Many small businesses across Switzerland face the challenge of having their shops closed with no system in place for online shopping and delivery. The situation pushes many SME into financial hardship and substantially reduces consumer spending.

What it does

We developed a platform enabling small businesses to create an online storefront, as well as benefiting from and contributing to a smart delivery system. By incentivizing commerces to contribute to the delivery, a viable alternative is created, allowing small vendors to sell their products online, without needing their own IT and delivery infrastructure.

How I built it

We built an online storefront platform using woocommerce, which is itself based on wordpress. Busineses can register and easily set up their own online store and directly start selling to customers. Customers can browse individual stores, as if they went shopping in person but can also search for a product across all stores if they wish to do so. In the background orders, inventory etc are fed into airtable, from which they can be converted and forwarded to routific. Routific then finds the optimal route for picking up and delivering all the products and returns the route to the vendors. Vendors are incentivized to deliver for the entire community of businesses by earning the delivery fees of all products delivered, even the ones from the other stores.

Challenges I ran into

Many essential online tools turn out to be very expensive, we had to search for open source alternatives or use the free trial versions.  Often, things that seem simple to implement turn out to be quite challenging.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We are very proud to have created a functional prototype of our platform, despite strict time and financial constraints. Additionally we are proud to have created an integrative concept, where we fell that we have created a win-win situation for all stakeholders.

What I learned

It was a great experience for all of us to work with many motivated people on such an inspirational project. It is surprising what can be achieved in such a brief time. In addition to this, we all have learnt a great deal on how to implement webservices and using tools which we previously did not know.

What's next for MarchaLocal

MarchaLocal is a project that has a lot going for it in the future. It is urgently necessary during the corona outbreak, but could remain an essential tool in ensuring competitiveness of local shops for long beyond that timeframe. The success will depend largely on funding and onboarding progress.

Try It out



airtable, json, python, routific, woocommerce

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