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The High Cost of Exchanges and Drop Shipping?

If all you need beyond the open source edition is the ability to process exchanges and perform drop shipments, the price difference is astronomical- from “free” to $4000. You’re basically paying for a whole slew of overkill features you don’t need, just to get the two simple feature you do. And if I understand correctly, you have to buy a minimum of five Standard Edition licenses whether you need five of them or not, which just adds insult to injury.

Is there any middle ground? Some way to add the two features we need (even for a fair price) without having to go all the way to the full Standard Edition?



Nick, thanks for your post. We set our prices based on a number of factors, including the complexity of the code and the cost to us to maintain it going forward. The two things you mention - RMA processing and drop ship - are pretty involved pieces of software, and we believe worth paying for.

We are, obviously, big fans of open source here at xTuple - and I think we provide an awful lot of sophisticated business software functionality for absolutely no cost. (Yes, no cost - not sure why you have the scare quotes around “free.”)

But we don’t think it’s unreasonable to try and sell our more advanced products so that all the people who maintain the wonderful free PostBooks core product can make a living. If you’ve looked at other commercial offerings, then you’re surely aware that $4000/year is a fraction of what other systems with similar functionality would cost.

The simple, honest answer is that the technical effort required to try and separate out some of the integrated commercial features is simply not justified by the likely return we’d see from people who want to purchase such features a la carte. We’re a business, and we need to be able to make judgments like that. Our hope is that in most cases, once a company gets to a point in its growth that it requires this kind of advanced functionality, they’re also able to see the cost justification of investing in a commercial license. If the economics of that value exchange don’t work for your company right now, we certainly understand - and hope that might change in the future.


I guess I’m curious as to what the features in question actually do? The free software has a credit memo option that puts items back into stock and reverses the sale on the accounting side. So we could do exchanges by issuing a credit memo for store credit, and then submitting a new Sales Order for the other product, right? So is there another document called “Exchange” or similar in the SE? Or is it just an automated way of doing the above steps with less clicks?

Same question for drop shipping. The manual way would be creating a PO with a different shipping address and receive it into inventory immediately, and ship the order via “Drop Ship - vendor name”. How does the SE Drop Ship feature differ?

And ‘free’ was in quotes because even though there’s no direct cost for the software, there’s still a cost associated with data migration, integration and user training (as with adopting any new product).

Quick answer - there is a video on the automated Returns processing at:


We’ll have one for drop ship soon as well, but this feature is new in 3.5, currently in beta testing. In the meantime, you can review the development spec at http://www.xtuple.org/node/2481