9 Creative Hackathon Ideas that drive Retail Innovation


Antoine Leclercq


January 29, 2020

Hack-Retail is an annual event where retailers and e-commerce businesses are given a space to meet, work and connect with top-ranked agencies, start-ups and hackers around given challenges and tracks regarding retail's contemporary issues. Since these challenges are incredibly technical and have to be completed within 48 hours, all subscriptions are submitted to validation to make sure all participants are highly skilled professionals. All teams will have to deliver creatively constructed solutions and prototypes. The two-day event aims to challenge retailers and give them a competitive advantage. But first each retailer must come with a creative challenge to be picked.

1. Find that product

This is a terrific hackathon idea where you create a mobile application synchronized with your phone’s camera. What happens is that when you see someone wearing a cute outfit or shoes that you like, you just take a picture of it. The picture has to be taken within the application. Then the app not only tells you where to find it and how much it costs but also if it's currently available and the opening hours of the retail shop. You can take it further by making the app perform the same analysis on any other product in the market. It can be anything, from shoes, clothes, food or toys, to jewelery or any other retail product in the market.

2. Enquiries Made

Customers often google a product, ask about it on a social media platform or applications such as Alexa. When a product is searched using google search tools, several options are given. With enquiries made, you can use publish social media sites like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram to get more retail business. What happens is that every time someone inquires about a product that matches the description of your products or is exactly yours, you are notified. The notification is then immediately responded to using an automatic text or call from a chatbot from your company. The message gives the person from whom the enquiry came from details of your product, where to find them, and the costs. The aim is to bring solutions straight at the door of consumers. The message can be sent automatically to the customer through their direct messages, comment on their post about the product, or a call on platforms like Facebook.

3. QR Codes for Clothes

The aim of QR codes on clothes is to allow customers to scan in the code and get direct information, like for example, sizes and available colors. The customer can choose the model he wants to try on, which would be sent straight to the dressing room. The benefit of this feature is that it reduces the amount of time that clients have to spend looking for their sizes on the shelves. This, therefore, makes the shopping experience faster and easier than usual.

4. The Ultimate Validator

During a hackathon, it is crucial that each hacker team owns the genesis of the idea or solution that they will present as some may be translated into substantial businesses and tangible project. One way of doing it could be by carrying out extensive research. So imagine, if you had a software that could help you look around and see if your idea has ever came up somewhere. If that's the case, the software would then let you know who had the idea, where, and how they have done it. This will help you determine whether to give up the idea or improve it. The software could also show if the concept is solid. All that keeping it secret from other investors.

5. Reward my clients

Some companies motivate their clients by allowing them to pay using other options than money. Facebook, for example, seeks to drive runners by enabling them to pay using the number of kilometers that they have ran. Some apps also reward their users with motivational quotes. These features aim to motivate users to work on themselves, either by exercising or eating better or maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Another option is a reward system. For instance, retailers could reward client's purchases with coupons for a gym. This will drive in more business. One way of doing it is developing an app that tracks the credit cards used in the stores and the customer that spend the most, gets the reward.

6. Traffic Monitoring

Traffic congestion is a common issue in all parts of the globe. Some retailers suffer lack of business because of their location and the traffic that customers experience getting to the store. An app that monitors traffic and suggests the fastest way for customers could be a really good option. The app would have to be synchronized and updated with real time information regarding traffic and the store's opening hours.

7. Clearing the way for emergency vehicles

In overcrowded cities and traffic-ridden roads, it is really hard for emergency vehicles to get through. Whether it's an ambulance, fire brigade or any other emergency vehicle. Imagine if, even before starting hearing the siren, you could get a vocal notification saying that the emergency vehicle is coming your way, then you could anticipate and clear the path. The driver could even choose how he wants to be notified: vocal notification, text message, car stereo system, etc.

8. You're next on the line

We all hate long queues. Any store that has an everlasting queue looses money as customer usually tend to bail out. So what about a mobile app that would allow people to book a spot in the queue without being physically present? Imagine being able to get a spot on the queue and leave your office to go to the restaurant, shop or any other service facility when your number is almost up. The system should work with a variable notification system to make sure you have enough time to get there, taking into account the customer localisation when he book the spot.

9. Smart Emergency System

Most retailers have switched to omnichannel marketing strategy; which is really good but also implies multiple platforms to pay attention to. Unfortunately, when technology mishaps happens, by the time the store manager, community manager or webmaster becomes aware of it, it's already out of hand and the customers has begun to complain. Sadly, when it comes to this point, the business may have already lost the battle. An application that would monitor the proper functioning of the entire brand ecosystem and platforms would help detecting these mishaps and correct them quickly.

Solving Problems by sharing knowledge this is the commitment of HACK_RETAIL.

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