How AirCarry uses TalkJS to connect their shopping community

We sat down with Preetham Siddalingaswamy, the founder of AirCarry.io, to see how TalkJS has been working out for his startup. AirCarry is a community-based shopping platform that helps people buy products from anywhere in the world through a network of verified travelers. It’s a neat way to get oversees products you couldn’t get otherwise.

To connect all the travelers and shoppers on AirCarry, Preetham and his team created a 1-on-1 chat using TalkJS to allow both sides to talk about products, details about delivery, and share pictures to confirm purchases.

“We wanted to provide a simple 1-1 chat capability for our customers where they could interact with each other on a real time basis like Facebook messenger”

— Preetham Siddalingaswamy, Founder of AirCarry

About AirCarry

AirCarry is a startup based on a rather new concept best described as a peer to peer delivery marketplace. It’s comprised of a community of shoppers that request products from a faraway country, and travelers, that buy the products during their travels and deliver it for a fee. AirCarry is an alternative to expensive local e-commerce websites that have high delivery fees or have shipping restrictions.

AirCarry is all about building a strong community of travelers and shoppers who help each other get specific products from distant places. Preetham summed it up nicely.

“Living and working in several international cities every few years due to my old job, I would start missing some cherished products from where I had lived. I would request friends/colleagues to get them for me on their trips and likewise would return the favour. This exchange made me realise that there must be a lot of people like me and so I floated the idea of Aircarry.”

— Preetham Siddalingaswamy, Founder of AirCarry

Challenges

Not long after the AirCarry website went live, Preetham noticed that the travelers had a hard time handling conversations with multiple shoppers, as they were using various messaging apps and email to communicate. Also, managing numerous requests from shoppers was difficult without having a central place with all of the arrangements and conversations.

“We implemented TalkJS almost right from the beginning. Having a chat capability helped customers to interact with each other by themselves without support team or any other means.”

— Preetham Siddalingaswamy, Founder of AirCarry

This problem appeared on the shopper side as well, as they were also using a bunch of different ways to talk to travelers they made deals with. It made the shopping experience far from what the users expected.

Having all these issues considered, the AirCarry team decided to find a chat solution they could customize to fit their use case and their website design. They were considering anything from custom development to plugins.

“We had considered to build a chat capability ourselves; we also considered messagebird, sendbird, couple of APIs on Magento.”

— Preetham Siddalingaswamy, Founder of AirCarry

Solution

The AirCarry team knew they needed a chat up and running as soon as possible, considering the issues we mentioned above. That’s where the TalkJS chat API and Javascript SDK came into play. Their developers where able to build a custom messaging solution without developing it from scratch and designing the UI.

The API was easy to integrate, and the SDK offered a pre-built chat UI that the developers only needed to slightly customize to fit the website design. Here’s what Preetham told us about why TalkJS worked perfectly for them.

“Simplicity, simple to implement and pricing (it was little more expensive than the others) but during initial times we were hard pressed on time to implement and go live.”

— Preetham Siddalingaswamy, Founder of AirCarry

The final product was a simple 1-on-1 chat they embedded into their website. It gave the users the capability to interact with each other in real-time, just like on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.

The AirCarry chat widget travelers can use to contact shoppers that requested a product.

It’s worth mentioning some of the smaller chat features that happened to be useful for the AirCarry use case:

  • image upload
  • location sharing
  • real-time translation
  • email notifications
  • search

Results

Shoppers and travelers can now chat with each other at any time and have all of the conversations in one place, making the entire AirCarry experience considerably better. They can discuss products, make arrangements, and share photos right there on the AirCarry website.

“Communication amongst customers wouldn’t have been seamless as it is now. Our customers find it quite easy to interact with each other and it has also increased the trust level.”

— Preetham Siddalingaswamy, Founder of AirCarry

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