Twilio for E-Commerce

Jonathan_kressaty

Ripstyles CD Conversion Ecommerce by Jonathan Kressaty

Customeres of Ripstyles can call in to get the status of their orders over the phone.  To give it a try dial 866-960-9433, press 2 at the prompt, and then enter 1001588 as your order number to hear the order status.

How did you hear about Twilio?

I heard about Twilio a looong
time ago, months now, and at the time had very little knowledge about
programming. Might have been on a blog, Smashing Magazine or Engadget
or something? Not entirely sure.

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

Essentially what I’ve created is a custom PBX for Ripstyles.
It’s simple, clean, but directs people to the correct phone number and
will give them order status over the phone by simply typing in an order
number.
  You can read more about how Jonathan’s Twilio application works in his blog post Twilio + Ripstyles Ecommerce = Amazing!

What technologies did you use to build this application?

Let me preface this – I’m not
a developer. I’m trained in economics and run a business, but wanted to
learn to program as a hobby and to further my biz. About 6 months ago I
embarked on the journey to move us away from a hosted shopping cart to
a new system that was internally run. This would allow us to create
custom webstores for our partners that use Ripstyles as a backend to
fulfill CD ripping services that are branded for them, and would
comprise a management app that tied everything together so that orders
and our internal workings were seamless.

My app (lovingly called Rosie)
runs the business essentially – everything from managing webstore
inventory and availability to handling contact with customers and
keeping track of orders and their status in our conversion facility.
Twilio is being integrated to provide customers with a way to get order
status and be routed to the correct person in our office while
maintaining our philosophy that talking to a human is much better than
relying on an answering system.

The whole system is written in PHP, and is built atop CodeIgniter
(my absolute favorite framework). It’s super easy to use CI to get PHP
apps up and running quickly, and as soon as I can strip out some of the
proprietary stuff I’m going to be sharing all the (very simple) code I
used for this Twilio project.

“I
think the entire app, including the management part that lets me see
recordings, data, and transcriptions, is under 300 lines of code.”

The TwiML format is awesome and actually makes it quite easy to setup a system that’s super robust in a short amount of time.

How long did it take you to build?

I
spent about 4-6 hours in total pulling the entire thing together, but
I’d say about half of that was with actual Twilio stuff. For all you
other Twilio devs – use the debugger in your account. It is amazing and
will save you loads of time trying to figure out where your problems
are.

What are your long term plans for this app?

Long
term, the plans for the app are to make it integrate completely into my
business and provide myself and employees with a way to manage calls
and have data right at their fingertips. I’m going to implement fedex
tracking immediately, so not only will it give you order status but if
your order is in transit it will read you the latest fedex details and
delivery estimates.

After
that, my goal is to get some sort of real time push system (probably
running on Meteor Server (used in a previous Twilio project by @jazzychad)
in order to push call info to the screen as soon as the phone rings.
I’m sure it’ll evolve from there, but we’ll see where it goes and as
Twilio adds new features, we’ll make it even better!