Cloudflare Workers Marketplace
Fulfilling the demand for a seller platform
Having rated our business ideas, we were not surprised to see, that all our ideas based on the Cloudflare Workers platform came out on top, with a pretty high rating. Just by how much and how many.
Overall, it does make sense. They scale well, there is near to no upfront financial investment, they are fairly easily built with no frontend necessary, target infrastructure and thus are not dependent on user-generated content.
After the first worker was already built and ready, we realized the originally announced Apps with Workers feature, which would have allowed using the Apps marketplace to sell bundled workers, surprisingly never got out of the closed beta.
It was even actively closed as noted in the docs:
That is very atypical for Cloudflare features that typically go to general availability after the closed and then open beta. A more detailed explanation was posted on the forum. Coupled with a promise to be working on another solution.
Learning all this, a defeated feeling set in, and we felt it was the first big lesson of our journey. Not the idea being bad, not having no customers, but our assured monetization platform not existing at all.
Scrutinizing ideas and vetting and validating monetization options, will become a bigger part of the process.
Luckily, accepting this small loss, a few minutes later the next idea formed: Our own Worker marketplace!
Offering a place for everyone, including us, to sell their workers.
Of course, this idea would be much bigger and more complex, crushing our limitation of only spending a month on any specific idea.
Being confident in this idea, we accepted this and were willing to make an exception.
Especially after putting our heads together, and jotting down the first version of the concept. Building on our e-commerce development experience, pretty wide knowledge of possible technologies and tools and the willingness to try something new.
The main advantage for us here was Swell e-commerce SaaS:
They offer loads of flexibility for developers, solid docs, flexible API, switching out the checkout completely and the option to change the database models for every entity, instead of just using meta fields / custom fields like competing options.
Landing page on why Swell makes sense for building marketplaces: swell.is/for/marketplaces
A few things stood out:
A great pricing scheme for startups, where you don't pay anything until you earn the first buck and the ability to switch to a more profitable plan later on when the revenue is big enough.
Supporting the frontend stack out of the box and hosted, which we wanted to use anyway: Nuxt
As well as allowing you to host the headless frontend yourself, like on Cloudflare Workers.
A preexisting guide to build a marketplace with Swell, from Swell itself:
This guide is based on Stripe Connect, which allows easy distribution of revenue shares to multiple partners. It simplifies the booking immensely, as it immediately transfers the appropriate share to each vendor.
Meaning, we would never have that money in our accounts and don't need to deal with it.
Of course, every idea comes with its new challenges. This time, it was the limitation of Cloudflare Workers to have only one Worker active on each request route at each given time.
Having some client prospects in mind, that could benefit from at least one of our Worker idea, while already using a Worker for caching, this limitation was to be circumvented.
As hoped, this led to the next idea: A Worker router!
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