The Many Advantages to Retail Adopting Blockchain

By now you’ve heard the buzz about blockchain and how it is predicted to revolutionize the way business runs.

But just in case the topic is new to you, think of a digital ledger of fiscal transactions that will record anything of value and has the ability to ensure the data cannot be corrupted.  Let’s repeat… the data CANNOT be corrupted. Being in the business of keeping data secure, I like the sound of that.

Blockchain is still in its infancy when it comes to real-world use cases. If you like coffee, you’ll appreciate this interesting case study I wrote about last year explaining how one day you’ll be tipping the farmer who made your morning Joe possible.

This example demonstrates how blockchain could potentially overhaul standard business practices in every industry. It was successful because it provided supply chain transparency, making the coffee’s journey trackable at every step.  It was executed utilizing machine vision, AI and the Internet of Things, combined with blockchain technology.

So, what does blockchain mean for retailers?

Just as with the coffee example, there are many benefits for retail when it comes to supply chain tracking, which helps to assure the authenticity of goods.

Blockchain will make tracking shipments so much easier:

  • Every stage of a product’s journey will have real-time tracking about each handler ­– leading to fewer stolen, lost or damaged goods.
  • Suppliers could track temperature and humidity during the shipping journey.
  • Faster recall for unsafe products or foodborne illnesses.
  • Potential to greatly reduce shipping paperwork, thereby reducing operational costs.

Blockchain will overhaul incentives:

When it comes to saving a buck or two, consumers who redeem coupons are still relying heavily on paper coupons because they are easy to use. Over 90% of the more than 300 billion coupons issued annually are paper; this keeps paper on top as the number one form of coupon redeemed.

Coupon users yearn for a simple, hassle-free experience: one in which a digital coupon can be loaded on their cell phone and instantly redeemed anywhere they choose to shop. This has been a major challenge across many markets.

When the retail industry is able to adopt blockchain, it will break down barriers, propelling the use of digital coupons. The next generation of incentive platforms will no doubt use blockchain as a key component to make digital coupons seem effortless.

Blockchain will also be able to provide transparency for incentives – providing accountability and security for manufacturers, retailers and consumers. This transparency will help retailers fight coupon fraud because every transaction will involve real-time transmission, resulting in authentication that will remove the lag times and disconnected data that currently allows for fraudulent coupon use.

By cleaning up antiquated processes in this new blockchain world, retailers will get paid faster and provide them with more working capital that is currently caught up in an outdated clearing process that dates back to more than 50 years ago.

For Brands: Blockchain has the potential to free up marketing dollars that are currently being spent on logistics and clearing methods, while greatly improving authentication and security. By instituting new incentive platforms utilizing blockchain, brands will be more likely to create interesting cross-merchandising and loyalty programs instead of a few cents off here and there.

Seems like a win-win for all!