Enhance Your eCommerce Solution with Rules Engine for Product Bundles

09 Oct, 2020 | 4 minutes read

Digitalization is our new reality. We are already living in it and though we are sometimes afraid of what it brings, its benefits are felt and seen everywhere, especially during COVID-19. The first industries that felt the digitalization wave that COVID-19 brought are eCommerce and the healthcare industry. Every business owner that had only a physical shop, had to react fast to COVID-19 effects and create an eCommerce solution. Thus, we can say that almost 99% of the business owners with a physical shop went digital by using some of the tools already available on the internet.

Even though there are a lot of platforms and frameworks that support eCommerce solutions, we believe that the market is still not fully utilized and that each of those platforms/frameworks can be augmented to provide even better results and increase the value they add to your business.

Working in the eCommerce industry for a long period of time, we have come to explore e-shops from two perspectives: shop owner and customer, and we realized that there are certain things that can be improved to accelerate customers’ shopping time which in turn will accelerate ROI. What we are talking about here is implementing a solution that customers can use to browse through a wide range of products/parts, and see only the products which are compatible/valid for their needs. This is especially applicable for IT stores that sell computer components such as processors, RAM memories, motherboards, etc., but it can be applied to all stores that have a similar structure as IT stores. Usually, all the items of a certain category are related to each other somehow, but not all of them are compatible. Thus, the customer spends a significant amount of time finding the right parts and creating the selected configuration (when talking about IT). To solve this problem, we have created so-called product bundles that consist of a set of products related to each other and rules of how they can be used. By using product bundles, the system instantly eliminates the products that are not applicable for a certain configuration and displays only the products that are aligned with the requirements.

The Product Bundle solution delivers value for both sides – customers and shop owners. What is even more important is that it is aligned with the key priorities of both sides:

  • Customers want to find the products they need fast and easy.
  • Shop owners want to have satisfied customers, improved service, market value, and ROI.

Our belief is that when implemented, the solution will initiate a shift towards a completely new shopping behavior.

Technical Side of the solution

Flow diagram

The solution is based on Nools rules engine written entirely in JavaScript. The idea behind this rule engine is to allow the end-user to select corresponding products that are compatible, or throw an error when the selected product is not compatible with another one. You can see the solution visually represented in the following BPMN diagram, which has two different product purchase options. One of the options is regular product selection, where normally the customer will go through the process of category and product filtering, selecting the product and adding it to the cart, and at the end completing the checkout process. The second option is bundle product selection, where the customer can select a specific bundle and during the process of product selection will be guided to the flow.

Flow diagram

Technical Solution

We are not going to go into details of the implementation of the solution. The interesting part of the entire solution is the way the rules engine is working. The first step is defining the rules. The Nools documentation has two different approaches to be used: 1) programmatically, or 2) using the Nools rules language to define your rules. In our case, we have used the native language. Here is one example of defining the rules of one bundle:

defining the rules
defining the rules

Once we have the rules defined, we need to compile them and start the session where these rules can be asserted against the user interaction. Whenever the user makes any product selection, the product is validated against the rules and an appropriate message is shown as a result:

  • Initial validation of the process
  • Selecting a product from the bundle
Selecting a product from the bundle
  • Selecting a product variant
Selecting a product variant
  • Selecting dependent products (select SSD from the bundle)
Selecting dependent products (select SSD from the bundle)

Here is a short video of product selection.

As we can see from the business flow described above, the customer was guided through the entire process of product selection, and at the same time, we were following the appropriate setup of the configuration. In this way, the percentage of error that the customer might make by selecting items that are not compatible or if he/she misses selecting cables for the SSD is significantly decreased.

To sum up, eCommerce is an area that will be even more developed and improved. Our Product Bundle solution is just one way to improve the customer’s shopping experience while improving ROI. The main benefit of using this solution is that the customers do not waste time finding exactly what they need, and they even get products that are compatible with each other. In addition, the solution is fairly easy to use and maintain – eCommerce administrators can prepare a wide range of bundles that can be used in different scenarios such as product promotions, product discounts, etc.

If you want to give it a try or see how it works, you can contact us.