Inspiration

In the month of November, one of our lonely teammates wishes to save the cost of online shopping by using his $100 Zalora Voucher. However, he is required to spend at least $200 at the site. Our teammate is a poor NUS student could not spend afford that much money alone.

Furthermore, Amazon and Taobao is having it’s annual Black Friday and Singles’ Day promotion respectively in the same month but the shipping cost is not cost effective if he were to buy it alone as well.

Our lonely friend did his best to find people to join him and do bulk purchase with him, but he simply could not find enough friends. Our friend became sad and he could not purchase anything in the end frown emoticon

This is where we come in. We felt that could be addressed by a mobile platform that allows users to find existing or new friends that are shopping.

What it does

Gempack is a mobile application that encourages bulk shopping with peers through similar websites and join them to avail free shipping or discounts. Users either play the role of host to establish a stated amount they wish to collate before they organise and initiate their purchase, known as “Packs”. Other users can contribute “Gems” by stating how much and what they wish to contribute into the “Packs”. Once “Packs” is full, “Gempacks” are form and the 2 parties will be connected where they will proceed in further discussion on the process of purchase.

How we built it

We based our app based on two major platforms, Android SDK as our front end representation and Parse as our backend data management service, and GIT as our version control. We also integrated Facebook into our mobile platform to enable users to log in seamlessly without the need to key in their password and their personal particulars. Furthermore, we further organised our data in Parse in two major components, Gems are items that users are looking to buy, and Packs are groups that are pooling their money together to buy from a store together.

Challenges we ran into

We are a team with a diverse level of experience, with one member having almost no experience in Android studio. It was a challenge for the team to allocate the workload efficiently and effectively. Furthermore, there were many unforeseen circumstances, including a period where our entire team was stuck with a single bug for almost 3 hours. Exhausted and frustrated, we were on the verge of giving up but we managed to pull through with the relentless execution of alternatives to solve the bug. The minimal sleep opportunity during this period was not beneficial for us as well.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

For the inexperienced member, he had gain much exposure to the entire Android app programming. It was the first time we took 24 hours to create an app from scratch, something that will take even the most experienced member of our team to take months to achieve in the past.

What we learned

How to teach our peer Android studios and he has learnt a lot from that aspect. We learnt how to trouble shoot in the application during the process of bugs and we learn more about our peers as this is the first time we hacked together.

What's next for Gempack

We hope to improve further in the “Gempack” experience further, where “Gem” and “Pack” users are able to have a much smoother transaction process. We wish to also raise funds for investor and monetize our application to promote social interaction and encourage users to be patrons of the numerous rising online retail outlets in Singapore and the rest of the world.

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