“We unlocked our business model with Violet’s API”
How Violet helped Thingtesting power a new ecommerce experience
Thingtesting, an innovative product reviews platform, wanted to enhance its commerce capabilities. The company has a loyal audience of “prosumers” from which it sources authentic, thoughtful reviews. In doing so, Thingtesting is trying to improve the way that shoppers educate themselves and help them make more informed buying decisions. They also partner with brands, allowing access to their audience with special offers.
Prior to discovering Violet, those partnerships were basic: Thingtesting distributed coupons via email to drive sales on merchant sites. This approach, while simple, failed to gather essential data and insights and created a disjointed experience for their users. (Coincidentally, affiliate links have many of the same shortcomings for marketers.)
“Everything is more complicated than you expect: The combination of getting merchants to ensure their data is all set up right, and that all of the data makes its way through the platform correctly by the time it gets to our side. If we see an oddity or something not behaving correctly, it's clear where that is. But it's much harder than expected to get the entire flow end to end to reliably work.”
- Damien Timewell, CTO
The company also wanted a solution that enabled a unified checkout for multiple merchants.
“We do multiple Thingdrops at the same time. So we wanted to have multi-merchant carts.”
“When we started digging into how it would actually work to integrate a more traditional marketplace solution, it was clear that a few companies are focused on selling products from multiple merchants. But [the other] company required you to import a CSV price list and/or connect multiple EDI systems. I don't want to do that. I don't get it. Being able to just hook it up and make orders with Violet, and for merchants to just one click install is very nice.”
– Damien Timewell, CTO
On Choosing Violet over a Shopify Proxy Store:
“It's nice to keep the checkout experience as in-product as possible and not just linking out to a shopify checkout, and we didn't want to build everything from scratch. And I guess the other thing is that we wanted to make sure that we could reliably attach a successful purchase to a Thingtesting user.”
– Damien Timewell, CTO
“It's easy to think, why didn't we just write against the Shopify API ourselves, since almost all of our merchants are on Shopify? But then when we hit rate limiting problems and stuff like that, we’re able to manage those limitations thanks to the work [Violet] did, as opposed to having to do anything with our integration or rethink our approach.”
– Damien Timewell, CTO
For all those reasons, Thingtesting turned to Violet’s Unified Checkout API to power their ecommerce efforts. They were able to quickly launch fully functional ThingDrops (flash sales) on their platform using Violet to access real-time product details, orchestrate checkout, and write accurate orders back to merchant systems.
Using Violet for Products
Thingtesting uses Violet to source product details (e.g. pricing, inventory, media, and variants) directly from each merchant’s ecommerce system.
“Once a merchant connects a product, we cache the product and the variants and details so that we can query them from within our system, then we update them quite regularly from the Violet responses.”
Using Violet for Checkout
Thingtesting uses Violet’s cart creation and order writeback APIs to pass orders directly into the merchant’s ecommerce system:
“When we submit an order, we push the cart to Violet, and the cart in our system looks the same, but it's now a fully fledged Violet cart. Then we go through the steps of attaching a customer and a payment method and finally checking out.”
Thingtesting's partnership with Violet transformed its approach to ecommerce, providing an integrated, data-rich, and user-friendly shopping experience.
Melissa Seligmann, Thingtesting’s COO outlined Violet’s impact in no uncertain terms:
“Through the integration of Violet, we were able to launch our business model. Partnering with brands through Thingdrops has allowed them to leverage our audience and our community in order to really represent themselves honestly.”
– Melissa Seligmann, COO
With Violet, Thingtesting successfully transitioned from a coupon-based approach to full-fledged ecommerce capability, leading to an entirely new business model. For marketplaces looking to unify or streamline their ecommerce orchestration across multiple merchants and platforms, selecting a Unified Checkout API is crucial. The right choice simplifies merchant connections, provides real time accurate product info, and untangles checkout and order processing across the widest ecosystem of merchants.
If data accuracy, checkout orchestration, or post-order visibility are standing in the way of your ecommerce revenue, learn more about how Violet can help.