Wednesday, May 5

eCommerce Apps in Rails

We have been working for the last couple months with a few customers that are building eCommerce sites and it has been an eye opening experience. Not just from the usability perspective (aka - how do we make this site as good an experience as Amazon) but also in looking at the technology that is available. eCommerce today is more about the user experience than it was in the past. There are important distinctions that you need to make to engage the customer in eCommerce today: (to name a few)

How do you give users goods that are well targeted?

Lets face it. If it is not something that I am interested in buying (or that I want to buy for a friend) I do not want to see it.

Can you make it social?

I am not only interested in what my friends buy, but what my friends might want to buy.

How do you get them to come back?

Spam is painful, but if well targeted and useful (and maybe even fun) I want to see it.

With so many options to choose from in terms of providers, you really have to nail the experience. Perhaps this is common across all applications in todays world. Look at Kayak - they just made searching for travel easier and have dominated. Maybe it is because there are so many applications out there that have such bad user experiences. It is encouraging to see applications gaining some usability standards, particularly in the area of eCommerce. And with Rails, it just makes it so much easier to build it quickly and efficiently.

It never ceases to surprise me how much you can do with Rails and a little help from the open source community. We have been using Spree eCommerce and have found that it is a great place to start. Of course there are a lot of core technologies that need to be added to it that we are developing to help these sites gain an enhanced user experience - but that is pretty typical.

Looking forward to cranking out more projects with Spree and the future of Rails eCommerce apps.