Walmart offers a “Value of the day” to all of its customers. The “Values of the day” are special discounts that Walmart shoppers can redeem for a limited time. Shoppers can find out about these discounts in a range of ways, including following Walmart’s Twitter account @WalmartSpecials. Now, thanks to Twilio Short Code SMS, shoppers can get notifications via text message, as well.
We had a chance to inverview Robert Yau, @WalmartLabs’ Director of Product Management for the Social Applications team, to find out his team’s experience with Twilio Short Codes.
Why did you choose Twilio for SMS Short Codes?
We wanted to try something quick to test out the various possibilities, more like a quick proof of concept. I had known about Twilio’s services for a while and was aware that it was a deployed solution. Hence, it was the first API we tested. The positive results of the initial tests served our needs and we made the decision to move forward.
Tell us about the short code implementation: How long did it take? What were the biggest challenges and most interesting details of the process?
Since the “Value of the day” is integrated into a Twitter account, we needed to ensure that our SMS users were not receiving a text for every Twitter update, which can get very annoying. To avoid that, additional logic was added to ensure that SMS users only receive the “Value of the day” message without affecting all of our Twitter followers.
The application implementation took a few hours, which really speaks to the ease of use of the Twilio API. Most of our project time was spent on QA.
What technology stack do you use at @Walmartlabs, and how did this fit in?
Our technologies range from Ruby on Rails to Python and Java. In this particular case, due to its simplicity, it was a LAMP stack.
What advice do you have for other developers getting started with Twilio SMS integrations into their product?
I would strongly recommend starting with the “Basic How-To” examples. Pick an example that is similar to your potential need and iterate from there.