The Chat Shop is a long-time partner of LiveChat, working with us from our early days! They have immense experience in various fields related to LiveChat — from knowing the in-depths of customer support, to building apps with our API, and marketing them on the LiveChat Marketplace. In our interview, you’ll get to know more about their experience with the LiveChat Developer Program and find out how they build such robust and reliable solutions.
LiveChat: You’ve been a LiveChat Partner for a very long time! Why have you decided to build with the LiveChat Developer Program? Was there any factor that convinced you to start?
The Chat Shop: Yes, we have been in the Partner Program from the very beginning! For us, it has been a great way to showcase our capabilities and a source for lead generation. LiveChat referred the Mollie project to us based on our experience developing technology within LiveChat. We were delighted to take on the project! We were also keen to work/learn/implement within the payments space.
LiveChat: Is there a team on your end that specializes in working on apps you publish on the LiveChat Marketplace? Or is it a task shared between multiple different people/teams?
The Chat Shop: Here at The Chat Shop, we have a team of developers at the forefront of developing our technology. They are always looking at ways to deliver a better experience and drive outstanding results for our clients. (They also take on projects like this). Our onboarding team also took an active role in this process, giving user/design feedback.
LiveChat: Since there’s one team working on your solutions, do your apps differ in terms of technology? Which LiveChat APIs/SDKs did you make use of when building your apps?
The Chat Shop: We are trying to build our LiveChat apps with the common MERN stack, which proved flexible and scalable, enabling us to update our LiveChat apps with ease and be compatible with your Livechat SDKs. Below is what we used for this app.
LiveChat: How did you decide on building your apps specifically with this resource? Would you recommend using the MERN stack for beginners?
The Chat Shop: We are experienced with MERN, and it’s very popular these days. Many libraries are out there that help us move fast and securely. For example, for UX/UI: Material UI or even LiveChat Design System libraries. For queries: react-query library. For data manipulation: Ramda.
The Chat Shop: We always try to keep our apps updated with LiveChat API as they offer new ways to handle agent functionality. We know that you have a very high standard when approving any app for the LiveChat Marketplace, so we want to be sure that we are using all our technical knowledge to create robust, secure, and user-friendly apps.
LiveChat: I see, so do you have any formal process in place regarding when you update your apps’ code to the new API updates?
The Chat Shop: Not a formal one and we should definitely improve on that aspect, but we try to follow your API updates schedule.
LiveChat: What challenges did you have to overcome in the whole application development process? Were there any unexpected blockers? How did you solve them?
The Chat Shop: We want our apps to be user-friendly in the most seamless way.
We had our challenges of authenticating the users securely without much user interaction, so we needed to find the right balance of how much user input was needed to be able to be used properly.
We solved that by storing all the needed information to a private database and being able to fetch them accordingly to avoid asking the user for permissions.
LiveChat: Mollie is your second app published on the LiveChat Marketplace. Which tools from the entire LiveChat infrastructure proved to be most useful when building apps?
The Chat Shop: The ease of getting the proper LiveChat user token and querying the LiveChat API straight from the frontend gives us the flexibility to reduce complexity and overhead for any backend work. We were also able to utilize your web sockets to get real-time data, which had a huge impact on the apps we build.
LiveChat: Nice! And how do you handle the marketing and promotion of your apps? Was there anything that turned out to be exceptionally successful in boosting the sales of your app?
The Chat Shop: Currently, we have no formal process in place - but as we scale and develop more apps, we will look to refine this. For other apps not in the Marketplace, we create relevant blog articles or email communication to our database of prospects and clients to build awareness of our tech capabilities.
LiveChat: Have you reached any milestones in terms of app installation rate, revenue, etc.?
The Chat Shop: Our goal has not been focused on revenue or app installs - however, more around showcasing our technical capabilities in this space. Also, the marketing of this app is not solely with us here at TCS but also dependent on other parties. We are sure the Marketing Team at Mollie will also be able to share some strong stats as they also ramp up their marketing efforts.
LiveChat: Do you plan to build more apps for the LiveChat Marketplace in the future, or even officially offer an app-building service to showcase your technical possibilities even more?
The Chat Shop: Yes, it’s definitely something we would look to explore if there is a strong business case for the app and the timescales fit within our roadmap. We love to showcase our capabilities and increase revenue growth.
LiveChat: And if you were to start over with building apps for LiveChat, would you do anything differently? Based on your experience, could you give any advice to the developers who are just starting out with building and monetizing LiveChat apps?
The Chat Shop: In terms of advice to the developers, I’d have to say to read LiveChat’s documentation. Most of the time, they offer a way to do things properly. Also, having the ability to ask questions straight to LiveChat via their chat proved life-saving in situations where we needed a quick solution to a problem.
LiveChat: It’s definitely something to take a note of!