Growth Story: How Appizy Added FastSpring to Their Single Page Application

Nicholas Hefti
Nicholas Hefti
May 5th, 2020
Estimated read time: 4 minutes, 9 seconds

We love to see when a seller finds a unique way to customize our full-service ecommerce platform to deliver a great experience to their customers. Take a look at the Q&A below to hear from Nicolas Hefti, Founder, and Lead Developer at Appizy about his experience with adding Fastspring to their single page application.

Can you tell us a bit more about the company and the product?

Appy is a Software as a Service (SaaS) that creates web applications out of Excel spreadsheets. Over the past few years, the company has been successfully using Fastspring as a reseller platform.

At the beginning of 2020, we completed the integration of the storefront in our Angular application. As a result of the integration with FastSpring, we increased our ecommerce revenues by 50% in just a few weeks.

What inspired you to partner with FastSpring?

1. Easy Global Tax Management

Initially, our interest was piqued by FastSpring’s tax management features and capabilities. When you start an online business there are so many tax and currency issues you don’t want to be bothered with. The aim was and still is to focus on our product. We do not want to lose momentum and resources because of the complexity of collecting and refunding value-added taxes. This is especially true for the European market. Fastspring deals with all these aspects perfectly and we just have to emit a summary bill each month based on our net revenues.

2. Flexible and Customizable Platform

The second aspect of Fastspring we love is the versatility of the platform. A few years ago we started with a business model relying on selling license keys of our software. In February we shifted to a subscription model with three plans each on a monthly or yearly billing cycle. We were able to do all that with Fastspring and transition from one business model to another without downtime for our customers.

3. High-Quality Support

And last but not least the communication and support are excellent. We always get quick and detailed answers to our questions. This is essential to us given the fact that online sales and the revenue we generate are business-critical!

What was the motivation for moving to a single page application?

We wanted to have a better customer workflow. We were convinced of the benefits of being able to grant immediate access to our service after subscription purchase.

Appizy online converter is developed with Angular. We use Auth0 as the authentication provider, Fastspring as our selling platform, and naturally, our own backend API to bring it all together. The trick with a single page application is to orchestrate all these components to create a unified user experience. The final aim is to create seamless transitions and integrations.

Do you have any tips for Fastspring user willing to use Angular?

In a single page application, the user does not load the page when he or she navigates. Everything is constantly loaded. The different components (Angular, Auth0, Fastspring) rely on browser storage or information contained in the URL to trigger a specific behavior. You have to be very careful that there is no data overlap or information being chopped by one specific part of your Javascript.

A second aspect is security. By definition, everything in a single page application happens on the browser of the client. This means that it can be also faked or malicious. A good rule is to be vigilant about the information coming from the client side. For example at Appizy, once the user purchases a subscription, we use the popup-close event to get the order id and grant it to the customer. Before giving any access we double check the with Auth0 and Fastspring API to validate all of the data.

A final key point is payment. With FastSpring’s Popup Storefront, a user paying with a credit card never leaves our application. The Fastspring dialog comes on top of our Angular app. Then the user finalizes their payment, closes the popup and comes back to Appizy’s website with a new subscription.

However when using Paypal or Amazon, this visitor will jump to Paypal (or Amazon) to complete the payment. Then they will be redirected to the original website. This return trip can break things in a Single Page Application (SPA) because the application restarts from scratch and has to bootstrap everything again. Our workaround was to start a checkout and then cancel it from the Paypal website to observe the return trip and understand our application behaviour. In this particular example, the application should start and reopen the popup store as if the client did not leave the page which results in a seamless transition!

What do you have planned for the rest of 2020?

After this successful transition to the subscription model, we want to continue to work on customer management in our platform by enhancing our integration with the Fastspring API. The goal is to centralize all actions in a single place: user profile, subscription purchasing and management.

Nicholas Hefti

Nicholas Hefti

Nicolas Hefti is the founder and lead developer of Appizy. He started his career in an engineering office in the building sector in 2009. Facing constantly the need to share Excel tools with colleagues and subsidiaries, he started to write the first line of code of what would become later the core of Appizy.

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