people to do for self and stack their money up. Now go and ask these other cornball Black technology entrepreneurs talking ish what they about..yeah, thought so.
The Service Architecture
Now this is the diagram where cats will look at and say “oh, that’s simple!” like they could have done this in two days. This is the part where I tell you how we put in the work so at the end of the day, we make it look easy for sideline cats to say that. I actually discussed this diagram in a previous article about QR codes but our architecture is actually changed as we worked on it. Let’s break it down for you to understand.
The diagram above only shows the backend administration part of the Shop Wall Star service were people setup the posters. In previous articles, I had a more simple version – this version is way more robust and powerful and let’s break down the backend system.
Clients. These are our customers who we invoice and take payment from. They are the ones who sign up for the service and can create and manage everything from the shops to the products to posters and orders and members.
Shops. This is going to be the shop or store that manages the products for sales and posters to promote the products. A client can manage more than one shop and that is what marketers will do mostly on behalf of business operations.
Products. These are the items for sale. Actually on the display side, these will be known as “Offers” because they can be a service like a 30-minute massage or a product like glass of Moscato someone ordered using a QR code wine menu at an upscale lounge/club. A shop can have multiple products for sale and there is an inventory feature to keep track of the product count to prevent over selling.
Before I continue, let me give you cats some research we discovered. We found out a lot of QR Shopping Walls implemented worldwide had a problem of over selling and selling out too fast and keep getting orders coming in!!! That’s because people will mobile phones start scanning, other cats see and start scanning to and crowd science come into play. Then entrepreneurs who had only 25 in stock is getting 60 to 70 orders and don’t have all that inventory on hand and have to refund unfilled orders. Many of you think this is a good problem but it can hurt your business operation long term so that’s why we including an inventory feature.
Posters. These are the printed display with the product and corresponding QR code to scan. Now keep in mind that you can create a printed display or you can actually create something like a PowerPoint slide show that rotate QR code posters from an flat panel TV. You can even create a touch screen “kiosk” with a large LCD where someone can press the “Cosmetic” button and see a huge line of lipsticks with QR codes to place an order or press the Jeans button and see a huge lines of jeans with QR codes.
Orders. This is the list of incoming orders that have been paid and the client can view the incoming orders in near real-time. The client business operation will see someone ordered a six pack of homemade soap from their QR poster and see the ship to address then mail off the item and mark the order as fulfilled. There are two types of order screens. The first one is the one I just described which is an incoming list of orders that a bartender or food line or e-commerce operation can use to fulfill. The second one is a lookup where the customer can bring in a confirmation code that can be scanned and look up the order details.
Members. These are the extra people that will need access to parts of the Shop Wall Star service to do their job. For example, the bartender will need to access the orders screen from their tablet to see incoming drink orders from the tables. The lady redeeming passes to the exhibit will need to scan a barcode off a customer phone and these types of people need accounts on our service to log in and view orders. We assign these type of members roles where they can only view orders or view reports or other parts.
Development and Testing
We developed this software using ASP.NET and it could be done using the free version of Visual Studio Express 2010 and SQL Server 2008 Express which can be found at Microsoft.com/express and look at previous versions. I do not know if you can create this using the Visual Studio 2012 Express so don’t ask me. Besides, the people getting the code don’t need to worry about that because they getting compiled code they can just upload and configure to run.
The one area that we have not implemented yet and I discussed this was we had a feature that can automatically create pre-formatted posters. While this is not hard to setup, the issue we had was it was generic. People should seriously try to look different and creative with their QR shopping posters and if they don’t know how to use free open source software like GIMP, then they should hire a freelancer to make the poster. See, we creating more economic opportunity for graphic designers now, ain’t we?
To test the payments, we setup using the PayPal Sandbox which is a test environment. We used this environment to allow us to enter simulated orders with simulated PayPal accounts and credit card numbers and send us back an IPN notification and return a message. This helped us create end-to-end transactions in our testing area.
Now, here is a secret and undocumented – I seen a lot of code that talk about parsing PayPal IPN data as it is received – don’t do that dumb ish. Take the incoming IPN, store it in a database and pull it up later and parse it. There were times back in the day, I was parsing the IPN as it came through and something happened where an error screen was generated and I lost all of the IPN information. You can’t afford to lose order information serving clients so don’t be parsing IPN as they are coming in.
Now the other thing we had to do was how do we keep the order list fresh with new orders? We simulated receiving and fulfilling orders and here is the thing – I cannot automatically refresh the list because what if 25 new orders just came in while I was picking the last order? Then the orders start get moving to the bottom and cats lose place of the orders. What is better is to have a “Get Next” button that retrieve the next order in queue, fulfill that order, press the “Get Next” button again, fulfill that order.
See, this is how real cats get down in this technology space, we do real simulation and research on our hustles so we can take it to market with confidence we did our homework. That makes our customers confidence knowing we put in real work and research also.
Marketing and Promotion Plan
So how do we plan to get the word out about our hustle? I already been through the trial and error of marketing and know how to get it done and done right. That’s why I never worried about cornballs bragging about Facebook likes and other cornball metrics to make themselves appear successful. The only metric that matters at the end of the day is the number of transactions and money you make from your hustle – don’t be fooled and distracted by other cats and their hype.
Steve Jobs and Apple already showed you how to market technology – you simply demonstrate the technology as a solution offering. You don’t need some tech media article, no one reviewing your ish, no cats making comments or trying to hype or downplay your ish. All you have to do is demonstrate to the customer how it works and let your customer decide for themselves if they will enjoy the benefits or pass on your product or offering.
Our customers will be marketers and business operations and that’s who we target and market to. We sell marketers the benefits of doing for self and managing a portfolio of business operations and demonstrate to them how to do it with Shop Wall Star. We show business operations how a person can create a side hustle business and demonstrate to them how to do it with Shop Wall Star. Swagg-Scientific business models and your business models don’t need to do a damn thing else but show your customers how it work and the benefits.
Video Demonstrations. These are videos we can host on our web site or YouTube as a sponsored result showing how an entrepreneur can setup their own shopping wall poster and show them the whole process.
Scenario Demonstration. These will be advertising that does “storytelling” so people can identify with the hustle. As Frederick was getting his tires changed at the shop, one of the mechanics entered the lounge area with his smart phone and scanned a QR poster of a fish and chips platter of a nearby food joint. Frederick saw that the mechanic was ordering his lunch in advance and Frederick was feeling hungry too. So Frederick scanned the QR poster for the turkey burger and noticed the offer page recognized he was at the tire shop and provided an option for delivery while he waited at the tire shop.
Live Demonstrations. I will be doing live demonstrations here in Atlanta by showing cats how to create and market these posters.
Facebook Group. We already secured the Facebook group for Shop Wall Star and will be using it to promote new ideas, showcase QR shopping wall posters in different cities and areas and promote it for advertising on Facebook.
Tag Marketing. We will have a “Powered by Shop Wall Star” on the bottom of the offer page so cats trying to figure out the hustle can sign up if they want to start ballin like the entrepreneur they purchasing from.
The Next Steps for Shop Wall Star Service
Right now, we are polishing up and doing some more testing and simulations and documenting all of the type of business models and tweaking the Shop Wall Star service to accommodate those business models. This is important to help marketers identify existing businesses in the hood they can approach and provide marketers with information on how to successfully implement solutions for local businesses in our hoods.
Our next step will be creating a public beta that will allow you guys to play with the web site using the simulated PayPal accounts and test QR shopping posters. Again, cats who sign up for the beta testing will have free membership for 6 months after our go live date. Then after that, we will do live testing here in Atlanta with cats using physical posters and simulated accounts and get their feedback. We take this feedback seriously and we interact with our brothas and sistas on these streets while the rest of these cornball Blacks in technology hide behind a computer and act like they hustle harder than the 30 Rotten Dissidents.
Then once we are comfortable, then we go live and that’s when we start spending time and money on the marketing efforts and start invoicing clients. Oh, I forgot to mention something that will piss off my haters – this code is designed to be multi-lingual meaning we can run this ish in Malaysia, Singapore, Tokyo, Dubai, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Berlin, Paris, Kingston, Seoul, Mumbai, Rotterdam and we can keep going and going with this hustle – yeah look at my haters..they all mad..