Grocery shopping is a necessity, but due to current circumstances, it has become unsafe to subject the elderly and at-risk individuals to any kind of exposure, especially in high traffic areas such as grocery stores. Introducing WeShop, a web-based application that allows users to create individual shopping lists from a store’s catalog depending on distance and send them to a designated person to pick up. This application helps reduce the crowds at stores which are especially prevalent during COVID-19 and is an important step in containing national outbreaks.

What WeShop does

The application allows for people to scroll through store catalogs and compile their own individual shopping lists. Users are then able to complete their transactions by submitting their orders which will then be matched with the designated ‘shopper’ that will pick up the items requested. In the future, payments will automated from within the application using the PayPal API and funds are released to the shopper upon completing the order.

How we built it

Our backend is built and deployed on Google Cloud using pymongo. The MongoDB database maintains four collections: the users, carts, catalogues, and stores. We chose MongoDB due to its ability to efficiently handle large amounts of NoSQL data and seamlessly integrate into our hack . The frontend is built using a combination of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and React. We also used XCode to enhance the UI with glimpses of what the mobile application version of WeShop would look like.

Challenges we ran into

Our team faced challenges when connecting our backend work with our beautifully designed frontend user interface. We found it difficult to make sure they were interacting the way we wanted them to in order to guarantee that the user had a smooth experience. Additionally, we found it difficult to port our original HTML and CSS designs over to react and so we needed to change our original vision for the frontend. We also faced configuration issues when hosting the app. We had no previous experience with hosting, and it took us until the last minute to be able to see our working prototype in action. Despite that, we were able to work together and communicate in order to overcome these difficulties and produce a product that we were all satisfied with.

Accomplishments that we’re proud of

We’re very proud of the final product that we have to show for ourselves. Being able to produce a functional prototype with the time constraints was not easy, but fulfilling to say the least. Seeing the finished product validated all of the difficulties we had and our team did not regret making the mistakes we did. We’re also proud of the idea itself as we believe it truly has an important functionality, especially given today’s day and age. We firmly believe WeShop has a bright future, especially given our current unfortunate circumstances. WeShop has the ability to reduce crowds and potentially prevent people at risk for contamination from exposing themselves.

What we learned

As a team, we took away plenty from this project both in a technical and collaborative way. It was interesting to work with a new team and getting to know each other’s strengths and how to use them to our advantage. Additionally, we found ourselves having a lot of fun and working on the project as if it were a passion project, as opposed to a hackathon with a time crunch, which undoubtedly helped us focus on what was important. In a technical sense, we learned how to integrate different APIs, Google Cloud, and React.

What's next for WeShop?

WeShop has potential to expand in a multitude of different aspects that extend beyond COVID-19, but also in ways closely related to it. It has the potential to partner up with delivery services such as prime delivery in order to expand the store radius and diversity of products offered. Additionally, we can integrate authentication such as firebase and google integration in order to allow users to sync their social media accounts with the application for an easier, and more elder-friendly, time setting up a WeShop account. This also expands the possibility of introducing different payment methods such as Apple Pay, Venmo, upon other platforms. This application also has the potential to be an android and iOS application to make it more convenient for users to plan on the go.

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