Industry first solution developed to support every stage of online commerce journey with revolutionary processes and features.

Product Brief Zen Shopping was developed as a smart shopping assistant to facilitate the online shopping experience with unique offerings like price comparison, coupons, discount offers, shipment tracking, price drop alerts, post-delivery support and many other features to make the online shopping more easy.

Deployment of the first version turned out to be decisive event as Zen Shopping received exceptional response with more than 100, 000 downloads in the first week only; identifying the huge requirement of a competent solution in the domain Zen Shopping management decided to extend its features and provide end to end online shopping assistance platform with number of industry first features. In the second phase, additional features were introduced in the product making it one of most efficient application in the category.

Zen shopping's new features and upgraded technology allows users to search and compare prices in over 100,000 stores and buy anything in one tap with the guaranteed best price.

Zen Shopping's development was one of the complex project with engagement duration of more than three years. The project scope consisted of development of:
  • Web Application
  • Google Chrome Extension
  • iOS Safari mobile extension
  • iPad and iPhone Applications

Background Coditude had a previous engagement with the client for the development of web and mobile application developed to donate the cash back rewards and rewards of online shopping to non-profit organizations, the solution got acquired by a San Francisco based company. Having acquaintance with the professional approach and technical competency of the Coditude team, the client chose Coditude as a technology partner for the development of Zen Shopping with the steady engagement of twelve resources for a period of three years.

Our Solution The application development initiated with extensive market research in the digital commerce domain and based on research analysis the features were finalized which included price comparison of product across the digital commerce platforms, coupons and best offer suggestions, receipts management, shipment tracking, post-delivery support, product notifications and price drop alerts.

2nd version of the product was developed after the overwhelming response to the product, which included technology upgradation and feature additions based on the feedback received from users.

The most important part of the 2nd phase was the inclusion of universal checkout system which allowed users to buy any product from any store and complete the checkout with just one click without creating an account on that particular store.

Crawling Crawling of millions of products across more than 10,000 online stores with their detailed information, deals and coupons from a number of websites and third-party sources and providing these details relevant to the user's search was a herculean task which demanded an intelligent and robust crawling solution. For this purpose, Coditude leveraged its Crawling Platform and developed a set of data crawlers to crawl data in near real time with high accuracy.

Offshore development Centre All the websites from which Zen Shopping used to crawl the information were dynamic websites and their content/data used to change from time to time. So it was difficult to keep a check on the accuracy and health of the crawlers. In order to maintain high availability of the crawlers, stakeholders decided to set up an offshore development center in India to maintain the crawlers and to support the order processing and fulfillment.

Coditude was given the complete responsibility to set up an offshore development center in India and oversee its thoroughgoing operations from recruitment, training to resource management.

Semi-automatic System Universal checkout system exponentially increased Zen Shopping's user base and processing of a number of orders from these users; in order to keep the order processing flawless and mitigate the risks, the semi-automatic system was developed to complete the order processing with a touch of human interference. The back end operations of this system were executed from offshore development center in India and Coditude oversaw the administration of these operations.

End to end involvement During the development phase of the product, there was an immense need to have a close and real time communication between the Zen Shopping stakeholders and Coditude development team. Coditude's administration team ensured that by providing the necessary accommodation and facilities to the Zen Shopping stakeholders when they decided to come and work with Coditude development team in India for a considerably long period of more than six months.

Subsequent to incredible success, Zen Shopping's stakeholders were exploring acquisition offers and during this phase, Coditude resource went on site to assist the process by creating presentations and technical due diligence. The engagement continues even after the acquisition of the product; Coditude team was involved to provide the walkthrough of the technology, complete documentation and successful handover of the product.

Infrastructure

DATABASE AUTO SCALING

Coditude leveraged AWS Aurora for auto-scaling of the database as per the usage requirement without the need of any manual interference

AUTO SCALABILITY

Auto-scaling configuration to manage the server load with respect to surge in the users

CAPACITY PLANNING

Scale up and scale down the servers based on the requirement patterns to optimize the infrastructure costs

PERFORMANCE MONITORING

Performance monitoring is a part of Coditude’s deployment methodology. Each and every build deployment is audited for any spikes in the usage of RAM, Database or CPU

Technology Architecture

Zen Shopping Architecture

Challenges

Scale and variety in data crawling needed to maintain a number of diverse crawlers and their maintenance was a challenge because of the arbitrary websites and continuously changing data sources. Coditude set up an offshore development and maintenance team to maintain the health of these crawlers and developed a system to generate crawler health reports on a regular basis.

Checkout was one of the biggest hindrance to mobile shopping ecosystem as user had to create accounts on each and every store, problem was resolved by creating an universal checkout system.

Huge user base and popularity of the application gave rise to certain displeasing legal issues like; use of stolen credit cards purchase the products and getting their delivery at public places to avoid getting caught. Noticing the issue, Coditude immediately implemented fraud detection and verification system bringing the illegitimate activities to stop.

Learnings

Coditude team developed the continuous deployment system from scratch which was not available with the AWS during the period. This helped the Coditude team a lot in setting up sophisticated deployment processes and infrastructure management practices.

Product display was accompanied by their multiple images eventuating a need to process millions of images simultaneously, unfortunately, there was no tool available to resize and format images at such a high scale. Coditude team developed an advanced image processing tool to resize and upload millions of product images in a predefined standard format and ensured optimum user experience.

Project Results

  • some important media publications. BBC and TIME have recommended this application to the users:
    BBC (goo.gl/by9DBy)
    TIME (goo.gl/ib0pTf)
  • Acquisition of Zen Shopping by United States based company for an undisclosed amount

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Hrishikesh Kale

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