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12 ideas to power your hackathon project



Stuck on what to build for The Future of Code: A Gadget Hackathon? We’ve got you covered.




12 ideas to power your hackathon project

Mo Hashemi
May 9, 2023

The Gadget hackathon is fast approaching! If you’re eager to join but need some inspiration or ideas to help you decide what to build, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re looking to try your hand at checkout extensibility, or take Node 18 for a spin as you leverage LangChain to build AI apps, here are 12 ideas to help you jump into the competition. 

Some of these might sound challenging to build in less than a week, but with Gadget taking care of so much of the webhook management, OAuth, database setup, and other boilerplate, it’s more than possible.

Automated sales clerk

Generative AI gets better every day. An app that connects buyers to an AI-powered sales clerk to help them purchase the right product for their needs could be a great way to help merchants provide an ultra-personalized experience, while increasing sales. 

AI blog post generator

Customers often want to do more research or comparisons on products than what is on the listing before they buy them, but content creation takes time. An app for AI-generated content that incorporates product images, descriptions, and reviews to automatically write and publish blog posts and case studies can bridge that gap.

Product photo editor

One of the biggest time sinks for creating new product listings can be making sure new product images are consistent across a product line. An app to help correct things like angles and lighting to make sure every product looks the same would be a life saver for a lot of merchants.

Filter for fraud

Fraud Filter is a widely used app that many merchants rely on to alert them when orders are placed by certain buyers they want to block. Unfortunately, the app allows orders to go through, then refunds the fraudulent ones, which create downstream challenges for merchants. A fraud app that leverages extensions and Functions to block the checkout from going ahead would solve the unaddressed challenges left by Fraud Filter.

Real-time inventory locator

Enterprise brands that distribute their products through local retailers (e.g. Walmart) often want to show their website visitors where these products are offered, and whether they are in stock. Using a combination of ChatGPT and web scrapers, you can now build an accurate real-time inventory locator that can quickly scan a retail partner’s website and verify that the inventory is available for sale. 

AI-generated product backgrounds

Build an AI-powered app that generates backgrounds for product images. Allow merchants to instantly generate and apply custom backgrounds to their product photography for special events and occasions (e.g. Christmas-themed background). 

Free shipping program

People love getting free shipping with Amazon Prime. Why not make it easy for merchants to recreate the experience for their regular customers? Build an app that offers a program to prepay for shipping for a certain amount of time (e.g. $30 for a year of shipping), providing free shipping on any orders made during that period. 

Frequently-bought-together reports

While Shopify’s built-in reporting functionality is a great start, it leaves many business questions, like “which of my products are purchased alongside one another”, unanswered. Build a custom report to help merchants understand which products are often purchased together. The insights from this report will help them build new product bundles, and offer the right product upsells on their website.

Cross-shop product synchronization

A challenge plaguing many multi-region brands is a way to synchronize product and inventory data across multiple regional locations, each represented by a separate Shopify store. Shopify Markets solves this for a lot of brands, but isn’t supported in all countries. A product information management (PIM) solution to synchronize products and inventory across multiple regional stores for a brand would be a great app for the hackathon.

Pricing regulations display

EU merchants are required to display the lowest price from the last 30 days on product details pages. It would be easy to create an app that automatically tracks prices, and updates based on the requirements, and it would save EU merchants a bit of headache.

VAT validator

Taxes might not be exciting, but they’re definitely necessary. VAT collection and verification can be a nuisance for EU merchants. An app that leverages checkout extensions to collect and verify VAT IDs would save merchants a lot of manual busywork.

Pre-sale upsell

Checkout UI extensions are easy to build, and an intelligent checkout pre-sale product suggestion app would be a great introduction to building them. Your app could identify and suggest products the buyer is more likely to add to cart, either based on trends from other buyers, or previous purchase history.

If none of these have helped you come up with ideas to build, remember there will be five prize categories for the event: Best overall project, best use of AI, most technically impressive, best use of checkout UI extensions, and best use of Shopify Functions. Ultimately, the hackathon is meant to be a time for developers to try new things and have fun – we hope you build whatever you think will be interesting to you.

If you’re looking for feedback or help throughout the week of the hackathon, you can join the conversation over on our Discord.

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