In the age of the internet, electronic commerce has emerged as the most popular internet activities when considering what internet users do when online. Since last two decades, online shopping has taken off as an increasing number of consumers, purchase increasingly diversified products on the internet. Given that how to attract and retain consumers is critical to the success of online retailers.
The client approached TatvaSoft to launch an e-commerce website that offers a collaborative platform to increase engagement of retailers, curators and shopper with consumers in a different way than the traditional e-commerce. Following are the prime considerations that need to be fulfilled by the new Social E-commerce website:
- Design an online retail website that is easy to use and people love spending time on it
- Provide an exciting tool for people to "play" with products to present them for sale online as "Sets"
- Present products in an engaging manner to shoppers that allows people to investigate further and buy if they want to
- Provide financial, social and personal incentives for people to design sets and promote products on behalf of the retailer
- Automate product uploads wherever possible through the use of affiliate network retailers and APIs
- Automate set creator payments to a one-click process based on approval of data provided in a report and links to PayPal
- Update the website without the need for deep technical knowledge
- Provide a flexible framework that can scale up as stores, brands and product ranges increase
- Flexibility to support text, image and video content
- Optimised for all major search engines
- Provide retailers with easy access to upload or edit their products, access reports and to maintain their store data
TatvaSoft provided an e-commerce solution named "Set & Shop" that implemented social and "Virtual Marketing" concepts for engaging and retaining consumers. Following are few features that make Set and Shop different from other traditional e-commerce websites.
- Product Sets: Enable Shoppers to create and manage sets for different products. It serves as a source of revenue to set-builder as they receive percentage commission when a shopper clicks through and makes a purchase directly from the published set.
- Search and Filters: Facilitates free text search that returns results specific to shoppers profile and preference. It also allows them to set and remove filters.
- User Profiles and Settings: This allows shoppers to sign up with the website using popular social media account like Facebook and Twitter. They can modify their profile, account information and can set preferences. They can set favourite brand, products and can also share their said favourites with friends.
- Live Feeds: Facilitates user to view most recent activities related to favourite products, stores, brands, friends and shopping community members.
- Friends: It provides the ability to view those friends added in shoppers' community, search for a friend and invite a friend to get connected, allow access to friends' dashboard based on access rights set by a friend and identify friends who are online.
- Social Media: This allows users to follow website through popular social media sites. Shoppers or set builder can publish sets on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest as well as share with the friends. The users can review, rate and write suggestions for the sets.
- Newsletters: Enable user to receive website newsletter by simply providing an email address and without registering on the website.
- Retailer Portal: Allow retailer to get insight into who likes their products, different brands being paired with their products and set creators putting their products to complete the product sets. It also allows retailers to register their store, products and inventory on the site. Retailers can manage information to be displayed on the store, how their products will be loaded and will also receive notification on pending approval requests for them.
- Competition: Retailer can create and sponsor a competition. They will be able to set the theme, entry criteria etc. Any competition created by the retailer has to be approved by the system administrator to be available on the website. It encourages shoppers and set builders for participation and promote their products. Shoppers and retailers can share the competition, participation entries and winning entry on the site, Facebook, Twitter, bogs, etc.
- Message Broker Engine- A BizTalk Application: This allows to process product data received in different format from different sources. The engine converts information in the standard format to be loaded in the application database. All data to the engine is validated as per the message transformation rules for a particular retailer. This ensures that background of all images are transparent so that they look clear and standard on the website.
As a new way of doing business, some of the key benefits offered by "Set & Shop" include:
- Presented a new concept of shopping with earning through unique "Product Sets"
- Allow locating the specific product from the website in no time
- Encourage more people to join using leading social media that includes Facebook and Twitter
- Increased sales and a potential increase in profits with the decreased cost of online store
- Increased product and brand awareness eventually increases customer loyalty
- Architecture : MVC
- Database : Microsoft SQL Server
- Server : Windows Server, BizTalk server
- External Tools or Components : SSRS, Facebook API, Twitter API, QR Code Generator, Tiny URL API