The GEG LifeVantage app would be a multi-platform application that will run on iPhone and Android devices.


THE BUSINESS REQUIREMENT

Gig Economy Group (GEG) is a company bringing innovation to network marketing and direct marketing companies by giving independent distributors a way to get closer to their customer and act faster to customer demand.

With the evolution of social media, handheld devices, consumer transparency, and mobility, the ways that consumers find, learn, decide on and purchase products has dramatically evolved in recent years. However, the direct marketing industry has been lagging far behind in evolving with its consumers. Distributors selling products and services for direct marketing companies have been limited in the way that they could reach the consumer, learn about their needs, and sell solutions.

GEG realized that distributors and the companies that they represented in this industry needed a more flexible and responsive way to find and respond to customer demand on a global scale.

GEG’s envisioned creating a mobile tool that would give the direct marketer the ability to identify buyers in their community, match them with a product or service, educate them on a solution, gain their trust and transact a purchase when they were ready to buy. Furthermore, they wanted this tool to also provide back-end coaching and support for the distributors and help them achieve success.

THE TECHNICAL SOLUTION

GEG’s first customer was LifeVantage, a Nutrigenomics products company that embraced its concept of bringing the sales associate closer to the customer. The GEG LifeVantage app would be a multi-platform application that will run on iPhone and Android devices.

The app would interact primarily with the GEG backend, a collection of Graph Databases, Messaging, Enrollment, Transaction and Social Monitoring tools that integrate with LifeVantage operations and its services provider, Info-Trax. GEG would implement the Backend services in .NET, on a collection of services and a social graph databases. These components collectively were known as the GEG Platform and Application.

The app was required to integrate with the following services:

  • The backend for messaging, sharing, social monitoring, transaction, and shopping cart preparation in addition to contact management.

  • LifeVantage vanity sites.

  • Complete shopping cart orders.

  • LifeVantage distributor management and transaction order processing system.

Easy of use of the app was paramount and the challenge was to enable such functionality with the least number of screens and user actions (taps) as possible.

THE PROJECT EXECUTION

The decision was made to develop the app on the Xamarin framework based on the requirements and how well Xamarin. Forms fit them. In addition, the choice would clearly be the most economical solution as compared to any other tech stack given the app elements.

AccelOne assembled the project documents from GEG and met with their team leaders to discover the scope of the engagement(s) which we broke down into tow (2) phases. We assembled the appropriate team for the phase 1 delivery which consisted of:

  • Scrum Master, Senior Xamarin Developer

  • Senior Xamarin mobile developer

  • Mid-level Mobile Developer

  • QA Analyst

  • Project Manager

The Phase 1 feature deliverables would be geared towards an MVP and would generally be described as:

Authentication, Dashboard, Notifications, Media Library, Sharing, Messaging Tools, Calendaring Tools, Contact Import tool, Prospect and Distributor Management Tool, Shopping Cart

Sharing, Enrollment, UI Customization, Help & Support. Settings, Startup Process, Menu, and Localization.

UX and UI was to be provided by a 3rd party UX|UI agency.

The backend was to be developed by internal resources to GEG.

Delivered was to be via Xamarin Forms and C# for iOS, Android and Windows Universal Apps. The delivery was estimated to take three and a half (3.5) months in total with the test and deploy phase in month 3.

The Phase 2 delivery and implementation would follow the same feature deliverables but with far greater parameters of functionality providing a far greater and in-depth user experience with extended capabilities.

THE CHALLENGES

  1. Xamarin Forms limitations: Xamarin. Forms were the selected platform. Xamarin has become mature and robust, but it is limited in terms of the number of different UI elements that it can render or provide features for on the different platforms which use it. To divert this limitation, AccelOne’s expert Xamarin team created a framework for MVVM support and the required platform-specific renderers in order to provide the UI defined by and required from the UX / UI team.

  2. Short Timeframe for the number of features of the app:   MVP was required after 4 months of development work kickoff.

  3. Project organization: Work was done in parallel with backend, using a Kanban agile approach, including several change orders, to improve UX during the different product iterations.

  4. Main processes should be fast: Many complex processes are involved in the generation of the information and screens of the app, and in order to keep a good UX lot of optimization work was required on both, the App and the Back end.

THE RESULTS

  1. The initial launch of their MVP to a select, superior performing group of the LifeVantage independent distributors was met with overwhelming applause.

  2. The app helped distributor sales performance and improved distributor retention and revenue growth to the delight of their brand and manufacturer, LifeVantage.

  3. Gig Economy Group continues to add features to the application and further the value to its stakeholders.

  4. The mobile development team expertise plus the correct orchestration with UX, backend, and QA teams made it possible to design, develop and test the multiplatform app in about half of the time that a project of this type usually requires.

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