Summary

Style SNS is an online retailer that delivers fashion and accessories to customers from all over the world. Our goal is to provide stylish and affordable goods to customers and provide the best shopping experience. Our products range from a wide selection of goods like clothing, accessories, shoes and bags.

StyleSNS website

Development Process

The development process of StyleSNS is more like a spiral model. We have been improving the system frequently until the final release.

1. Preparation

The first idea of the project was to develop an E-commerce focused platform for small business owners and it hasn’t changed. The CMS consists three major parts. One is for administrators to create and manage platform for a social marketplace. Administrators are able to manage all individual retailers and transactions. The other role is retailers who manage one store on the platform. Each retailer can open an online store within the platform. Retailers are responsible for managing stocks and shippings for their items. The last part is customers, people who shop and browse.

2. Design Specifications

Finalizing the specifications took a longer than expected. We put the main focus on understanding and visualizing design pattern of three layers of end-users.

Functionalities

We made a list of functionalities necessary for the system:

  • CMS for Retailers
  • Administrator for Companies
  • Intuitive User Interface
  • Mobile Friendly Design
  • Paypal Checkout
  • Order Comfirmation
  • Customer Account / Purchase Records
  • Facebook Login
  • Facebook and Twitter Share
  • User Reviews and Comments

Then, visualed them. These are specific to purchase models.
Order Flow

Database Design

Style SNS Detabase Design

3. Implementation

The technology stack of the application was:

  • AWS EC2 instance
  • Apache Server
  • MySQL
  • PHP
  • HTML5
  • CSS
  • JavaScript, jQuery

stylesns_classic
Admin pages look something like this.
stylesns_admin

4. Verification

The most critical part of e-commerce platforms is checkout system. We rely on PayPal Express Checkout for our payment transactions because it’s reliable and secure. Their sandbox mode allowed us to test enough case to make sure we can successfully accept payment from customers.
After all, we successfully launch the website.

5. Maintenance

stylesns_mobileAs we completed almost everything for the application, I was asked to create a mobile-friendly version of the site. The choices were to create a whole new application just for the mobile or make the current version semi-responsive, this case just desktop and mobile. I chose to make it responsive, so that it won’t take as much time as creating a new one. Some functionalities had to be dropped due to this option but the development time was drastically different. The current version on mobile looks like this.

Conclusion

E-commerce itself was a huge challenge. On top of that, we faced many issues due to the complex management system. Fortunately, we had an enough time to fix the issues and we still keep improving the system. I’ve learned how important it is to understand complicated systems before implementing. Additionally, when I faced creating a mobile-friendly version of the system, I’ve learned how to analyze the problems and choose what’s right decision for us to make. Sometimes making an additional feature brings a trade-off in application’s functionalities.