The retail industry was doing fantastic before 2020. But then the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe, forcing many brick-and-mortar shops to close down, disrupting supply chains and hindering sales. Suddenly, businesses faced enormous challenges regarding the safety of their employees and customers. And guess who managed to thrive during the crisis? Companies that embraced blockchain technology. E-commerce giants like Walmart and Amazon took the lead and demonstrated how blockchain technology uses have a lot to offer to retail businesses. Its innovative nature can help with data storage, contracts, payments, supply chain management, etc. So if you want to digitize and grow your retail business during these uncertain times, it’s time to start integrating blockchain into your systems. And you can start by checking out this guide, where we’ll cover all the essentials of using blockchain in retail. Sounds good? Here we go.
Loyalty Programs – Now via Blockchain Technology
Loyalty programs where people collect points that can exchange for products and services are an excellent way for retail businesses to keep their customers engaged. But unfortunately, these programs get targeted by fraudsters pretty often. One way to reduce the intrusions is to record the contractual agreements in a distributed ledger, a.k.a., blockchain. In a nutshell, it means that every transaction has public “witnesses” since the database gets simultaneously shared between various institutions, websites, etc. Plus, each transaction in the database gets time-stamped. All that makes it easier to secure the transactions.
But what about blockchain technology’s advantages to regular consumers? Most people give up loyalty programs because it takes too much time to collect enough points for a reward. Luckily, blockchain enables users to redeem their reward points immediately because it streamlines the trade-offs across several programs and retailers.
Accepting Payments in Crypto
Already in 2014, Overstock, an American online retailer, began taking Bitcoin as payment. Flash forward to 2021, and both big and small retailers are experimenting with various cryptocurrency payments. However, because of the high volatility of cryptocurrencies (the price can suddenly go up or drop significantly), most retailers are sticking with traditional payment methods. But a forward-thinking entrepreneur can see the enormous untapped potential here. Accommodating people who are comfortable using blockchain technology and cryptocurrency can open up additional lucrative revenue streams. So if you’re willing to experiment, it’s pretty simple to start accepting virtual money in your business. All you need to do is find a service that provides a “pay with Bitcoin” button to your checkout page. Coinbase, Coingate, and CoinsBank are some of the most reputable gateways.
Tracking the Supply Chain via Blockchain
Blockchain in retail businesses is used most often in tracking products in the supply chain. Transparency of the supply chain is essential to modern consumers, regardless of the niche of products. In 2021, everybody’s concerned about where their products come from and whether the manufacturing follows ethical principles. If you can not provide information about the origin of your items, your customers will very likely get a similar product from your competitor. Plus, in the world of luxury goods, a transparent supply chain serves as proof that the product is not counterfeit. So what’s the easiest way to get started with tracking your products via blockchain technology of the future? You can try out the Amazon managed Blockchain. It’s a service that enables you to start building your blockchain network without having to think about its overhead. And the cool thing is that as you increase the number of applications in the network, Amazon scales the network automatically.
Blockchain Is Making Shopping Plans More Convenient to Consumers
Every consumer values convenience. And the blockchain technology world with smart contracts and an added layer of security is perfect for pleasing the ever-growing demands of shoppers. Here’s an example: let’s say someone is looking for Christmas presents for a whole family. Blockchain technology companies can help the person set up a project via smart contracts. Each gift-wish would be a separate element in the project, and retailers could submit their offers for each gift. Once the consumer picks the products, smart contracts would manage all the details about payments and shipment. After making the purchases, the customer could just lay back and wait for the packages to arrive. Just imagine the competitive edge you would gain by providing your clients with such projects.
Product Contracts With Blockchain
Smart contracts are also helpful in raising the efficiency among suppliers. You can use them to set up product contracts that establish milestones with payment promises for fulfilling a step in the supply chain. Why is that kind of arrangement good? Because it gives the suppliers a good reason to speed up their delivery. At the same time, they need to keep a high-quality standard. All that allows retailers to reduce some of their supply chain costs and increase the overall profits.
What Exactly Are Smart Contracts
By now, you’re probably wondering, what are the smart contracts? You can think of them as a software program that can activate specific events automatically. For example, winning in no deposit slots win real money online casinos could set off an instant payout. Plus, smart contracts that use blockchain to validate agreements specify who can take action on a particular sort of data. For example, it would make sense that only the receiver can report a serial number mismatch. The sender can not do that.
Blockchain Protects Against Hackers
The businesses in retail handle a lot of money every day and have become frequent targets to hackers. Cybercriminals may try to steal money from companies, but it’s even worse when they get their hands on a client’s sensitive data. Such occasions damage the reputation of the company. As a result, the company can lose many of its clients, and the revenues may drop. In worse cases, a data breach could drive an organization out of business. But thanks to blockchain technology’s ability to guard and maintain cybersecurity, we can feel safer again. It makes security breaches impossible because data gets distributed across a network of computers. The records’ accuracy gets verified frequently, so any attempts to hack the system will be detected and stopped immediately.
Bitcoin can help you overcome many challenges in retail businesses. The novel technology can boost your loyalty programs, get you additional clients who would enjoy paying in cryptocurrencies, protect you against hackers, and much more. And the best part is that wherever we employ various blockchain solutions, it has the potential to speed up the business processes and increase your revenue. So start integrating blockchain into your business this year. There are enormous amounts of opportunities in the crypto world. Trust us: if you look back on it 20 years from now, it will seem like an excellent decision. Blockchain is the future for retail businesses.
What are some blockchain technology risks people should know? Or is the distributed ledger completely hacker-proof? Share your thoughts in the comments.
About the Author
Chris Delgado is an online entrepreneur and a crypto-enthusiast. He loves the transparency blockchain solutions offer to business processes and plans to develop a blockchain-based platform for his next eCommerce shop.