Apptentive Partners With Sears To Host Retail Hackathon Weekend
Last weekend, the Sears Retail Hackathon was held at Startup Hall on Washington University’s campus in Seattle, WA. We were excited to have the opportunity to sponsor the event in conjunction with Brand Garage and Apigee.
There were 70 individual participants in the hackathon. Some formed teams, while others took on the challenge solo. A number of Sears’s APIs were available for teams to use, including Product Search, Product Detail, Top Sellers, Deals, Store Information, and Local Inventory. All teams were required to use at least one Sears API. In addition to Sears’s APIs, participants had access to Apigee’s API and Apptentive’s SDK.
After a weekend of hacking, teams demoed their projects to a panel of judges on Sunday, including Andy Chu, DVP, Mobile & Community Experiences of Sears Holdings; Brian Fling, Co-Founder & Desinger at Opus; Edward Schmit, Executive Director at AT&T Mobility; Aya Zook, Principal of Microsoft Ventures; and Robi Ganguly, our CEO. The judging criterion was based on Audience Engagement (35%), Challenge (25%), Feasibility (25%), and Originality (15%). The stakes were high with $20K in cash and resources up for grabs. To put the cherry on top, startups that participated had the opportunity to gain Sears as a customer. That’s a huge opportunity!
Team Sears Adventure Safari was the lucky winner of a Craftsman ToolSet for the best use of the Apptentive’s SDK. Their vision was to build brand consideration for Sears by using games to target 30 and under customers. The game they demoed to judges requires the user to log onto Facebook, which allows a personalized greeting to welcome the customer, offering a more customized experience. The customer then ‘Chooses Their Own Adventure’ by choosing which location they want to go to (beach, mountains, safari, etc.), what they want to do there (sing, dance, boating, etc.), and which product brand they prefer (Samsung, Apple, GoPro, etc.). A short, visual story is shared with the user based on their choices. To enhance the experience and fun, the customer has the ability to share the story they created on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and text message.
Unboxed was the heavyweight champ, taking home $10k for their creative project. Labeled “Vine for Unboxing Videos,” Unboxed allows customers to record themselves opening their shiny new Sears products for the world to see. Intelligently, the Unboxed team integrated a “Buy Now” button so inspired viewers can purchase the items they see being unboxed directly. The Unboxed team visualizes a loyalty program being integrated with their app as well, allowing customers to earn Sears Rewards Points for posting videos of themselves with their new merchandise.
It’s inspiring what these teams were able to build in such a short amount of time. There was no shortage of creative and innovative ideas at the Sears Retail Hackathon. Hosting and sponsoring events that gets the local tech community involved with your technology on an intimate level breeds excitement about your product, and builds a stronger community at the same time. Win-win.
Congratulations to the winners!