Hacking the future of Shopping

For 48 hours, Technopark became the epicenter of Swiss innovation.

Retail hasn’t changed much in the past 100 years and brick and mortars still represent more than 93% of where people spend their money. However, retail is not immune to disruption. Technology is already having a profound impact on how people shop pushing retailers to amplify their use of technology to build more convenient and personalized shopping experiences.

For the second time, Valora was thrilled to participate in HackZurich in partnership with Scandit and Siroop. The goal was to challenge the attendees to create the future of commerce using the latest technologies. In typical Hackathon fashion, the event brought together more than 550 participants, including developers, graphic designers, and interface designers.

Hackers worked tirelessly to transform their ideas into working prototypes in less than 40 hours. Thanks to HackZurich’s fantastic organization, hackers could also network, get a massage, learn from tech talks, and of course, eat a lot of pizza! For most of the participants, the last night was extremely short as they had to submit their projects before 9:00AM on Sunday.

To our delight, more than 19 teams submitted a prototype related to retail and came to our booth to present their work.

  • JustGlass: using a smile detection camera, customers get thanked with a coupon for being friendly.
  • DUF A4: app to crowdsource grocery shopping if you don’t have time to go to the shop.
  • Check&out: self checkout app with a focus on fraud prevention.
  • Scan dal: digitalisation of the receipts with a QR Code.
  • Habitr: using beacon technology, be rewarded for having healthy habits.
  • AAAAAAB: app to help customers find products at the store.
  • Will it fit: try it virtually before you buy it.
  • Selfie ID: facial recognition to finalize online orders.
  • Music Mashup: be the DJ of your store. Suggest, choose and rate music.
  • Chuchi: app to ask people already at the store to buy something for you.
  • Colorful Alpacas: food hunter app.
  • Scout: using beacon technology, smart shopping list that pings you when you walk by a shop that has a product on your list.
  • Maybi: wharehouse management app that tells you when food is about to expire.
  • Play Kids Vendino: facial recognition vending machine with a focus on food education.
  • Phygital Spheres: using Microsoft Hololens, it helps you find the products that you can afford.

The workshop jury elected Check&Out as the best prototype of the weekend. We particularly appreciated that they came up with a simple and clever solution to accelerate the shopping experience at our stores and preventing fraud. Congratulations to the team!

“As one of the European leading retailers, we want people to know that retail is an industry that offers unique challenges and opportunities. We were pleased to see strong interest from the hackers for building digital shopping experiences from the ground up”. Hilmar Scheel — Head Valora Lab

We would like to thank all the hackers that participated in HackZurich and made this event a unique learning experience for all of us. We hope participants had fun sharing ideas and solving retail challenges. We’re looking forward to the next hack!