Puzzled by eCommerce

Creating a web application from scratch involves much more than web pages and logic behind the scenes. It includes coming up with algorithms to ensure the functionality of the product works in a specific way. James Gille, a student in the fully-immersive program at devCodeCamp, produced an application called Puzzle Spot, which implements email retargeting to get customers to come back to the site.

With a collection of puzzle games at home and the way he goes about solving problems in class, it is evident James has a strong desire for deciphering puzzles. For that reason, it did not come as a surprise to anyone when he created an eCommerce retail store to sell many different types of puzzles.

“I am obsessed with twisty puzzles, such as Rubik’s cube,” James explained. “I was initially going to make a site for just twisty puzzles, especially since most sites only sell specific kind of puzzles. But I wanted to make a web site that sells all kinds of puzzles, which is where the multiple kinds of puzzles come from.”

It is James’ passion, something devCodeCamp has always encouraged when it comes to students coming up with ideas for projects, that allowed his project to explode with character. More importantly, it allowed him the ability to construct a product that has the potential to become a legitimate business.

James integrated Google and Facebook to give customers a reliable way to log in to Puzzle Spot. He also integrated PayPal to allow customers a safe way to purchase puzzles. With a built-in log-in system and ability to buy items on the fly, it is immediately clear how quickly customers are able to acquire products from the site. The consumer friendliness of Puzzle Spot can ensure customers will re-visit the site for their puzzle-purchasing needs.

The need for a log-in is not only to give customers an ease of access, it also exists to allow James, as the potential owner of Puzzle Spot, the ability to better serve his clients. The only way for a customer to buy a product on the site is to be logged in. Plus, as mentioned, the retargeting aspect of the application is a game changer in the sense that it provides a direct portal to get customers to come back for more.

As fantastic as Puzzle Spot is from a pure web application point of view, the algorithms are what James should truly be proud of. In his project are three unique algorithms that took the way a company can retarget users to the next level.

The first algorithm is if a customer adds an item to the built-in shopping cart but does not purchase the item, the customer will receive an email letting he or she know that there is an existing item in the cart. Even more impressive, the email includes suggestions that will direct a customer’s attention to products that are available on the site related to the searches that were performed by that customer while they were logged in. The email will contain up to 10 puzzles that would have been returned from the searches.

If a purchase is completed on the site, the client will receive two emails with two different types of recommendations.

The first email shows recommendations for puzzles that are based on the user’s searches and any similar searches other users have done. The algorithm involves populating the email with a users searches and comparing it to other searches. The second email will send a customer recommendations based on puzzles related to the puzzle he or she purchased and puzzles other customers have purchased. The algorithm is based on whether another customer bought the same puzzle. If another customer made the same purchase, the customer receiving the email will see all of the puzzles bought by a different customer with similar purchasing interests.

With the development of the algorithms, James has the ability to build a different kind of business than the selling and distribution of puzzles. The algorithms allow flexibility to construct countless eCommerce sites, with the context of the site being rather irrelevant. Therefore, Puzzle Spot could just be the beginning of a long journey that could have James advising companies on algorithms to better retarget its customers.