In the real world, a purchase experience is a very social activity. You can choose a dress with a friend, buy provisions for a road trip with your friends, or even have an expert assist you in choosing the right outfit for an upcoming trip. When you try to buy some type of tech, you can be confused with so many options or nuances, so you ask a store clerk and they can assist you. Can these types of experiences be replicated and even enhanced online? In this project, we offer an online concierge service. We believe that, even in our digital world, we can connect with other people to have great collaborative experiences.
What it does
Our solution provides customers the experience of an assisted purchase, in particular, getting help from a concierge with knowledge and expertise with the products offered at the store. In a session between the concierge and the customer, the concierge can capture information about what the customer is looking for, interactively present products to the customer, and assemble a cart that the customer can checkout with at the end of the session. The solution is built as an extension to an existing BigCommerce store, expanding the customer's options when trying to complete a purchase and accelerating the store's ability to interact with its customers and increase conversion.
How we built it
The experience was developed using Next.js framework, hosted in Netlify. We connect to a CockroachDB, which is a cloud database service, using Prisma as our ORM. Backend functions were developed with Netlify functions hosted in AWS, and connect to the BigCommerce API. We added product search functionality with algolia, and for the video call we are using Twilio. To add quick personalization and front-end components we included Builder.io. Finally, for the synchronization between the guest and the host we are using web sockets with a cloud service called pusher.
Challenges we ran into
When we started the project, one of the ideas we had was to find and use the best tools for the job, regardless if we had previous knowledge of the tool or not. These was a challenge for us when adding services, tools, frameworks or libraries. At the end the multi-disciplinary nature of our team and our learning mindset got us through the finish line.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The whole process of idea to implementation was challenging. Having finished all of the main ideas in two weeks, with little-to-none experience with most of the solutions used, and a team who have never worked together before, is something we rate highly. At the end, we are proud of the result of these weeks.
What we learned
The importance of sharing ideas, initiatives, experiences and knowledge. This is something we want to keep happening in our community. Embracing team collaboration and communication.
What's next for Shared Purchase Experience
We want to expand on the solution's capabilities, add more possible scenarios, try to keep working on optimization, and in a not-to-distant future get our idea out into the world.
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