The COVID-19 pandemic has created numerous challenges for everyone, but especially for small businesses. Brick and mortar stores depend on a steady flow of customers coming to their store front. However, the recent lockdowns, occupancy restrictions, and general caution towards getting sick have put many small businesses in a very precarious position. Suddenly, the reliable stream of foot traffic that keeps brick and mortar stores a float has dwindled into almost nothing. In response to this, we have created QRShop, a web app that allows people to shop at physical stores without fear. Using the magic of QR codes, QRShop creates an entirely new shopping experience.

What it does

In the QRShop model, the store owner has their goods displayed outside their store. Next to each item is a QR code. When scanned, the customer is automatically taken to that item's online store page on the QRShop website. From there, the customer can view the product description and the different item variants. The customer can then add that item to their virtual shopping cart, where it will be saved until deleted. When ready to buy, instead of physically taking that item to the register, the customer can simply enter their contact information, and press ‘purchase’. The store owner will get a notification about the customer’s order, and bag the (untouched) items themselves. This ensures to the customer that no one other than store employees have touched the item they intend to buy.

Also, Since all scanned items are saved to the customer’s shopping cart, QRShop allows customers to remember items of interest, and buy them at home. With QRShop, the customer can once again feel safe about shopping at their favorite brick and mortar stores.

How we built it

Our app utilizes the react.js web framework and bulma css for our front end. Using AWS Lambda and DynamoDB, we developed a serverless backend which allows for automatic scaling and also only charges for the duration of each request. We also used AWS’s SNS service to send text messages to both the customer and the business owner. Our app is hosted on AWS Amplify, which allows us to scale easily, and has a powerful framework which can help us expand our apps feature set.

Challenges we ran into

Since it was our first time using AWS, it took a little bit of time learning how to host our web app and our backend. Also, figuring out the database schema was a bit tricky since we wanted to make sure queries could be made efficiently of the data when we start adding features on top.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Building a web app that can help businesses and also keep people more safer by encouraging a different shopping experience. We hope businesses find our hackathon project useful and try it out for themselves.

What we learned

We learned how to use multiple AWS services like dynamoDB, amplify, etc. to host web apps. It was fun learning how to put all of these technologies together to form our hackathon project.

What's next for QRShop

In the future, we want to develop a portal for business owners to manage their inventory and generate qr codes to attach to their products. Another feature we would like to implement is in-app purchase processing so that the process can be even more seamless. We would like to add accounts to our app as well so customers can view a history of the items that they’ve previously purchased, and the stores they’ve purchased from.

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