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ShopSpree: An iOS App for Spree

Posted on July 23, 2014 by Vinsol

Introducing ShopSpree: An iOS App for Spree Commerce

The preferences of shoppers have changed globally. Today, consumers prefer shopping in the most convenient ways: anywhere, anytime and on the move. This changing landscape has given birth to the world of mobile and applications. The statistics prove the increase in mobile internet usage is on the rise, now standing at 65% globally.

Around 32% of all online purchases have been done through mobile. Mobile commerce is looking promising, and expects the spending to be $200 billion USD by the end of 2014, reaching an approximate 50% growth from 2013. Predictions indicate that by 2020, smartphones and tablets will account for more than 75% of global online commercial transactions, and more than 50% of spend.

The e-commerce market, which is now enhanced by mobile, is comprised primarily of e-commerce companies that have long held a web presence, but have gained even more with the transition from web to mobile.

Analysis show that apps’ usage on mobile is increasing on a year-to-year basis. Within mobile, the use of native apps is way ahead of the use of mobile web. This year (statistics comprised through March 2014) native apps’ usage stands at 86% of the total. Meanwhile, mobile web usage has decreased by 30% on a per-day basis from its previous value. Today, stores engaged in mobile commerce want to maximize their products’ reach and increase sale and revenue by adapting to this trend of m-commerce through native apps.

Some e-commerce companies, such as Zulily and Gilt, built their platforms as the mobile trend was gaining momentum. These companies were able to take advantage of the opportunity to tailor new business models, such as daily deals near the location of smartphone users, in order to gain a competitive advantage. In 2013, Zulily generated 45 percent of its North American orders through mobile devices, versus just 31 percent during Q4 the prior year.

Like retail stores, marketplaces also benefit from going mobile. The key to any marketplace is achieving liquidity, and companies can achieve this more quickly by extending their marketplaces to mobile. Some marketplaces like HotelTonight and FOBO involve local, time-sensitive, or untethered transactions that have gone mobile-only, recognizing their platform is fundamentally better on smartphones.

ShopSpree

One option for merchants who currently have their store built on Spree Commerce (a leading open-source e-commerce platform built on Ruby on Rails), or are planning to go mobile-only first, is ShopSpree.

ShopSpree is an iOS app, native to be precise, that showcases the SpreeCommerce features on mobile. It allows its users to browse through the product catalog, search products, and make a purchase to understand the flow. Products’ images can be zoomed in and out by utilizing the native features of iOS.

The app displays some basic e-commerce features. It highlights the strong capabilities that a storefront or marketplace can leverage by getting the app customized, in order to cater to different business needs.

The application supports the use of different payment modes (cash, check or card) and the integration of payment gateways like Paypal, Stripe, and many others. It also allows stores to integrate Wombat (a single tool for all integrations built by Spree Commerce) or other third-party services like MailChimp, Mandrill or Sendgrid for sending transactional and marketing emails to the end users. Product images can be rendered from file servers like Amazon S3 or any other chosen by the store.

Stores can have a different look and feel for their own app by choosing from different existing themes, or by getting a new theme designed to match their current branding standards.

ShopSpree has been developed with a primary principle of keeping all the concerned parameters in control. This is to ensure no rejection for the app on the App store, after submission. If customized, this will help bring the application to market quicker, in order to appease the end user. This is how it works:

The app, without any changes, can be used directly by any store by just pointing to its existing Spree Commerce server, and doing some backend configurations. The configuration can be done quickly, and the application can be uploaded to the app store with the store’s attributes. Within a few days, a store can have its own native iOS app available in the market.

This app runs on mobile devices that supports iOS7 or later. To see how ShopSpree works, click here.

ShopSpree, in its next version, plans to have features for both store administrators and their end users. Features like user location determination, payment gateway integration, users’ account section and social media integration, will be there to enhance the end user’s experience. For the admins, the option of viewing pending orders, as well as adding new categories and products, will be provided.

About ShopSpree’s Creators

This application has been developed by Vinsol, a premier Spree Commerce development partner that specializes in building online stores and marketplaces based on Spree. Vinsol is a leading Ruby On Rails, iOS and Android development firm based in India, with a satellite office in San Francisco. Vinsol has helped major brands and startups build their ideas, from concept to launch.

For customization for your own store, contact Vinsol.

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Introducing SugarCRM for Wombat

Posted on July 22, 2014 by Alexander Diegel

Introducing SugarCRM for Wombat

SugarCRM is a popular tool for companies that demand a robust customer relationship management solution that’s also easy to use. SugarCRM lets you track relevant information on your clients, from purchase history to sales call notes, all through an easy-to-use, intuitive interface. Thanks to our partner NuRelm, SugarCRM is Wombat’s newest available integration!

A SugarCRM integration with Wombat makes both tools even more powerful. Simply configure your integration and flows under Wombat Settings and you’re good to go; no custom development required. Wombat automates a range of processes allowing you to launch quickly and confidently. Specifically, Wombat will automatically:

• Push new and updated customer data to SugarCRM
• Send new and updated orders to SugarCRM
• Send new and updated product data to SugarCRM
• Send new and updated shipment data to SugarCRM

For more on Wombat and SugarCRM, visit our technical documentation, which includes a step-by-step guide on how to integrate Sugar CRM with Wombat. Wombat is adding new integrations all the time, so be sure to check back in with us for more helpful guides and connections. To read NuRelm’s take on the integration, check out part one and part two of their blog post series, “Make Your Store and CRM System Be Friends.”

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Farewell Ryan Bigg

Posted on July 20, 2014 by Sean Schofield

Ryan Bigg
Next month we will be saying farewell to our good friend and long time Community Manager, Ryan Bigg. Ryan has been the Spree Community Manager for almost three years now having joined Spree back in November 2011. Ryan was working on a Spree store for his former employer when we approached him about taking over the community. He has been making a huge impact on the Spree community ever since. Unfortunately Ryan insists on living in Melbourne, Australia and the years of working remotely and in relative isolation have taken their toll. After August 15 he will working out of the local Melbourne office of his new employer.

Bigg shoes to fill

Over the past several years Ryan has made 3,735 commits to the Spree project adding 169,402 lines of code (and removing almost and equal amount of code as well!) More importantly, he has helped keep the Spree open source project moving forward, freeing Brian and I to raise venture funding and grow the company. During this time Ryan has also participated in over 2,000 discussions on spree-user and he has responded with over 7,000 commments on various GitHub issues. Ryan led the effort on namespacing, the API redesign, splitting Spree into mountable engines and the recent refactoring of promotions and adjustments.

Moving forward

Jeff DutilWe will be looking to hire another full time community manager for Spree. In the meantime, the Spree community will continue to move forward with the continued involvement of myself and Brian Quinn. While Brian and I are less visible in the day to day running of the community, we are still very much involved behind the scenes and this involvement will continue.

We’re also going to have long-time Spree contributor Jeff Dutil assume the role of interim Community Manager. Jeff recently joined Spree Commerce after a long stint at Rails Dog where he was originally hired by Brian and I before we sold the company and got out of the consulting business. He has been contributing to Spree for several years now but you’re going to be seeing even more of him while we conduct the search for a new Community Manager. Spree veterans Peter Berkenbosch and Washington Luiz will also continue to drive the project forward.

A new beginning

The Spree project is one of the most active projects on Github and our community has grown from over 100 contributors in 2011 to over 550 contributors at present. Spree has become something much bigger than the individual who creeated it (myself) or the person who lead its development since late 2011 (Ryan). Spree has been the top Ruby e-commerce solution since its beginning in 2007. It has improved over the years as the previous developers stepped back and made room for a new generation of developers joining the project. We’ve seen the same progression with Ruby on Rails as DHH turned over the reins to Yehuda Katz who then passed the torch on to Aaron Paterson. Change in open source is normal and in fact it’s beneficial. I’m personally excited for the next person to join the team and make their mark.

Spree 3.0

Lately, many people in the community have been asking us what’s next with Spree? There has been a lot of talk about a possible rewrite of the backend interface. Sameer Gulati, who is the Chief Product Officer at Spree Commerce, has been actively talking to many of our users about possible directions in which to take the backend interface. There have also been lots of companies using Spree with JavaScript frameworks such as Angular.js (on the frontend and backend) so that remains another interesting possibility. Finally, Ryan, Brian Quinn, Jeff and Washington have also been working on some interesting experiments aimed at finding out what it would take to turn Spree into a truly modular, service-oriented architecture that is completely driven by API.

No decisions have been made as to what Spree 3.0 will contain nor when it will be released. We’re still gathering requirements, conducting experiments and of course consulting with the community. The one thing you can count on, however, is that Spree will continue to advance. The project will evolve incrementally for a while and then eventually take another big leap forward, just as it always has, and just like any good open source project must.

We wish Ryan the best of luck in his new endeavor and we look forward to where his replacement will help take us next.

Spree and Affirm Meetup a Hit in San Francisco

Posted on July 17, 2014 by Alexander Diegel

Over 50 Attendees for Spree and Affirm’s Consumer Finance Meetup

The latest in our series of Meetups recently came to a close, when Spree and partner Affirm teamed up to talk innovations in consumer financing. On July 16, 2014, over 50 attendees, ranging from merchants to developers to rubyists, gathered for a night of collaboration and discussion.

Affirm CEO and Paypal co-founder Max Levchin was the lead speaker of the night, discussing Affirm’s consumer-friendly financing solution.

Affirm’s innovative system is a true win-win for merchants and consumers alike, helping sellers increase their conversion rates and average order value. The system will help buyers, especially millenials who typically don’t have large lines of available credit, get the items they want NOW, without having to endure the painful credit approval process. Members of Affirm’s technical team were also on hand to show developers and store owners how to get up and running with a Spree-Affirm integration in minutes.

Meanwhile, Spree’s Manager of Strategic Partnerships, Melissa Pegus, gave a full introduction of Wombat, Spree’s automated solution for e-commerce integrations.

Wombat was designed to help developers and store owners minimize the complexity of logistics, get to market quicker, and grow faster. Wombat works with any storefront, such as Spree, Shopify, Big Commerce, Magento or Prestashop, and can even be used with your own custom storefront.

Spree Commerce Certified Partners BuildRX, Crowd Interactive, and Resolve Digital were on hand to answer questions about Spree and Wombat’s ability to create custom business logic, configure custom ERPs, and how to connect to accounting systems.

Stay tuned for our next meetup happening next Thursday at GoDaddy’s Sunnyvale, CA offices on July 24th. The focus will be on GoDaddy’s multi-tenant deployment of Spree— the largest in the world— and there are even rumblings about Go Kart racing in their office. To learn more, visit the Meetup.com page and RSVP:

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