Nahuel Sanchez

Check if a user has made a purchase on a VTEX store

There's no a simple built in functionality on VTEX that allows to check if the current user browsing the store has already made a purchase there, but there's a twisted workaround to get this information.

Before actually going through the guide, this is the idea: we need to create a new attribute in the CL Data Entity that retains this information and this attribute is going to be updated on the Order Placed page doing an HTTP request to the VTEX Master Data using JavaScript.

Sounds simple? Weeell...

Creating the new attribute

Thanks to the VTEX Master Data API we can get a lot of information about the clients, but if he or she has made a purchase is not there anywhere, that's why we need to create a new attribute that will hold this information.

The new attribute, let's name it buyer, needs to be Boolean, and we need to grant it permissions to be read it and edit it using the API.

Attribute configuration on the Client Data Entity

All existing registered users on our store will have it in null or false until we changed it to true after a user performs a full checkout process.

Updating the attribute

After the user performs a purchase he will end on the Order Placed page that says something like "Em breve você receberá um e-mail no endereço john [email protected] com todos os detalhes do pedido". We need to get that email from the source code of the page and using jQuery AJAX performs a PATCH in order to set the buyer attribute in true.

The problem is that we can't directly insert any piece of JavaScript code in the VTEX Smart Checkout. If you're thinking on adding the JavaScript code into any of the orderplaced-* templates, it won't work, the code won't be displayed because of security reasons.

VTEX Portal section

Here's the fun part: we need to use Google Tag Manager to insert JavaScript on that page.

GTM as our Trojan Horse

Since the VTEX Smart Checkout, as any other checkout process from any other platform, is a sensible part of the site and that's the reason why we don't have, directly on VTEX, a way to insert JavaScript code.

If we have Google Tag Manager integrated into our VTEX store it's our lucky day because that tool can add JavaScript on the page, and the idea is to give to GTM our jQuery AJAX request code.

To accomplish this we need to create a new Custom HTML Tag where instead of HTML we are going to add our script. This script.

$(window).load(function() {
    if ($('.orderplaced-sending-email strong').text().trim()) {
        var urlProtocol = window.location.protocol;
        var apiUrl = urlProtocol + '//api.vtexcrm.com.br/storename/dataentities/CL/documents';

        $.ajax({
            "headers": {
                "Accept": "application/vnd.vtex.masterdata.v10+json",
                "Content-Type": "application/json"
            },
            "url": apiUrl,
            "async" : false,
            "crossDomain": true,
            "type": "PATCH",
            "data": JSON.stringify({
                "email" : $('.orderplaced-sending-email strong').text().trim(),
                "buyer" : true
            })
        });
    }
});

Next, on the Fire on step, click on More in order to create a new trigger. The new trigger needs to be a personalized event that will be fired on "orderPlaced".

GTM new Tag

Save the tag and publish the changes on Google Tag Manager. This is not affected by VTEX cache so we should see the changes immediately.

At this point every time a user hits that page, meaning every time an user finish a purchase, the buyer attribute will be set to true. So now in any other page of the store you can use the VTEX Master Data API to check if buyer is true. If so, then the user browsing the site already made a purchase and you can do whatever you want with that information.

Waaaait

This is a delicate move. You are inserting JavaScript into the checkout process so test it very well, you don't want to screw this part of the VTEX implementation.

Code to GET, POST, PATCH and PUT data in VTEX Master Data

We can manipulate the documents existing in the VTEX Master Data using HTTP request, and it's like the most important thing we should know to dominate this platform's tool.

The official Master Data API documentation breaks down the different HTTP request we can use and explains each part of the request but this information wasn't enought for me to create a working code.

Using and old technique known as "try and failure" I came up with four working jQuery AJAX requests ready to be used to GET, POST, PATCH and PUT data in a specific Data Entity.

My goal was to simplify the interaction with the VTEX Master Data during the implementation of a VTEX store. The code is far from perfect but it's a working start.

GET

function getFromMasterData(name, where, fields) {  
    var store = 'storeName';
    var urlProtocol = window.location.protocol;
    var apiUrl = urlProtocol + '//api.vtex.com/' + store + '/dataentities/' + name + '/search?_where=' + where + '&_fields='+ fields;
    var response;

    $.ajax({
        "headers": {
            "Accept": "application/vnd.vtex.masterdata.v10.profileSchema+json"
        },
        "url": apiUrl,
        "async" : false,
        "crossDomain": true,
        "type": "GET"
    }).success(function(data) {
        response = data[0];
    }).fail(function(data) {
        response = data;
    });

    return response;
}

The first parameter here, name, refers to the Data Entity's acronym (for example, CL for the Client's Data Entity) and it's the same for the next HTTP requests.

The second parameter, where allows us to define the filter to use while requesting the documents from the Master Data. For example, [email protected].

Finally, fields is there to specify what attributes we want to retrieve from the results.

Here's an example to retrieve the first name and last name from a client knowing its email address.

getFromMasterData('CL', '[email protected]', 'firstName,lastName')  

POST

function postInMasterData(name, email, fields) {  
    var store = 'storeName';
    var urlProtocol = window.location.protocol;
    var apiUrl = urlProtocol + '//api.vtexcrm.com.br/' + store + '/dataentities/' + name + '/documents';
    var response;

    var who = {
        "email": email
    };

    var data = $.extend(who, fields);

    $.ajax({
        "headers": {
            "Accept": "application/vnd.vtex.ds.v10+json",
            "Content-Type": "application/json"
        },
        "url": apiUrl,
        "async" : false,
        "crossDomain": true,
        "type": "POST",
        "data": JSON.stringify(data)
    }).success(function(data) {
        response = data;
    }).fail(function(data) {
        response = data;
    });

    return response;
}

In this case, email needs to be an actual email address that the code is going to use as an unique identifier of the document that is going to be created on the Master Data, and fields is a JSON object with the attributes and values to send in the request.

Life is better with examples.

var someAttributes = {  
     firstName : 'John',
     lastName : 'Doe'
};

postInMasterData('CL', '[email protected]', someAttributes);  

PATCH

function patchInMasterData(name, email, fields) {  
    var store = 'storeName';
    var urlProtocol = window.location.protocol;
    var apiUrl = urlProtocol + '//api.vtexcrm.com.br/' + store + '/dataentities/' + name + '/documents';
    var response;

    var who = {
        "email": email
    };

    var data = $.extend(who, fields);

    $.ajax({
        "headers": {
            "Accept": "application/vnd.vtex.masterdata.v10+json",
            "Content-Type": "application/json"
        },
        "url": apiUrl,
        "async" : false,
        "crossDomain": true,
        "type": "PATCH",
        "data": JSON.stringify(data)
    }).success(function(data) {
        response = data;
    }).fail(function(data) {
        response = data;
    });

    return response;
}

The parameters here works just as the POST's example, where email is the way to identify the document is going to be edited and fields the JSON object with the attributes and values, as show in the following example.

var someAttributes = {  
     firstName : 'John'
};

patchInMasterData('CL', '[email protected]', someAttributes);  

PUT

function putInMasterData(name, email, fields) {  
    var store = 'storeName';
    var urlProtocol = window.location.protocol;
    var apiUrl = urlProtocol + '//api.vtexcrm.com.br/' + store + '/dataentities/' + name + '/documents';
    var response;

    var who = {
        "email": email
    };

    var data = $.extend(who, fields);

    $.ajax({
        "headers": {
            "Accept": "application/vnd.vtex.masterdata.v10+json",
            "Content-Type": "application/json"
        },
        "url": apiUrl,
        "async" : false,
        "crossDomain": true,
        "type": "PUT",
        "data": JSON.stringify(data)
    }).success(function(data) {
        response = data;
    }).fail(function(data) {
        response = data;
    });

    return response;
}

More of the same, just like the last two codes. And a similar example.

var someAttributes = {  
     lastName : 'Doe'
};

putInMasterData('CL', '[email protected]', someAttributes);  

This is on GitHub

I decided to put this snippets on a Git repository you can find in https://github.com/nahuelsanchez/vtexmasterdataapiconnection.

Feel free to send any improvement you think this code desperately needs (thanks in advance).

Differences between POST, PATCH and PUT in VTEX Master Data

We can thrown five different HTTP requests at the VTEX Master Data: GET, POST, PATCH, PUTCH and DELETE. GET and DELETE are very simple to understand (once for get documents and the other one to delete them), but POST, PATCH and PUT seems like they all do the same thing.

There are small differences between POST, PATCH and PUT that justify the existence of all of them, and knowing this could improve our VTEX implementation and how we interact with the Master Data.

POST, PATCH or PUT?

The first one, POST, allows us to create a new document in a specific Data Entity. If the document already exists we won't be able to introduce the new data into the Data Entity.

For example, if we perform a POST request to create a new client with the email [email protected] and name John, but the Data Entity CL already has a client with that email address a new document won't be created.

It doesn't matter if the existing document with the email [email protected] has a different name for the client. Since the email needs to be unique the request will fail and the other attributes like the name will be discards.

On the other hand, PATCH works just like POST in terms that it will create a new document, but if the document already exists then the attributes from the existing document are updated with the new values that we are sending in the request.

Take into consideration that PATCH, in the scenario where the document already exists, will update only the attributes that we are sending in the request. The attributes that exists on the document but are not mentioned in the request won't be affected.

Finally, PUT works as POST too when the document doesn't exists: it creates a new one with the values we're sending in the request.

When using PUT in an scenario where the document already exists it will cause the existing document in the Data Entity to be completed overwritten. In other words, the existing document will be deleted, a new one will be created with the attributes mentioned in the request, and the ignored attributes in the request will be empty in the final created document.

POST, PATCH and PUT in VTEX Master Data documentation

Let me recap. POST to create a new document, PATCH to create a new document if it doesn't exist or to update the values of the attributes in an existing document, and finally PUT to create a new document if it doesn't exist or to overwrite an existing document.

A friendly example

Given an empty CL Data Entity, we perform a POST to create a new document with the following JSON in the request.

{
     email : "[email protected]",
     firstName : "John",
     lastName : "Doo"
}

Since the document doesn't exist, it will be created.

Then, we decided to change the lastName of the document because we spot a typo on it. For this, we use PATCH and the following JSON in the request.

{
     email : "[email protected]",
     lastName : "Doe"
}

After the request the document on the Data Entity will look like the following.

{
     email : "[email protected]",
     firstName : "John",
     lastName : "Doe"
}

Finally, the document became obsolete and we need to overwrite it using PUT and the following JSON.

{
     email : "[email protected]",
     firstName : "Jane"
}

The existing document with that email address will be deleted and a new one will be created, as follow.

{
     email : "[email protected]",
     firstName : "Jane",
     lastName : ""
}

As you saw, lastName is empty.

What's VTEX Master Data?

The VTEX Master Data is what the platform offers to look under the hood. There we can find all the clients' data, orders' information, addresses and other kind of data divided into different Data Entities.

The clients's information like first name, email address, identification, phone numbers, if the client is willing to receive newsletter or not, and other information be default or custom is not invisible or totally private for the store owner. On the contrary, it's there to be read and accessed.

Is a database-ish, that works as a CRM data repository too, the deepest you'll be able to sink considering it's a SaaS platform.

Data Entity

The data is separated into different Data Entities based on the nature of the data itself.

We have Data Entities for Clients (CL), Addresses (AD), Orders (OD), Stores (SO) and a lot more but the most important one, yet, it's the one for the Clients.

Data Entities from VTEX Master Data

Each Data Entity has specific attributes. For example, inside CL you can find, among others, the attribute document which type is Varchar 50, attribute firstName type Varchar 50, attribute isNewsletterOptIn type Boolean, and more.

Another interesting attribute type is Relationship. For example, on the Data Entity OD (for the Orders) there's an attribute known as addressId to relate a document from OD, an order, with an address from the Data Entity AD (for the Addresses).

A little lost? Think it's a MySQL database where each Data Entity is a table and the attributes are the fields. What's left it's the manipulating of the data (add new documents, delete existing documents or edit existing ones).

Data Entity's attributes from VTEX Master Data

The attributes have properties too. An attribute can be configured to establish permissions to read it, to edit it or to use it as filter, among other minor configurations.

The power of the VTEX Master Data comes to light when we perform request to it in order to play with the data. In order to do that we generally aim our request to a specific Data Entity with a filter to retrieve the documents that matches that filter (here we use an attribute with permission to be used as filter) and from the results we ask for specific attributes to read the values (we can do that only on attributes that have permission to be read it). If the idea is to edit the documents consider that we can only alter attributes that, as you probably already guest, have permissions to be edit it.

Remember, a VTEX store by default comes with default Data Entities and default attributes. That's not the limit. Do you need an attribute to save the favorite ice cream flavour of the customer?, you can create it.

Locating the data and other information

The best part of the VTEX Master Data is how we can manipulate it (either just to read it or to edit it) using HTTP request to GET, POST, PUT, PATCH and DELETE documents from the Data Entities. But this is not part of this post scope, feel free to check other publications tagged with VTEX Master Data to go deeper on this topic.

The data is also available via web on {store}.vtexcrm.com.br where you can play with the documents, and on {store}.ds.vtexcrm.com.br where you can configure the Data Entities and attributes.

Everything I just described about the VTEX Master Data is just a glimpse of all it can offer. Check the last two URLs in the paragraph above to discover more features.