The X Team at the Retail Hackathon Challenge

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Presenting to the judges: Kazi Ahmed, Lucas Zamboni, Bree Dorant, Nelson Ning and Edward Kao. Getting snacks: Daniel Ko & Lucie Jeffers


Our Team

“I liked working as a team and seeing how we help each other. (We also) learnt a lot more about how retail/shopping malls work. Creating that emotional connection is very important to get people going to certain places.” – Nelson Ning

Recently our team participated in the Oxford Retail Challenge Hackathon. It was a great experience, giving our team a deeper understanding of brick & mortar retail and how technology can be used to solve some of its challenges.


The Challenge

The hackathon challenge was: How can you leverage data and/or technology to optimize the retail experience?

We decided the elements of customer experience we wanted to address were the ease of parking, extending the experience beyond the mall, ease of way-finding and creating a joyful emotional connection to the mall.

We were given customer journey, parking and operational data for Yorkdale mall in order to complete the challenge.


Our Journey

During the hackathon we talked to Oxford’s retail experts and got a sense for what would be a feasible solution. We decided to create a customer loyalty app that made use of Yorkdale’s high-tech parking system and used machine learning to give customers personalized recommendations based on theirs and others purchase history.

Upon further discussion with Oxford’s experts we decided we wanted customers to use the app outside of the mall to drive adoption. We added in an outfit builder feature, complete with the latest trends from Yorkdales’ tenants.

Then it was time for a quick Foosball break:

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Lucas and Edward battling it out.


Finally we decided the app should create an emotional connection between Yorkdale and the customer so that customers would see Yorkdale as their only shopping destination. To do this, we introduced the Pet Cafe and Spa – connecting customers’ love of shopping with their love for their pets.

“(It was great to) see our ideas become something tangible and the enjoyment on judges faces!” – Lucas Zamboni

We presented in a science-fair style setup to the judges, who were really enthusiastic about our app and the pet cafe in particular.


The Result

“(The best part was) the fun of meeting new people, the thrill of creating new things and most importantly learning new things, quickly.” – Kazi Ahmed

We had a great time and prototyped an awesome app in just two days. In addition, we met some great people and got to see and participate in true innovation in action.

See our working prototype below:


Many thanks to the team and all those who supported us before & during the hackathon!

Bree is the Data Visualisation Specialist at Project X. She likes working with users to create engaging and useful data visualisations that do not include pie charts.

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