The inspiration for this hack comes from a short story of a family member doing all of the groceries for another family member. CoVID-19 has brought out much selfishness as well as the kindness in humans, from panic buying to helping strangers. Keeping that in mind, Grab n go is empowering neighborhoods and friends/family to help each other out with groceries/essentials and prioritizing convenience for shoppers with a seamless experience in-store. It hopes to utilize the communities to provide people in need while also strengthening the relationships within the communities.
What it does
Currently, people, in general, can obtain groceries through delivery and pickup. However, that convenience isn't available to everyone as only big store brands in urban cities can adapt to just rapid changes. Stores with the system in place are facing extremely high demand causing long waits even online. Overall, it creates an inefficient process that leads to grocery stores to hire more workers, usage of extra vehicles, and increase expense during the time of crisis. Moreover, local supermarkets are affected as they are unable to match big stores' infrastructure for delivery and pickup. Nevertheless, there is a clear need for food and resources from stores like Indian stores, Chinese stores, etc. And it creates an opportunity for Grab n Go. Grocery demands are higher now than ever before, as well as a need to change how shopping is done today.
Even during Covid-19, people have not stopped going to stores to shop in-person, if anything, that number might have increased in some cases. It increases personal health risk, violates social distancing rules, and adds frustration to a shopper's life.
To mitigate stores from getting overcrowded, Grab n Go takes advantage of a community effort to safely supply those in need of resources. Two main people use Grab n Go: The at-risk or in-need people, and the shoppers.
The in-need / requester creates an online grocery list through Grab n Go, which contains necessities from local stores that they can request. Upon submission, everyone in a community that a requestor is a part of will be notified of a requestor request. A kind human being/shopper, who decides to help out his fellow community members, will pick it up groceries for this requestor during his next personal trip to a store.
A shopper gets to all the requests made by his community members and gets an option to deliver those groceries to them if it is convenient for him. Based on the research, most people have said they will be willing to selflessly help neighbors, friends, and family during this time by picking up few small items that would help requester push back his own grocery run. Building such a network where members who are already shopping will be there to help other members of the community will lead to a significant decrease in footprints in-store and an increase in social distancing. Gran n Go is trying to achieve this by providing an incredibly friendly and straightforward user experience for shoppers as they are the champions of this app and the communities.
How I built it
The client-side app is built in React Native, which will allow expanding to both in the Android Play Store and iOS App Store. Backend technologies include AWS Lambda, AWS Graphql, AWS Cognito, Store APIs
Challenges I ran into
The overall challenge for me was catching up to React Native. As my experience is mainly in backend technologies, I struggled to get a proper architecture for React Native, meaning piecing together all the different capabilities. After hours of reading and following open source code, I figured out how best practices in the industry to build robust React Native apps. Specifically, I struggled the most with the implementation of React Navigation. I'm still learning and improving myself to React Native.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Being able to create a production style design for Grab n Go. Even though I am the only software person working on this, I was able to follow industry standards and implement AWS very efficiently. Managing workflows and adding new developers to the team will be handled within minutes.
What I learned
No matter what, you always have that one edge case. One thing I continuously noticed as I pushed out features was that a completely separate part of the app would get triggered, whether via navigation or API call, and give me an error. An important lesson was learned from this: things will break, stay calm, fix it before moving on. Though it sounds simple, it is crucial how it gets addressed. For me, I would create a bug ticket for myself, move the current task to a pending board, resolve the issue, and, lastly, work to completing the original feature. This process let me write a lot more code than just sitting there, debugging some spaghetti code.
What's next for Shopeasy
After realizing how difficult it is designing an app to provide an incredible experience, I reached out to fellow UI/UX designers, and one of them has happily agreed to help. For the next or two, the goal is to perform interviews, surveys, and wireframes to solidify the idea and our product. I will be leading the tech side and development for next month before we launch a product for beta testing. It will be primarily rolled out in Texas as well as some places in California and Virginia through my network.
The current submission is functional MVP (the ugly design is all me haha). However, I have been researching and brainstorming this idea for a while. And this hackathon provided me an opportunity to prototype this a lot quicker than I had imagined. My main goal for this hackathon submission is to get feedback on the idea and connect with relevant people in this industry.
At Grab n Go, we hope to build trust among communities across nations to address the essential human needs, groceries.