Spree Conf NYC 2014 Notes

Notes taken from Spree Conf in 2014. A two-day conference in New York City focused on Spree, an open-sourced Ruby on Rails Ecommerce platform

Rob Johnson

By Rob Johnson

Mon Mar 03 2014


The company I work for is currently looking at alternative solutions for an Ecommerce platform. Currently we are using a custom solution that is brittle from which we incur a lot of maintenance cost. Some of our shopping requisites for a potential new platform include the avoidance of: hefty monthly license fees, pay-per-order models, dependence on third-party developers for feature development. Yet maintain our current feature set and ideally stay within the rails environment. We're not picky at all...

Looking for a "solved problem" solution

Spree has been growing for a number of years in popularity and claims to power 45,000 online stores. With recent news that it has received a $5 million in its latest round of funding, it would be daft to ignore the platform as a viable solution.

SVA Theatre - Location of Spreeconf

@thereddshift and I attended the latest Spree conference in NYC to meet the Spree community and talk with the developers and companies that were using it. After all we want to ensure that this platform has a bright future and an invested developer community so we don't have to revisit this costly exercise in the near future.

Top Tweets

Day 1 (Wednesday)

Sales tax

Use TaxCloud or AvaTax to calculate tax on orders

Tax is calculated per line item

Difference between tax. Included vs additional


Spree will automatically adjust your order to the max value promotion for the customer


Spree hub

A platform to decouple the backend processed from the storefront.

The Hub

Working to make it easier Want a plug and play solution for all platforms

Simplified API

it's not about catching demand but creating demand.

Delighted.com a customer opinion site that shows customer awareness??

Guide shops: build stores that you size up and then they ship to you. Hope to grow to 50 stores within three years.

Day 2 (Thursday)

Daniel Honig (railsdog) & Thomas Von Deyen (Alchemy)

Priorities for retailers

Why does storytelling matter

Customers are using more information than at any other time in history to make purchase decisions

A good storyteller has the power to transport audiences to another world What I like is to feel emotion... and I agree even more when I see the sales results.

Why do we all like a good story?

McKenzie Funnel (old model)

Awareness -> Familiarity -> Consideration -> Purchase -> Loyalty

McKenzie new model

Google ZMOT (zero model of truth) - http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/collections/zero-moment-truth.html

New model:

What's changed

Another step has been added

Emotion can trigger sales and loyalty

People will remember your story and forget your product


Jeff Ma - basis for the main character for the book and movie of 21

Separate your decision from the outcome. You can make the right decision, and the outcome is irrelevant to whether that decision was correct or not.

Group think: Making a decision based of consensus of the group in order to avoid conflict

Innovation requires making unpopular decisions

Loss aversion: We are more impacted by a loss than a gain of the same amount.

Endowment bias: When you become protective of what you have over getting more

Imagine spree as a service using the API.

Spree can just be a service

Design and Designers

Decouple business logic from the experience is the next step

Going 100% JS (client-side) SEO Implications: Issues with indexing:

Prerender.io - gem "prerender_rails" every time it knows a bot is requesting a page it will prerender the page via phantom js and spit out the html server side.


A random pic taken at the top of the Empire State Building.

Empire State Plaza, Capitol

# commerce 14 # seo 5 # tools 7 # amazon 1 # sql 4 # shopify 9 # javascript 13 # projects 4 # css 2 # git 2 # php 3 # analytics 4 # api 6 # monitoring 2 # python 2 # aws 2