According to the Washington Post, 100,000 shops have closed forever. In addition, many businesses have laid off employees because they have not received enough money if it all. This is very unfortunate as many of these shops are small, family-owned, mom and pop shops, who use this money as a main source of income. After witnessing our friend's mother file for bankruptcy due to a lack of business, we understood the severity of the COVID-19 economic crisis. From a survey we conducted, we found out that 41 out of 50 people would use aidBiz, and 36 out of 50 people were unaware of how many small businesses have been affected.
What it does
aidBiz is a free app that addresses the problem of unemployment and business shutdowns by connecting businesses to their customers in real-time. As of right now, many small businesses like salons, nails spas, and pet grooming shops are closed. They are not making any revenue, but they still need to pay bills and employees to stay afloat. Therefore, through aidBiz, they can have customers purchase future services for discounted prices. Companies can use the money to stay afloat.
aidBiz works in three parts: 1). Allows businesses to offer their services in the future. 2). Customers can purchase future services in real-time to implement once the business opens. 3). Businesses can stay afloat and customers get discounted prices for future services that they would have had to pay full price for.
Our target audience is businesses and anyone who wants discounted services.
How we built it
Our app was built with the help of Xcode, Swift, Firebase, cocoapods, and PayPal. Our app is fully functional. This is the link to look at the code we have used: https://github.com/prakritisaxena11/aidBiz-new . If you are unable to load Github, here is the link to see the photos of the app:
Click on the GitHub link above to access our Github repository. Click on the green “code” button and download a zip file. Open the zip file and open the aidBiz.xcworkspace file. Then you can run or view the program. For the best experience, run the code on the iPhone 11 Simulator.
*Note- In order to access our source code, Xcode must be downloaded on a macOS.
To access the GitHub link, click on the link and press the green button then find the download file option. After that, open the zip file and download the zip file. Then open aidBiz.xcworkspace and run or view our project. Please note this will only work if you have downloaded Xcode on mac os. If you do not have Xcode or mac os, here is the link to view photos of our completed app: https://www.canva.com/design/DAEEjvzoiko/share/preview?token=Dvn70--gslkbuX9Bxgnr6w&role=EDITOR&utm_content=DAEEjvzoiko&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link&utm_source=sharebutton
Here is the link to view our presentation with additional information from our video: https://www.canva.com/design/DAEEP8MzYAw/share/preview?token=LolYj5sTt0URESYLK6p6qA&role=EDITOR&utm_content=DAEEP8MzYAw&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link&utm_source=sharebutton
Challenges we ran into
As beginners in code, we found Swift far from easy. We spend hours on end coding together and working as a team to get our app done. We ran into a myriad of problems within our code. One of our prime problems was linking our app to firebase and creating a functional purchasing system.
In addition to that, we wanted to create an app that was different by providing a larger platform for small businesses. While some businesses implement future orders, they do not have a platform dedicated to just future orders, nor do customers know which businesses are offering such orders. Therefore, we wanted to create aidBiz so that we could connect customers to businesses. Another impediment we ran into was customer trust. If a business was to shut down or permanently close, the customer would not be able to use their discounted future purchases. To solve this issue, we decided to validate businesses and have them sign legal documents to ensure that they will not cheat customers. In addition, any future purchase will have an expiration date that follows the guidelines listed: The start date will be noted as when the business re-opens. The end date will be noted as one month after the business re-opens.
In the event of a business shutdown forever, we plan on having the company reimburse customers for their future services they were supposed to provide. If a business cannot adhere to these terms, then they are not given permission to use our app.
aidBiz includes the following features
1). Businesses can post services. 2). Customers can make future purchases. 3). Discounted prices for future purchases. 4). Simple user interface. 5). In-app payment.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of learning how to code through swift on Xcode within a short period of time. We are also proud of the fact that we were able to create a fully functioning app and debug it on our own. Above all, we are proud to have created a solution that can help thousands of those who are unemployed.
What we learned
All of our challenges taught and helped us become better at Swift. One major thing that we learned was how to code and design the UI of an IOS app. In addition, we learned about the challenges small businesses are facing due to COVID-19 and we realized that small businesses cannot triumph over these impediments without the aid of their community. Using Xcode was a learning experience on its own, and learning swift from scratch was another experience with its own set of problems. Nonetheless, we learned how to delegate work, problem solve remotely and learn Swift.
What's next for aidBiz
1). We plan to continue on with aidBiz by 2). Expanding our platform to all of America. 3). Expanding our payment methods. 4). Marketing aidBiz to make it well-known. 5). Releasing a beta-test app on September 10’2020. 6). Releasing a community-approved app to the app store before November 5’2020. 7). Hiring backend developers to maintain aidBiz.
In the future, we will register aidBiz as a non-profit and we will take a 1% deduction from companies using our platform for maintenance and customer safety. With the funds, we can hire backend developers, business and customer relationship managers, and pay for maintenance fees.