Marketplace build with custom URLs and form submissions


I’ll preface this by saying I’m new to Softr and have limited coding experience, but enough to at least put together a concept and identify gaps. Where I’m at right now is in knowing what I want and how it could potentially operate, but I’m not sure if I’ve over-complicated it, if there are better solutions, etc. I’m not asking for free work or free coding, but prior to hiring for that, I would appreciate insights on how best to approach achieving my end goal.

The use case is that I have a corporate gift box company that offers private company stores. I’m looking to automate the process and build for scalability. Clients can send the private URL to their intended recipients to select their own gifts (no pricing is shown; the shop is set to only show one of three pricing tiers that’s predetermined by the client for their shop and that never changes; the gifts at that price point feed to the page from Airtable), or the client can login to the portal and order the gift to be sent to their recipient or to themselves if they want to hand-deliver. In the portal, they’d have access to all tiers of gifts so they can send less or more expensive gifts ad hoc.

This all starts with new clients going to a Softr landing page, where they’ll pre-pay for their branded packaging at one of four quantities (12, 24, 36, 48). As gifts are ordered/shipped, this number gets adjusted in Airtable and then reflected in the Softr client portal dashboard. When a new client order comes in, a client code is generated that ties to every component of the project moving forward. (I’m still battling through how to have client codes auto-created in increasing sequence by number; I know it’s not possible in Airtable as it stands, but I’ll be having a script or something similar done to address that.)

The front-facing self-select gift shop requires a unique URL that includes a client code (i.e., giftshop dot com/shop-A01-acme-inc, with A01 being the code and Acme Inc the company name as recorded in Airtable) that needs to be captured as part of the submission form so we know which page the order came from. (Which I know can be done with the hidden field, but the overall Softr native form situation presents significant challenges. More on that in a sec.) The client code is tied to billing and is what lets us know what branded packaging to use. The products themselves all respectively have the same SKUs, as they’re tied to bundle SKUs in our Shopify store, the components of which are tracked as stock inventory. So, the SKUs can’t be client-specific for each gift product or else we’d have to create product pages for every SKU, create identical bundles tied to the same inventory, etc. Thus, the URL becomes really important. And, if I were using Softr forms, we’d do a hidden field that contains the client code as backup, but the downside to that is that it’s one more manual step with potential for human error.

The front-facing gift shop has X-number of products (typically three) at the pre-set price point determined when our client first signs up for the program, but the pricing is never shown. The page shows the gift pic and details. Then, there’s a submission form where the recipient specifies which gift they want and provides their shipping info. In some cases, the product has personalization that needs to be captured. (The Softr form’s lack of conditional logic is really what made the native form an untenable option.)

When the form submission comes into Airtable, it generates a Shopify draft order and a QB invoice based upon the client code. The invoice is sent to the client to review/approve/pay, at which point the payment of that invoice triggers a changed status field in Airtable and the gift goes into production with a changed Shopify payment status, with our fulfillment process taking over from there. Along the way during fulfillment, gift status updates in Airtable feeding from Shopify and our order picking app get reflected in the client portal dashboard.

This is the general workflow:
New client submits order to start using the program> Triggers an email with a link to a page to collect their logo file, company info, verbiage for their notecard, and messaging for their shop page. All feeds to Airtable. Logo file is manually put through a workflow process for use in the packaging and to create a file for the client’s shop page once the file is added to Airtable via Zapier.

Shop page is set up in Softr, being a duplicate of a page already created and used as a template for all shops. (I can’t figure out if it’s possible to automatically duplicate a Softr page while also changing the page URL of the new page based upon Airtable data, or if that all must be done manually.) Offline, the packaging is designed/ordered and, once received, Airtable is updated and the client is notified their shop is live (along with a QR code attachment pointing to their shop) via Zapier automation.

Client sends the shop link or QR code to their customer for them to select their own gift.

Customer/recipient goes to client landing page & selects gift > Order submission goes into Airtable, triggers QB and Shopify via Zapier.

Paid invoice > Invoice gets attached to field in Airtable so is available as a PDF for client in portal dashboard. Paid invoice also updates Shopify (which puts the order into our order picking system) and Airtable via Zapier. As certain status changes occur, Zapier and Airtable automation update the status in Airtable, which is reflected in the client dashboard so they can see the most current status.

Fulfillment tech process is handled via Shopify and our connected apps. Once shipped, the tracking number goes back to Airtable via Shopify (updated via Shipstation), which feeds into the client dashboard.

When clients are buying gifts directly from their client dashboard, it’s a much simpler initial process–the order is submitted with the client code being captured as a hidden field in the form. The form in the dashboard also includes payment, which is recorded in QB and then that triggers all of the subsequent steps like a client-selected gift would.

What I don’t know:

  1. Is it possible to automate the generation of pages in Softr, including changing the URL to match a field in Airtable?
  2. Is there a typically-more-preferred form app than Paperform for creating beautiful forms with product pics and details (modal), conditional logic fields, etc.? My ideal would be that the recipient click on the photo of the gift and that counts as the form selection, rather than having to select it from the drop-down list. It feels like a cleaner experience, so I’d want any Paperform alternative to be able to offer that.
  3. Is JavaScript the best way to feed the client code/URL as part of the form submission when the form is embedded in the page?
  4. What I’ve made more complicated in the tech stack than it needs to be, not having used Softr, Airtable, or much of Zapier in the past.

Any insights, recommendations, or pointers about this would be MOST appreciated!