What Inspired us?
The corona virus puts an extreme burden on small and local businesses in particular. Many shops have to close. No sales are generated. Businesses go bankrupt. As a result, many employees will lose their job. Whilst many products could be sold online a lot of the owners don't know how to do that or can't afford the fees of existing marketplaces (e.g. Amazon). At the same time people are stuck at home and are looking for exactly those products online. Our absolute priority is to help these businesses and all the people involved with them and to ensure their very existence. For this purpose, we have been working day and night and have come to the following solution, which solves these problems:
An online marketplace exclusively for local stores with door-to-door delivery to customers.
So what is the impact of Covexit?
Corona increases the awareness of shop owners that they have to go online in order to exist in the short and long run. The crisis thus represents a wake-up call. On the other hand, the Corona crisis also increases the awareness that local businesses need support. Covexit's solution concept can be implemented regionally, nationally and internationally, so people all over the world benefit from the solution. In total, thousands or millions of businesses can be saved from insolvency and millions of jobs can be secured. In addition, it is a sustainable concept that is also applicable after the Corona crisis and helps businesses to adapt to the current developments in our society.
Our Solution Approach:
a) Define the participating types of stores (e.g. clothing, …)
b) For every type of store: define product categories
c) Geofilter (e.g. perimeter < 20 mi)
d) Search feature for particular stores and products
e) Discover feature for local stores using interactive map
f) Pay and order features
2) Bringing companies to the platform
a) Develop guidelines on which companies can access the platform
b) Communication strategy (e.g. via business associations such as BdS or industry associations such as FdF)
c) Simple guidelines so that owners can upload their products to the platform independently
3) Bringing users to the platform
a) Communication strategy
4) Distribution strategy
a) Who delivers?
- Collaboration with other Hackathon projects dealing with the delivery challenge --> Suppliers can choose one of the two options:
- self-shipment of the supplier (bicycle (cargo bike), company car) if possible or
- with support of the platform operator (similar to Amazon)
--> support of the platform operator: cooperation with local taxi companies, students and part-time workers can register as temporary drivers.
- self-shipment of the supplier (bicycle (cargo bike), company car) if possible or
- Exploration of existing and new delivery routes (DHL, taxi, bicycle couriers, etc.)
b) Delivery regulations (requirements for retailers and suppliers, especially virus safety)
c) Which products may be delivered?
Who should use Covexit?
Covexit is mainly aimed at small businesses that do not yet have their own online shop and that are currently not generating any sales. In addition, Covexit also offers companies that already have an online shop a great added value so that all local shops can benefit from the Covexit offer.
On the other hand, customers who want to support local shops or customers who simply want to explore shops in their area are particularly attracted by the offer. Covexit is therefore the perfect solution for every consumer who wants to help small shops to secure their existence.
Why should companies use Covexit:
Covexit offers companies a very simple way to offer their products online. Thus they generate sales again and consequently survive the corona crisis. This also saves many employees from losing their jobs. In addition, the companies benefit from the platform's wide reach, so that they can acquire new customers in addition to their regular customers. Even after the Corona crisis, Covexit still offers companies great added value, as online shopping becomes increasingly important. Especially younger people are shopping less and less in local stores. Covexit thus helps them to secure their long-term existence.
Why should customers use Covexit:
The Corona crisis in particular has increased the awareness of many consumers that local shops need their support and thus also the willingness to buy local products. Covexit offers them the perfect opportunity to do this. In addition, customers can easily explore the treasures of their city. Covexit is fully focused on functionality. Through its clear layout and logical structure, it is made as easy as possible for the customer to support and get to know shops in their vicinity. Thanks to the direct product search, consumers can quickly find the products of their choice and thus purchase them easily through the platform.
There are over 340,000 retailers in Germany. In Karlsruhe alone, for example:
- 537 clothing stores
- 274 Furniture and furnishing stores
- 70 bookshops
- 232 Jewellers
All these small businesses are affected by the crisis and fear for their existence. Millions of jobs in Germany alone depend on it... and worldwide there are many more.
But even after the Corona crisis it will be essential for the many companies to offer their products online, as the current generation predominantly shops online and at some point in time it will not be able to fall back on the older generation. Most of the retailers now have their own homepage but only a few are able to make significant sales through it. Currently only about 30% of all small and medium sized German companies own an online shop and more than half of all German companies do not sell online at all. In other countries these figures are even more significant. It is crucial to close this gap so that our beloved shops next door can survive in the future.
How have we built our solution?
- Finding solutions together: How can we support small local businesses in the current situation?
- Pitch of the proposed solutions
- Agreement on a solution: Covexit
- Definition of the solution approach (see above: solution approach)
- Creation of an overview of all problems sorted according to the different stages of the solution path. Subsequently subdividing these problems into further subproblems
- Finding solutions for individual subproblems
- Derivation and definition of our MVP (see below)
- Search for appropriate designers as well as front-end and back-end developers to implement the MVP
- Division into teams (business concept, frontend, backend, designer, coordination team, marketing)
- Task structuring, backlog, prioritization and assignment in Trello
- Regular team grooming and reprioritisation of the backlog
- Definition of our name
- Design of our logo
- Elaboration design
> Corporate design
> Design assets -> technical development
> Design system for the prototype
> Prototype construction
- Setting up the technical platform
> Backend structure and technology definition
> Front-end structure and technology definition
> technical connection
> Prototyping for login
- Definition of our USP, the added value from the customer's point of view, shop view (both without and with already existing online shop). Definition of our added value compared to competing solutions as well as Amazon, Google Maps
- Refinement of the prototype with retailers
- Fine-tuning of key business issues regarding the roll-out, the delivery process, the verification process and the business model
- Conception of the marketing strategy to get companies on the platform (reaching critical mass)
- Conception of the marketing strategy to get customers on the platform
- Opening of social media channels
- Creation of our own website
- Video production and upload on YouTube
- Creation of the DevPost project
Our MVP (Minimum Viable Product):
Customer view (mobile view of the web application):
• Strolling function: Interactive map showing the user shops in his or her vicinity
• Google Maps integration (overview of locations of participating stores and filter function by store type)
• Geofilter: Via location services; users are only shown shops in their vicinity
• Company page with image, name, logo, overview of product categories
• Product page with picture, name, information, shopping cart
• Shopping cart function
• Order overview page
• Payment with PayPal
Company view (Web App):
• Simple Registration
• Easy way to upload products (name, picture, description, price, quantity, category)
• Overview of sales (period, order total, units)
• Overview of orders (pending, shipped, return request)
Our current status:
• Business Concept for MVP completely defined
• Walkthrough prototype for the mobile version was created
• Frontend of the MVP almost finished
• Backend structures still need to be adapted
• First contact with retailers has been made and interested parties have been identified
• Social media channels opened
• First marketing concept in place
• Branding concept has been established
• Plan for the rollout ready
What did we achieve during the Hackathon?
- Refinement of the design of the mobile and web view, as well as the logo and prototype
- Creation of a prototype for user testing and making the necessary preparations for its implementation
- Creation of a German version of the mobile prototype
- Alignments and possibilities of logo insertion were determined, as well as design possibilities for pitch decks, brochure and presentation covers
- Onboarding View for Owners
- Store Detail View
- Adaptations for Desktop
- Changed Map Style
- Sign up as Store View
- Django Oscar Implementation
- Endpoint for User Registration
- Deployment Preparations
Business model and organisation:
- Creation of a pitch deck
- Refinement of the business model
- Development of the marketing strategy
- Preparation of the user testing (definition and selection of the companies)
- Conducting initial tests of the prototype with shopkeepers
- Completion of the development team
- Completing the rollout concept
- Filling the social media channels with initial content
• Completion of the front-end
• Adaptation of the back-end (decide on E-Commerce Backend Framework to integrate)
• Completion of the Web-App
• Refinement of the marketing strategy
• Clarification of legal issues and the legal form
• Create guidelines for dealers
• Bring dealers to the platform
• Once critical mass is reached, bring customers to the platform
• Test phase according to our rollout concept
• Then rollout to other cities
Challenges we have faced:
• Time, time and again time!
• Putting a team together correctly according to competencies
• Organization of a large team
• Finding solutions without a great budget
• Integration of payments -->legal issues
What we have learned:
• The importance of good organization
• Important to structure problems well and to break them down into subproblems
• Only together as a team such a project can be realized
• Motivation is key!
Things we are proud of:
• Our idea, our concept, our team and everything we have achieved in the last few days
• The great feedback from retailers and all the supporters. This alone is motivation enough to give 110% for the next days, weeks and months!