Elevator pitch:

The alley for local businesses. Loc.Alley is a website aimed to support local businesses and stores by promoting them through a safe, supportive, and inclusive community.

Inspiration:

Local businesses are companies that provide goods and services for the local population. Initially, local businesses have already been unpopular amongst the population within Bangkok, as people in our community do not seem to notice these local businesses and choose to rely on big companies. During the past few years of the pandemic, these businesses have been suffering more than ever before; many have had to close down and/or go bankrupt due to the unbearable economic circumstances as Bangkokians continue to order products from big companies, far from their homes. We believe that these small, local businesses should be given the opportunity they deserve to thrive. Therefore, we suppose promoting and making these small businesses easier to approach would increase their popularity as more people will come across their brands, recognise them, and purchase their product in the long term. Supporting local businesses also benefits our communities in many ways: more jobs are provided for the local population, more investments within the area, and shopping from local shops will result in less impact on the environment.

We BELIEVE that achieving the ideal outcome starts with a single step; that step starts now.

What it does:

Loc.Alley is a website aimed to support local businesses by promoting them through a safe, supportive, and inclusive community. The website acts as a meeting point for small businesses where users can view a collection of local stores in an area of their choice, by district. The website contains local businesses from different areas and allows users to search for each area. On the home page, users will be presented with Loc.Alley’s best pick of the week’s business and recommendations of stores from different categories. Scrolling down, the join us banner is designed for local business owners to join the community and have their shops displayed on the website. When the user presses the search button, they will be redirected to the search tab where it will display frequently searched districts. Once the user chooses one district, different stores will be shown on the shops page and users can also click on different stores for their details. For local business owners who are interested in joining the community, they can join via the join us tab, where they will fill out a form and wait for the Loc.Alley team to contact them back. This process is also to make sure the Loc.Alley community is as safe and credible as possible.

How it solves the problem:

Loc.Alley allows local businesses to be more approachable and easier to access as they are all gathered on to one website. Having an online site also reaches out more to customers in younger age groups, such as teenagers and young adults. By that, more people of wider ranges will come across the brands, recognise them and purchase their products: the brand exposure technique. Loc.Alley’s best pick of the week campaign was also an idea based on this technique where one business will be chosen each week to be promoted on to different platforms to further expose the brand to other communities.

How we built it:

We started off brainstorming about our project, discussing issues we care about and the things we could do to help lessen or solve the problems. After we came across our aims, we sketched out our website interface and named it ‘Loc.Alley’. Then we used Figma to design our ideal prototype and started coding on our website by using HTML, CSS and Javascript. However, with limited time and coding abilities, we were unable to successfully finish the coded version of the prototype.

Challenges we ran into:

During the making of ‘Loc.Alley’, we faced many challenges. One of the main challenges was that there were only 2 people in our team. Therefore, we had to manage our time well to complete the project to a standard in time. Programming the website was also challenging for us as both of us are quite new to this field, having Creatica 2022 as our second hackathon. We had to spend quite a lot of time finding mistakes and errors within our code. Lastly, time-zones have been a challenging part throughout this hackathon. We are 11 hours ahead of EST time, meaning we had to wake up early to attend different events and had to miss out on a lot of live workshops as it was too early or too late for us. However, these challenges have helped us develop many character strengths, such as resilience, team work, and positivity. Consequently, we were very thankful for this experience and had great fun over the past 2 days.

What we learned & Accomplishments that we're proud of:

While working on ‘Loc.Alley’, we learned so many new skills and are very proud of that. One of our biggest accomplishments was that we learned to use and master a completely new prototype making platform: Figma. At first we were very confused about how the software works but as we worked on it, searching for tutorials along the way, we found the software very convenient and will definitely be using it to create other prototypes on our future projects. Mostly, we are really proud of the overall picture of our project: the effort we put into it, what we learned along the way, the front and back-end of both our website, our thinking and the wonderful time we had during this hackathon.

What's next for Loc.Alley:

There are so many improvements and functions that could be added to the Loc.Alley website that can improve the platform. Account and login systems of both the business side of the user and the customer side of the user should be added to ensure safety and privacy within the community as reviews and comments made could be tracked down by our team. The UX of the website could also be improved to enhance the user’s experience to the max. Partnerships with different advertising companies and delivering companies is also a very interesting idea to consider to help boost the impact Loc.Alley can make. The wider range of people the brands are exposed to, the better the effect. By this, the population within the community can also become familiar with the brands and products and become more open to local stores in the long term. Moreover, Artificial Intelligence could be added to the back-end of the website to sort out recommendations and most searched items. With development, consistent promotion, and structured organization, Loc.Alley could become a game changer in the business world. We BELIEVE that achieving the ideal outcome starts with a single step, that step starts now.

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