What Happens When You Make SSG Do An Ecommerce Hackathon - With Demos

“Sorry what are we doing?”

SSG’s first ever competitive appjam is cranking up the pressure like an EU Brexit negotiator. Palms are sweating, knuckles are cracking, keys are tapping.


Niall on team “Paradigm Strategisers” has just realised he’s not 100% sure about their concept for an AR billboard. Perhaps the beef sliders at lunch are getting to him, or the hot-housing intimacy of Meeting Room 2.

Meanwhile team “Chosen Ones” are exploiting children to build their idea: influencer marketing for the gaming industry.

girls can code

Team 3 are doing their appjam on cooperative marketing at the kitchen table, which also happens to be Matt’s mojito station. Matt believes in the 1:1 rum/sugar ratio.

There were just three hours remaining in the hackathon. We’d organised it to try out extreme ideas for things such as AR, and to give the creativity a direction we’d challenged ourselves to develop something for our Add To Basket product (more info below), which turns digital content into shoppable adverts, one click and the object is added to the user’s basket in their retailer of choice. We wanted to take it to the next level in terms of ingenuity, usefulness, and resource. Hence the mojitos.

so many hackathons crow about the technical achievements of the teams, but still give first prize to whoever oiled a slick pitch

All three teams would be pitching to SSG’s guest judges, both highly esteemed and respected ecommerce professionals, and most importantly, both called Joe. Joe Scarboro of 3Beards/Unicorn Hunt and more recently Touch Paper, and Joe Comiskey, Head of eCommerce at Unilever UK.

The Joes would be judging using the strict criteria of originality, commercial opportunity and use of tech/build progression. The latter is the most important to us because so many hackathons crow about the technical achievements of the teams, but still give first prize to whoever oiled a slick pitch rather than hammered a sturdy demo. We wanted to reward substance over style.

To that end, we’d picked the teams to have a balance of skills from across SSG. The sum is greater than the parts, and no one wants a homogenous team of polar bears fighting a homogenous team of sharks, much more fun to shake up the teams and then add killer bees to the mix.

Pitching kicked off:

image alt text

All three ideas had strengths, The Chosen Ones’ idea benefited from the fact that the gaming industry is the most underrated commercial opportunity. The sale of gaming hardware alone matches worldwide movie box office receipts, and The Chosen Ones’ idea related to an influencer platform to share the revenues. We’ll be examining this industry, and the others, in more depth in upcoming blogs.

Similarly, Team Lisboa’s platform also serves an underrated industry, 95% of cooperative marketing exists only offline, and with the whole cake worth $200 billion, it’s time computers got in on the action.

One of the reasons why they haven’t yet has been the complexities and processes necessary for two blockbuster brands such as Asda and Nivea to create, pay for, and sign off on, cooperative online ads. Lisboa’s platform aimed to solve all that. Here’s Luke explaining part of the demo with his brand new t-shirt on:

Team Lisboa

Then the AR billboard by the Paradigm Strategisers team really stepped up the demo game. In just one afternoon, they put together this working demo:

ShopAR Demo

The camera recognises the advert, shows the Add To Basket button in blue, then in one click the user is taken to choose a retailer such as Tesco, and from then on they use that retailer exactly how they would normally. From paper advert to basket review takes two clicks. We’ll be showing how they made it in an upcoming blog too.

Then, with all teams pitched, we cast our votes like this:

The Teams Vote

Obviously not voting for ourselves at the same time.

The Joes went and deliberated in private while we had a beer:

The Joes Deliberate

And the winner was… The Chosen Ones!

The Chosen Ones Win

They’d found an innovative new use for our Add To Basket, turning it into a money-spinner for gaming influencers on Twitch, and built a user journey demo to prove its technical viability.

The Joes praised all our ideas, ideas which we would never have thought of - or demo-ed - without the structure of an appjam. It’s days like these which prise us from our personalised office chairs, chisel open our hypothalami, and get us proactively rather than reactively thinking. Creativity is a mindset, and just like gym classes, it needs schedules and training.

So The Chosen Ones won their Amazon vouchers. At the end of the day though, who was the real winner? Love and friendship!

Have a prezzie, Joes, thanks for judging us, you lovely friends you:

Joes Get Presents

Then we cracked out some more cold ones with the lads and ladies. Well done guys

Congratulatory clapping

We will be doing more appjams and projects soon, follow us on Twitter to get the new releases.

*More info on our Add To Basket ecommerce product right here, it’s a pdf: add to basket pdf

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