Blockchain for Retailers: What Are The Blockchain Applications And Blockchain Uses in Retail?

Can retailers use blockchain? The hype around blockchain is refusing to die down. Each and every day, we hear about more and more companies using blockchain technology. Blockchain technology is not just limited to a single industry. It is spread across various different industries. One industry which it is definitely revolutionizing is the retail industry. You might think how blockchain technology can help the retailers. The truth is that blockchain technology is helping retailers increase customer engagement. This would ensure that the sales of the retailers are able to increase as well.

Blockchain technology is the decentralized ledger which is processed with the help of various users who lend their processing power. The main advantage of blockchain technology is that the data is secure and it can be processed in real-time. This reduces the requirement of a significant amount of IT infrastructure. The scaling up is quite easy as well. The only downside is that the transactions are irrevocable and cannot be reversed at any cost.

Blockchain opportunity for retailers:

Blockchain technology can enable retailers to process millions of transactions without having to invest in IT infrastructure. Moreover, it can significantly reduce the transaction processing cost for the retailers. This would ultimately benefit the consumers as the retailers would pass on the benefits to the consumers. This is just one of the advantages of the blockchain technology being used by retailers.

Customer engagement:

The main opportunity of blockchain technology for retailers is in the customer engagement field. There are plenty of start-ups in the blockchain technology which upload information about the consumers as well as consumer buying habits on the blockchain. The retailers would be able to easily access this information. Moreover, whenever the retailers are able to get repeat consumers, they would be able to access the previous buying habits of these consumers on the blockchain. This would ensure that they are able to offer the customers, most targeted products. Once they are able to do that, you can be sure that not only the customer engagement would increase but also the conversion rate of the customers would increase significantly. This would take the business of the retailers to all the level. They would be able to earn more revenue per customer. (Source: forbes)

As a result, blockchain technology is not just beneficial for the financial as well as banking industry but also it is beneficial for the retailers as well if used in the right way. The benefits of blockchain technology are plenty as well.

How is Blockchain Changing The Retail Sector?

Blockchain isn’t just having an impact on B2B sectors; it’s becoming increasingly visible and influential in the B2C industries too.

Among the first industries to embrace the use of Blockchain technology, the retail sector has already discovered several practical applications of recording transactions in a Blockchain system. These include everything from ensuring the authenticity of high-value products such as diamonds and art to locating stolen goods and protecting both customers and sellers from fraudulent transactions.

Frank Yiannas, Walmart’s Vice President of Food Safety, explains how Walmart can track food products through its supply chain using the IBM Blockchain Platform.

Blockchain benefits in retail according to aciworldwide.com:

1. Transparency is of increasing importance to consumers. Provenance is a platform that helps brands provide that transparency by tracing the origins and histories of products. Consumers could trace the seafood they eat from boat to plate. Or verify that the wool sweater they just bought came from sheep that are humanely treated. Blockchain underpins this transparency, allowing all parties—supplier, manufacturer, retailer and end consumer—to trace a product’s journey.

2. Reducing counterfeit goods has been a problem that has plagued manufacturers and retailers for years. Block Verify is a blockchain-based anti-counterfeiting solution for pharmaceuticals, luxury items, diamonds, and electronics. Goods can be certified with blockchain’s digital ledger record, which mean that stolen merchandise can also be more easily recorded.

3. Warranties are often problematic for consumers. A growing number of consumer-focused companies are already using Warranteer, a service that moves product warranties from paper onto the cloud via blockchain, keeping them up-to-date and easily transferable. Consumers are able to maintain a virtual warranty wallet, saving retailers and manufacturers administrative work.

4. Supply chain modernization has been talked about in the industry for many years. Wave, still in testing, has targeted the global supply chain, hoping to modernize the receipt of cargo for shipment (import bills of lading or BoLs) with blockchain. The company has created a peer-to-peer and completely decentralized network that connects all parties of the international trading supply chain. Using decentralized technologies, all communication between these parties will be direct, eliminating the need for them to pass through a specific central entity. Connecting all members of a supply chain to the decentralized blockchain allows for a direct exchange of documents between them, solving one of the shipping industry’s largest problems.

Walmart, IBM and Tshingsu University started working together in October 2016 to explore food supply chain traceability and authenticity using blockchain technology. The project comes as Walmart announced its new Food Safety Collaboration Center in Beijing.

Their goal is to improve the way food is tracked, transported and sold to consumers across China, harnessing the power of blockchain technology designed to generate transparency and efficiency in supply chain record-keeping.

Tags: blockchain in consumer goods, blockchain applications in retail, blockchain use cases in supply chain, smart contracts in retail, blockchain job opportunities, blockchain in fmcg, retail blockchain startups, blockchain uses in retail

Photo Credit: Medium @cryptoname

Carolyn Coley is a blockchain reporter. She joined Smartereum after graduating from UC Berkeley in 2018.

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