• 2,292 orders taken over 2 days
  • €88,684 revenue
  • Implememted using Odoo - Open source eCommerce and point of sale

The partner

FOSDEM (or the Free and Open Source software Developers' European Meeting), is a yearly free-to-attend, volunteer-organised two-day event in Brussels that's focused on promoting free and open-source software development.

The context

Each year, FOSDEM sell their own branded t-shirts and hoodies.

This is a hugely popular part of every FOSDEM event and generates a considerable number of sales, with many attendees proudly wearing their purchases throughout the weekend.

Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, both the 2021 and 2022 editions of FOSDEM took place online, which resulted in them changing their approach to merchandise and partnering with OpusVL.

In 2021, OpusVL worked with FOSDEM to create their very first webshop, which meant that despite the event being virtual, attendees could still show their support by purchasing t-shirts and hoodies, which were delivered to wherever they were based around the world.

The success of the 2021 webshop led to another in 2022, however in 2023, with the event back in-person, FOSDEM required something a little different.

The brief

This year, rather than a webshop, FOSDEM needed two things:

  • to create a website where people could buy the merchandise in advance then collect it at the event
  • implement a point-of-sale system to be used on tablets at the event, connected to local printers that would provide a receipt once the merchandise has been purchased

Given the project was for the open source community, it was also essential that the solution was implemented using open source software.

In terms of the point-of-sale system, FOSDEM wanted 5 tablets with the system on, so they could spread their merchandise stalls across 2 separate locations, with 3 points-of-sale in one location and 2 in the other, so they could monitor footfall and sales in each respective area.

Given the OpusVL team's development expertise and the nature of the partner meaning FOSDEM's team also boasted strong technical capabilities, 2023's edition was well-positioned to be a strong return to the in-person event.

The journey

To deliver FOSDEM's needs, OpusVL used Odoo's Open Source standard E-commerce package as the foundations for the website and POS system.

The website required little development, but did need features such as comments, that let users know that merchandise would not be shipped out like the previous two years, but must be collected at the event in-person.

Whilst the website development was relatively straightforward, as part of their security measures, FOSDEM wanted 3-word validation to accompany each website order.

This is so when attendees came to collect their purchases, volunteers could verify their identity and find their order.

As a result, OpusVL created a random word generator that would include 3 random words on each sales order email, that the attendees could then use at the event.

OpusVL developed the point-of-sale system to be optimised for FOSDEM's tablets, and their team did a some of their own configuration to ensure the system worked smoothly on their hardware devices.

In order to configure the POS to local printers to produce receipts, the tablets and printers were connected using Raspberry Pis.

The delivery

After a large amount of testing from both teams to ensure both the website and POS system were fit for FOSDEM's purpose, the website initially went live to enable attendees to pre-order their merchandise ahead of the event.

To help on-board the FOSDEM volunteers with their new POS, the OpusVL team undertook some training sessions with them based on their respective roles.

This meant that when the event took place, they'd be comfortable using the system, which in turn enabled them to deal with the predictably busy queues of people lining up for merchandise.

The outcome

Taking place between the 4th-5th of February, 2023's edition of FOSDEM was a highly-successful, well-attended return to the in-person event in Brussels.

During the two-day event, 2292 POS orders were taken across the 2 locations, which equates to a sale roughly every 25 seconds for the whole conference.

When combined with the 139 orders that were placed via the website before the event, FOSDEM's 2023's merchandise sales across the weekend totalled an impressive €88,684.

This collaborative partnership between OpusVL and FOSDEM is emblematic of the Open Source way of working, supporting the community and ensuring like-minded attendees get the chance to offer their own support and spread the Open Source message, whilst getting themselves a notable keepsake in the process.