🧐 Inspiration & Problem Finding
It's quite evident that local businesses have been hit hard by the ongoing pandemic. With fewer and fewer people leaving their homes due to lock down the connection between customers and local businesses has been rapidly deteriorating It has come to the critical stage where local small-scale business owners either have to operate at a loss or close down their stores due to the inability to find new customers and the local vicinity. Customers who are restricted to their homes on the other hand have no proper way of keeping track of the status of the local businesses and the services or products they offer. We identified that there is a huge gap here that, if filled properly, could benefit not only the business owners and customers but also the local community as a whole.
So our questions were:
- How can we help small business owners to easily connect with potential local customers?
- Why do we want to encourage customers to support local small businesses? and why is it important
With the questions in mind, we narrowed down ideas and created 'Locals', a tool that empowers local small business owners and their customers.
✨ What it does In this app,
Locals helps build a compassionate community by providing a safe and creative place that works as an effective bridge between consumers and local business owners. Through our platform, we want to contribute to improving a strong community connection and empower local small business owners.
Local business owners will be able to access the app to create their own store profile including business idea, specialty, location, and other information for their potential customers. These details will be stored in our database. Also, the business owners can keep on track of the number of visits to their profile and reviews. Similarly, the local customers will have access to the app. We'll be asking a few questions to personalize their local updates and interesting business ideas. We implemented a tinder-like min-game where customers can select their favorite local businesses.
🤳🏻Business journey prototype
🛠 How we built it
- Mark took the initiative to constantly organize brief meetings with each member to get them up to date with what has been discussed/developed and what is left to be done.
- Lisa conducted the user research, a quick survey, and planned out the user scenarios and user flow with Mark. And she developed the low-fidelity to high-fidelity wireframes in Figma. This miro board along with the UI wireframes and the prototypes developed by Lisa made it extremely easier for the rest of the team to keep the development process as smooth as possible.
- The app was created using React Native. The project was quickstarted using the expo CLI and was developed by Tejaswini and Mark. (Front-end)
- The backend of the application was created using NodeJS, Strapi CMS, MongoDB, and was hosted using Heroku by Asel. A published postaman collection with all the available endpoints can be accessed using the following link. https://documenter.getpostman.com/view/7312043/TzRX7Qbw
🤯 Challenges we ran into
- All the members of the team were from different time zones. While Asel and Tejaswini were from Sri Lanka and India, Mark and Lisa were from another side of the globe from America and Canada.
- It was the first time working with React native for Tejaswini and It's the First Hackathon for Lisa and Mark.
🏅 Accomplishments that we're proud of
- We're proud of our efficient, effective, and strongly supportive teamwork!
- We were able to complete the app functionality.
- Solving the local business problem. And all of us gave our best for this app.
✍🏻 What we learned
- React Native, Good Code Principles since all of us have to collaborate.
- Time Management
- Effective communication between a designer and developers.
✌🏻 What's next for Locals
- Conducting more interviews and surveys for an improved version of our app
- Adding an option for investors to invest in the business of their choice if they found the idea interesting.
- Adding efficient and effective features
- Encouraging #LoveLocals, hashtag movement, on social media