Ever ordered a product online and checked the order status every hour or so? Ain't we all been there at least once? Ordering a product and getting it delivered on the same day has been a huge craving for all of us. Delivery in 2-3 days is great, but we intend to push forward and one up that. But what if on top of that you could have a diverse range of products that you can buy from? Well, that is when the idea thread for NEARme begun. After few brainstorming sessions and a product-market fit survey, We've discovered some shocking revelations. Lots of local shops in and around our place are going out of business owing to COVID. Not just that, During these times other online eCommerce platforms take more than usual time for delivery. We are talking 2 weeks delivery for a laptop. This made us take a resolution to make a change in this sector. We intend to help local shop owners, Provide a chance for people who have some extra time in their hands to make some quick bucks and most importantly the buyers who can finally expect the delivery within the same day or better yet within the same hour. And thus the app that you see in front of you. Below are some links to articles that might shed some light on the situation we are in.
- Impact of COVID on retail 1
- Impact of COVID on retail 2
- Deliveries being delayed 1
- Deliveries being delayed 2
What it does
Well for starters, NEARme has three apps in total. One for buyers, another for sellers, and a final one for delivery partners. Here, Sellers are local shop owners who can post a product that they have in stock. We'll display products to customers that are being sold by the shops that are in and around their domicile. When a user purchases a product, all the delivery partner near that area is notified for package shipment. The delivery partners gets paid for their service as well. Local shops are known for selling unique items that are not available in online eCommerce sites. This way buyers get access to wide array of products that they can select from. We've implemented a new feature which we "Promise". Using this feature, person1 can buy a product for a person2 on the condition that the person2 repays person1 the principle amount along with the interest. Completion of KYC is a must before applying for a promise, So defaulting won't be an issue as well. Since the shops are so near the buyers house, we don't need a warehouse to store products and also expect the delivery within the same day. Also local shop don't have to worry about going out of business due to COVID.
How we built it
All the 3 apps (Buyer, Seller and Partner app) are built using react-native. We've choose react-native for building a cross-platform application (Android and iOS), Going for a killing two birds with one stone approach. The backend is written in node.js powered by express.js. We intentionally chose PostgreSQL as our DBMS as it gives much more robustness and fast querying than a NoSQL database. We used GCP as our cloud provider. And finally the hero "Rapyd" for handling all things payment.
Challenges we ran into
This is our first time using a payment API let alone Rapyd. It was equally fun and challenging learning Rapyd API. Integrating the backend and the frontend was a bit of a hassle. Creating 3 different mobile applications was quite a challenge.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Learning Rapyd and implementing it in our application was quite a feat that we are proud of. Also, This hackathon came to our notice only during a later period of the hackathon. Yet, We've managed to complete a large-scale fully working application within this short span.
What we learned
We've learned a lot about how payments are managed in the backend and also how money is being handled when sent across countries with different currencies. We've learned a lot about the CLOUD SQL feature that GCP provides.
What's next for NEARme
We're planning on going real ham on this project and make this dream of us come true. We ain't going to settle until people can order and expect to receive their package on the very same day. We are also deliberating for quite some time now about making NEARme the first open-source professional eCommerce app. We very much look forward touch people's lives by changing this existing system.