The New York Times had an article this week about Goodwill Industries, the $2.6 billion dollar non-profit organization that generates revenue through retail sales of donated goods and clothing. In part due to the economic downturn and also because of Goodwill's new marketing and diversification efforts, more middle class customers are going to Goodwill to look not only for prudent purchases but also to find steals in high fashion. Marc Jacobs dresses and designer handbags, often unloaded in bulk by manufacturers clearing out previous season inventory, are being sold for a fraction of their retail price, and buyers are snapping them up.
Goodwill built their corporate website, intranet, and learning delivery system as an integrated solution using Liferay Portal back in 2005, selecting Liferay over IBM Websphere Portal, Plumtree, and other packages whose per-seat licensing for Goodwill's 80,000 employees would have cost a fortune.
You could say that Goodwill is re-defining itself: capturing market share in new segments and diversifying their offerings. They're moving upstream and presenting themselves in ways that makes Goodwill attractive to a new generation of customers. Meanwhile, these new customers are realizing the value and quality that Goodwill provides and being smarter about the way they spend their money.
There are some obvous parallels to the open source software phenomenon, as customers that dismissed open source software as somehow unfit for the enterprise are now realizing that OSS is absolutely valuable for business-critical deployments, providing capabilities equal or greater to their proprietary counterparts at a fraction of the cost. Allianz, AutoZone, Cisco, and Lufthansa Flight Training are just a few of the many enterprises making smart choices with Liferay open source.
Meanwhile, open source vendors like Liferay have addressed the needs of business end-users with solutions that present high-quality open source software in an attractive way. For example, Liferay introduced our Enterprise Edition subscription at the beginning of the year and developed Social Office as a focused solution for team collaboration.
It's always nice to see Liferay customers being covered in the media, and it's great to hear that Goodwill has been innovating in their industry, not only by using Liferay open source software but with new and creative marketing and diversification.