Blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin, has potential far beyond cryptocurrency. It could even revolutionise retail. Writing exclusively for RetailTechNews, Cesare Gussago, Riccardo Ottolenghi, and Edmund Abel-Smith, strategy experts with PA Consulting Group, have a look at a number of potential applications to see how retailers and customers stand to benefit.
Blockchain makes the supply chain transparent
As supply chains become increasingly complex, a lack of accountability, transparency and real-time monitoring can create problems for retailers. But the unique nature of blockchain could make supply chains fully traceable.
Provenance, for example, uses blockchain to track a product through every step of the supply chain in real time. With such potential already on show, from global conglomerates to small-scale SMEs, companies like Walmart, Air New Zealand, and fashion designer Martine Jarlgaard are developing similar technology to improve their processes.
Retailers will clearly benefit from such transparency and accountability, as well as the inevitable efficiencies. Just imagine how easily the horse meat scandal of 2013 would have been avoided if blockchain tech had been used in the supply chain.
Customers will also benefit
It’s not just retailers who will gain from blockchain, customer journeys will also be improved. Blockchain’s transparency offers an alternative to the expensive, and increasingly inefficient, ways businesses currently build trust.
We’ve seen this in action at Block Verify. The company works with makers of pharmaceuticals, luxury goods, and electronics to certify products, helping customers ensure what they buy is genuine and even letting them trace stolen merchandise.
Loyalty is being transformed by blockchain too. Loyyal is a universal loyalty and rewards platform, built with blockchain and smart contract technology. It was developed to enhance the relationship network between customers and merchants, enabling dynamic, multi-branded loyalty systems.
Blockchain certainly has a lot of potential for customer experience; and it’s clear the technology has the power to seriously disrupt how people interact with retailers in the future.
How does blockchain affect your business?
Blockchain technology is already disrupting the way many companies do business; and the retail industry should get ready. Ask yourself, do your plans include the disruptive potential of blockchain? Have you got a strategy to improve customer experience and operational processes using blockchain? Have you thought about developing blockchain-based products?
If you haven’t already discussed these questions, do so. Thinking about blockchain’s potential and devoting resources to the incubation of ideas now will make things easier in the future.