How Will Blockchain Technology Affect Retail?
Many retail companies are jumping on the blockchain train, adding the technology to ensure a greater level of security, thus boosting trust among consumers and clients. The incorporation of blockchain, a distributed ledger technology that records and stores transactional data in decentralized “blocks”, is being utilized more and more by retail companies to resolve common issues that have plagued the industry for years. Blockchain is primarily known as the backbone of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. However, in recent years, it’s been adopted as a solution that increases trust and authenticity in a wide range of industries.
Who Is Implementing Blockchain?
Walmart is now using blockchain. The mega-retailer announced the adoption of blockchain as a supply chain management tool back in September of 2018, a result of the E. Coli outbreak that swept the nation from contaminated romaine lettuce in the spring of last year. Walmart is working alongside IBM to create a blockchain tracking system that would pinpoint the exact location of where a contaminated product came from. This gives Walmart an advantage over thousands of other grocer’s and market’s whose products may not need to meet the same requirements to be put up on their store shelves.
While Walmart is using blockchain as a means of improving and ensuring product quality, American Express is using the technology to reinvent retail loyalty programs. In May of 2018, Amex launched a blockchain for membership rewards, allowing retailers to attach rewards to specific products they may want to move off the shelf faster. The distributed ledger gives merchants the ability to add Amex rewards to their own products and advertise these rewards without creating their own loyalty program from the ground up.
Secure And Transparent Retail
Aside from the already proven benefit of using blockchain as a means of storing data securely, it is improving retail in a number of other ways as well. The technology will generate more revenue for retailers by identifying counterfeit and fraudulent goods and transactions prior to exchange. This gives the consumer peace of mind to shop freely online or in-store without the fear of being bamboozled, leaving both the retailer and the consumer with their dignity.
The everyday consumer is rapidly evolving. The convenience of e-commerce has lured many shoppers away from traditional retail, leaving owners in a position where they must provide something new and unique. Emerging tech like augmented reality and artificial intelligence will play a major role in empowering retailers to deliver memorable experiences. That said, blockchain will also make a large impact, especially when it comes to supply chain, loyalty rewards programs, and mobile payments.
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…and don’t forget to check out our past blog entries on how technology is transforming retail and how coworking is empowering that technological transformation!