Twilio for E-Commerce

Jimmy Phone-In Order Manager by Jimmy Baker

Customers of
can call in to check the status of their orders, place new orders, or
get in touch with a customer service representative.  Dial 877-248-0621 to give it a try!

How did you hear about Twilio?

Levi Kennedy, a friend and fellow ruby dev, told me it was a cool API and to check it out. The company I work for,, has been using a Cisco Call Manager
which is not so easy to customize to say the very least. After only a
few minutes of playing around with Twilio, I knew it would be a perfect
fit for us.

Can you tell us about how you're using Twilio in your business?

I had always thought it would be cool to give our customers the
option to call in and check the status of their orders. Many of our
customers are on the go all the time and it's not always convenient for
them to check the status of their order on the web, so checking order
status over the phone was the first feature I added.

Another really cool feature is the ability to place your order over
the phone. Often we have customers who just need to get an order in
quickly, so sitting in a calling queue isn't pleasant. Using Twilio's recording and transcription
services, I was able to easily add an over the phone ordering feature.
Customer's call in their order, and their order is recorded,
transcribed and sent to customer service to be placed. Then the
customer gets a email detailing the items on their order, and once it's
shipped, they receive an email containing tracking info.

What technologies did you use to build this application?

Since I built our app with Ruby on Rails, it was a breeze to integrate it with Twilio's services. Webficient makes an excellent ruby gem creatively called "twilio" which uses the amazing httparty gem created by John Nunemaker. I also used Shopify's active_shipping plugin to query FedEx, UPS, and USPS to get tracking information for the caller's order.

How long did it take you to build?

It took me about 3 hours
to get everything done; including planning, coding, and
recording/re-recording my voice. I was amazed at how easy the Twilio
API is to use. The documentation is only a few pages long, and outlines
everything I needed.

"Hands down the most fun I've had programming in a long time."

What are your long term plans for this app?

I'm planning on adding a feature that lets the caller hear product
information including specifications and stock levels. I'm also
considering a "repeat last order" feature that's very popular. In short
the caller calls in, and says "repeat my last order" and using the
caller's phone number, and I'll look up the customer and place a new
order that's identical to their last one.