COVID-19 left a huge impact on the global economy, affecting 1.2 million businesses across Canada. 97.9% of which are small businesses. Moreover, millions of jobs have been lost since March 2020. As a team, we were inspired to work on a project focused on providing support for small businesses and new entrepreneurs. When the pandemic hit, all the brick and mortars began to build their online presence. However, small business owners don't have the same budget or manpower. We wanted to create a tool that could help streamline the way small businesses gather competitor analysis. That's when we came up with Marketeer.
What it does
Marketeer is an analytic tool hosted on a web platform that enables new or existing small business owners to search up a product or category and gain insight on number of sales, reviews, and product prices from competitors. The platform is meant to consolidate various product types that may fall under the same umbrella category.
For example, you may be interested in starting up your own home decor shop. You have an idea of what products to sell but you're unsure about the market. As a user, you can search up products such as "Candles", "House plants", or "Wall Decor" - save those searches, and our platform will automatically create a dashboard displaying product and seller statistics to help you decide on what items and price points to move forward with.
For many small businesses, spreadsheets are the default choice for bookkeeping. This is especially true for new small business owners. Due to the pandemic, they are forced to a solely online market.
With our tool, business owners within a niche market can compare their current statistics with their online competitors instantly. Features include a search engine to find similar products and sellers, and an analytics dashboard to compare their own business with others'. Using our tool, business owners are able to see their competitors' pricing strategies and product offerings, as well as the industry/product trends. With this information, they can better prepare a strategy for their own business.
How I built it
As for the tech, we used React and Material UI to create the frontend. Firebase for user authentication. We used Puppeteer.js Node.js, and Express for the backend to scrape our data. Finally, we used Dropbase to load users' spreadsheets and our own web-scraped data into a live database to process (removing outliers, dropping nulls, sorting, etc.).
Challenges we ran into
- At first, we ran into the challenge of extracting a consistent set of data from Shopify stores due to the variations in how every website is set up. We pivoted our target towards extracting data from Etsy stores.
- Ran into some challenges with the drag & drop feature where CSS didn't appear
- Learning how to use Dropbase API
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Team morale and communication.
What we learned
The designer on the team learned how to use iMovie to put together the video
It was our first-time web scraping
Learning Dropbase API
What's next for Marketeer
We see great potential with Marketeer. There are many features that would be useful for a competitor analysis that we didn't manage to build out. Those include:
Ability to created multiple consolidated dashboards. For scenarios when a user wants to open up two different types of business.
Advanced analytics such as generated revenue, page visits, sentiment analysis of reviews
Sorting within tables
Improve the user experience