Before starting I like to thanks the "CODEPROJECT" and "Intel" to provide all of us a great opportunity to showcase our app development skill on a global platform.
In next sections of the article I'm going to present my Idea (and the process of development of that same in future updates), of my unnamed app (App) for the contest named App Innovation Contest 2013 sponsored by Intel and hosted on CodeProject, for the Tablet platform and category Retail sector.
This app focused on to reduce the time to shop at local retail stores for the customers that prefer to shop at locations where they can physically check or try the item prior buying them, but opt for online store due to lack of time. [Targeted user base Indian Metro City's Youth Population and other globally population with same viewpoint or thinking.]
App will have two release one for customers and other for the store managers or owner.
Background and Targeted Users of app
The background for the striking of this app idea in my mind is due to the shopping habits, and preferences of the most of the Indian population.The majority of Indian customers give priority to those ways of purchasing where they can personally see, or try out the items before buying. Due to focusing on this behaviour of shopping main targeted user base is young Indian population (mainly from metro cities), but other user can also use this app, due to its features and user friendliness, as described further.
Description of features and functionality of App
As discussed above the is app focused on to reduce the time to shop at local retail stores for the customers that prefer to shop at locations where they can physically check or try the item prior buying them. Let us discuss further about more of the features App.
As you know that app will have two release one for customer's and other for the store manager's or owner's. We will discuss the customer's release first.
1.) NFC technology 1[see POI] :- Each product item will has NFC tag attached to it, that contains the unique product Id (PID). Please note that only one product of the same class has the tag, e.g only one Nike's xyz model of shoe has this tag and is place in the store's hall for customer to try. All other pieces are kept in the in storeroom. In same way one piece of all of the product classes are kept in the hall with NFC tag attached to all of them, and the remaining stock is kept in the storeroom.
Customer will tap their NFC enable tablet over the tag of item they likes to purchase. Doing this tablet will receives the PID via NFC communication. Then the app search that PID in the database, after that product is searched in database, it returns/show its details in product detail page of app, where user is asked to add the quantity they want to buy or to select other a new product and discard the current. After that app check whether the requested quantity available or not. If the there is enough stock of the product to complete the order, app will include the selected quantity of selected searched product to the shopping cart of the app. User can repeat this process as many time as they want to add more products. After user is done he goes to shopping cart page and choose checkout option. Then app will generate an Unique order Id(OID) in database and user can then either do payment from inside of the app by using stored payment method added by user in app, or if not he can do payment on counter by just tapping tablet against the NFC enable tablet installed with Owner/Manager app. Which act as payment processor or credit card processor.[see description in owner's version below] After order is completed, it details is saved to user phone in PDF/doc format and/or also sent to his email.(optional)
Whereas if the stock of product is less than the quantity requested by user app will show a dialog box to user which show currently available stock, and provide the user with option to either remove discard that item or to add the remaining stock to cart which is less than requested. After this user can continue the shopping as mentioned above.
Upon successful completion to transaction the customer left and collect his order which is already prepared, from the collection counter at storeroom near the exit of retail store by showing the screen of his tablet which is displaying his OID.
2.) Pen Accessory :- It is used to sign the credit card charged slip generated by owner's app.
1.) NFC technology 1[see POI] :- The owner app will able to add products and it details including purchased quantity to the database on cloud. After the new value is logged in the database app will fetch the PID of newly inserted record. Then the owner tap his/her tablet against the blank tag of new product, whose details are added in above process. Doing this will updates/writes the tag with the PID of new record. In same way he/she can also remove the products.
The quantity enter by the owner is the amount of stock of product available in storeroom initially, which will be updated after each sale is carried out.
This version also provide an option to add a payment processor for cash or for the credit cards payment (optional feature). For this the user(customer) has to select "checkout at counter" in the "checkout page" in their app. Then select either "by cash" or by "credit card" option in next page. If he selects the checkout
- by cash :- Customer has to tap his tablet with the tablet of owner which has owner's app installed. Doing this, customer's app send the OID to the owner's device, after which the owner's app fetch the details and the total shopping cart amount of the order from the database, with info that mode of payment is by cash. Customer pays the amount to the owner. Owner selects the order paid option in its app. Owner's app completes the transaction and generates a transaction ID (TID) in database. Then customer again tap the tablet, this time customer's fetch the TID and search it in database and upon success of query the order is marked as completed on the customer's end. This is done as an ensurement point of view for payment as these steps are need when the checkout is done by credit card. Now customer can go and collect his order from collection counter.
- By credit card :- Customer has to tap his tablet with the tablet of owner which has owner's app installed. Doing this, customer's app send the OID to the owner's device, after which the owner's app fetch the details and the total shopping cart amount of the order from the database, with info that mode of payment is by credit card. Customer pays the amount by swapping the credit card on card reader, and enters the pin. this will charges the customer's card and an TID is generated on Owner's app with a slip of transaction by credit card. This slip is sent to customer app after tapping in image form. Customer signs on the digital charge slip using the tablet's pen. The signed slip is stored in user's tablet and mailed to him as well. Another copy of slip is sent back to the owner's tablet. After this owners app automatically selected order paid option and completes the transaction and generates a transaction ID (TID) in database. Then customer again tap the tablet, this time customer's fetch the TID and search it in database and upon success of query the order is marked as completed on the customer's end. This is done as an ensurement of payment. Now customer can go and collect his order from collection counter.
Using the code and language used to develop
App will be developed using either VB.net(1st preference) or C#.net in Visual Studio 2012. App use the cloud services of Microsoft Azure (It is used to store the database on cloud). The language used is undecided as it depends on of ease of development found in particular language after completion of all pre-development work, and the availability of some addon in particular language. So at this point development language is a mystery, but it will be one of the two above.
Below will be the blocks of code.
// The code of app will be updated in future modifications of this article. with all open // source code addons.
Points of Interest
1 Initially I think of using the NFC technology, but after the update provided by Kevin Priddle this week regarding NFC unavailability in tablet SDP, if this is also a case with commercial release of tablet then, that NFC functionality can be replaced by QR codes.
In QR code version of app the tablet's camera scans a two dimensional barcode, called QR code, instead of tapping on a NFC tag. And also they are generated by different addon added to coding insted of just entering values in app and tapping against tag to write on it. But I'm going with NFC version as it was my original concept/idea for app.
21-aug-2013 :- Initial article posted (Private Post).
10-Sept-2013 :- i) Chosen as a Round 1 finalist.
ii) Article Posted as a public article.