10 Tips to maximize your chance for winning a Retail Tech Hackathon


Nicolas Dayez


January 20, 2020

Here are some tips if you want to increase your chances of winning at a retail and e-commerce hackathon such as HACK_RETAIL.

Tips for a successful Retail & E-commerce hackathon

Before the event

1. Brainstorm and come up with an idea before the start

Finding a revolutionary idea before the fateful day is perhaps the most important piece of tips on this list. During hackathons MANY hours can be wasted searching for an idea, then changing it over and over again.

2. Prepare a PowerPoint or a Trello

If you can, try to have minimum preparation. Without writing a single line of code, of course! Whenever possible, organize and assign each task to a team member. To do this, you can use a software such as Trello. Furthermore preparing a template for a PowerPoint can be very useful! This step is optional. But it will give you a very good advantage over the other teams. When the time comes, you will save a lot of time. Also, each person can do research to find out how to carry out the tasks assigned to them.

3. Be informed in advance of the technologies you will use

If you do this step, it can save you many hours of trials and errors! This is what can allow you to win and take another step forward in the achievement of your deliverables. Often, during a hackathon, we choose technologies that we don't yet fully master - or not at all. It is perfect, but it is even better if you don't start learning the basics of language the same day.

4. Install your working environment before

All the participants generally need a local version of the project where they can make changes and evaluate them. Ideally, you should check that everything works before the hackathon starts: install, make changes, test and integration.

5. Take everything you need to survive 40 hours

Pillow, blanket, bottle of water and thermos for coffee and some snacks, bring all these stuff to be comfortable during the event. As showers will be available, you can bring a towel and other necessities. We also advise to bring several t-shirts.

During the event

6. Hold regular meetings

This is essential in order to know the progress of your team's members. You could rely on meal times to do these meetings. Good meeting times would be: 12pm, 2pm, 6pm, midnight, 3am, 6am, 8am. This allows you to redirect objectives, tasks and to-do-lists when troubles happens. Then you will be able to decide on the remaining tasks according to the time you have left. In addition, at each meeting, set a list of tasks that will need to be completed before your next meeting and evaluate if these tasks could be achieved by the team. This is the key to achieving a minimally completed product.

7. Set small, achievable goals

Be careful : if you aim too high, you could end up with something not functional at all. Set yourself very small goals. It's easier to aim for a small, functional product and then work on adding functionalities. At the beginning of the event, and especially during the brainstorm, ideas could come up quickly. However, once the brainstorm is over, it is important to remember that you only have 40 hours. Face it ! Also, the more time goes by, the more tired you get. Small bugs that would normally take you 5 minutes can take 2 hours when you've been coding for hours.

8. Refreshments and networking break

Learn new technologies and meet new people is a strong asset of participating in hackathons. To do so, it is important to take breaks throughout the event, talk to the teams around. Your brain needs a rest, after all!

9. Bring your usual equipment

You'll be more comfortable and efficient if you have your usual stuff, so bring your laptop with you. Use your backup media; especially Github to keep track of changes to your source code. You're working in a team, simultaneously, and your code evolves as you modify it.

Retail & e-commerce Tech hackathons are valuable innovation tools by bringing together a variety of profiles around a common issue, encourage the creation of new solutions while raising their profile on the tech scene. Above all, these events are a fabulous experience for participants who test their creativity, leadership and intellectual stamina. Not to mention the many networking opportunities.

10. Maintain a positive energy in your team

It is crucial that all team members are in a good mood at all times. Everyone will be very tired at the end of the event. It's part of the fun of running a hackathon. However, you have to respect this tiredness and not argue unnecessarily with your peers. If the spirits warm up, a group hug will solve all your problems.

HACK_RETAIL, the Professional's largest retail & e-commerce hackathon, brings top talents from diverse backgrounds to develop innovative solutions to solve retail most critical challenges : 15 retailers & e-merchants, 10 solution partners, 250 hackers (developers, designers, marketers, business people). So what are you waiting for to pre-apply?

Limited Spots Available,

Don’t lose this opportunity to participate to the most impactful retail and e-commerce event of 2020.

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