The Sears Retail Hackathon was an event held by the Sears’ API team in order to help get developers acquainted with their new api and its abilities. The main objective of the hackathon was to get developers to create apps that could help enhance the customer experience when doing business with Sears whether it be inside or outside of the retail locations. The main focus was using the Sears API to bring this new customer experience.
I was there representing Mashery (pictured here alongside my colleagues Amit, Beerinder and Rishi), who sponsored a prize for the best use of Mashery integration in an app.
The weekend-long Sears Retail Hackathon kicked off last weekend at the SoHo WeWork location with a reception for the hackers and sponsors. This two hour reception was meant to be a time where the hackers could come and meet the sponsors and organizers and get acquainted with them before they got down to business when it came time to hack. The event seemed to be really well received.
On Friday, during business hours, teams could reserve a thirty-minute block of time in which they could talk one-on-one with the Sears organizers and seek help with brainstorming ideas or looking into a strategy for implementing any ideas they came in with.
Hacking took off Saturday morning and was started off with some encouraging words from the Sears’ API team. The energy of the event was different than other hackathons that I have been to in the past, instead of people scrambling for ideas and spending the early hours deliberating, most groups seemed to come in with a clear idea and plan on how to tackle this idea the majority of the room had already begun working.
With a large portion of the hackers being startups with an established direction, not many tech questions were asked aside from general help with debugging weird issues. There were a handful of people working to include Mashery APIs into their projects, so while walking around I was able to help a few people and even took note of a group who was developing their app using the Intel XDK. The event itself did not have a rule that required all of the hacking to take place in the WeWork location, so a number of groups left to work from a more comfortable location during the later hours of the day.
Sunday morning most groups appeared to be ready to present and were polishing their apps. A few groups that I had not seen throughout the entire weekend came in to present, which was something I was not used to as someone who only attends collegiate hackathons. I spent the morning hours helping developers debug until it was time to present.
The Mashery prize was a set of Supaboy consoles and Poweradd Apollo portable solar panel powered chargers. The prize was given to the best use of Mashery integration in your app. PartPic’s app that allowed for visual lookup of parts using the Sears Parts API and their own technology that their startup has been working on was the winner of the Mashery prize, as their entire project was built on top of the Intel XDK.
The overall prize given out by Sears was broken down into two parts. There was a $10k prize for the best use of the Sears API by a startup and $5k for the best use by an individual. The startup prize went to a startup by the name of Benbria with an app named Loop that kept in contact with you as time went on after you left a review for an item and would ask you keep updating the review in regular intervals until a years time has passed so that your review can be an accurate account of your experience with the item.
The individual prize went to BabySpace. The app was used to buy baby products through Sears after answering a questionnaire about your child. After a product was bought using the app, the app would keep track of your email and the age of your child and would email you whenever your child has grown into a new age group and would suggest new products to buy based on the child’s current age and gender.
Overall the event was a great success as many developers were able to gain exposure to the new Sears API and others were able to integrate Mashery APIs into their own projects. On behalf of Mashery I want to thank Sears for throwing such a great event and the developers who came out and built such great apps.