With this article I am progressing towards the last chapter of my upcoming book named
Footfall.in – Know Your Smart Shopper.
Let us understand the two words Blockchain & CryptoCurrency. As wiki says a Blockchain – originally block chain – is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block typically contains a hash pointer as a link to a previous block, a time-stamp and transaction data. By design, Blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data.
A Blockchain can serve as “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. For use as a distributed ledger, a Blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which needs a collusion of the network majority.
Image Source : https://spectator.imgix.net
Further to understand Crypto Currency , let us see wiki which says a CryptoCurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency. Crypto currencies are classified as a subset of digital currencies and are also classified as a subset of alternative currencies and virtual currencies.
Bitcoin became the first decentralized crypto currency in 2009.
Since then, numerous crypto currencies have been created. These are frequently called altcoins, as a blend of Bitcoin alternative. Bitcoin and its derivatives use decentralised control as opposed to centralised electronic money/centralised banking systems. The decentralised control is related to the use of Bitcoin’s Blockchain transaction database in the role of a distributed ledger.
Image Source : https://coinpedia.org
Now since we have understood basic definition of Blockchain & CryptoCurrency so let us understand how it can revive retail. Before we move to diving deep into the subject let us understand …
what is happening in retail since ages.
Retail trading which started with bartering as oldest way of exchanging goods has travelled into era of fiat money. Fiat money is a currency without intrinsic value established as money by government regulation or law. As we see the digital era we see lot of engagement programs & rewards system that ensures connect with customers for repeat visits. Loyalty programs are the lifelines of retail brands & off course their customers love it as well.
We know that brick & mortar retail is not in very good shape worldwide & every stakeholder is concerned about same. Promotions & season sales are failing to drive footfalls at store. So big question for retail is that, what are roadblocks in growth. Is online retail the new enemy of offline retail or traditional retail is dead.
In the current digital era, I foresee a room for innovation and stopping the leakages in the retail ecosystem.
Revival of retail with Blockchain & CryptoCurrency is a magic or trade needs to learn it.
Although Blockchain technology & Bitcoins are still not fully understood by a large portion of the population, I believe that in the future the transparency and trustworthiness of Blockchain technology will lead it to become a normal standard in a wide variety of services.
Let us go to the drawing board of setting up of a retail store.
We need to plan for infrastructure needs, exciting interiors, inventory, great team, billing system, marketing channels & other miscellaneous activities to kick start. The store is about to go live and teaser campaign hits the market.
As a retailer you possess an initial understanding about your target audience. The potential audience show up interest with marketing communication or by just walking by the store and the first footfall happens at store. The team is put into action with warm greetings and gives a proper care to convert the footfall into customer.
Customer of today is quite aware & updated with information. He has all channels to compare the product quality, price & other factors before making a decision at store front. In these scenarios the leakage starts happening.
I interviewed 100s of retailers across many countries on effectiveness of marketing campaigns and all I got was a no tracking to a low tracking in mediums of marketing.
This still doesn’t brings me near to revival of retail using Blockchain & CryptoCurrency. The retail is a mix of brands & private label players. Brands have capability to invest into centralised technology & promotion programs to ensure a good footfall at brand stores whereas the private labels struggle with that due to financial constraints. With the online retailers the local stores either ride on their marketplaces & merely becomes a fulfilment partners or die down the death of low margins in business.
This is the first key area to work upon that is collaboration. The power of centralised loyalty systems used by brands is good but in current market scenarios it is unable to solve the problem of dying retail. Macy’s of the world shutting down their stores is quite a big challenge for entire retail trade.
Image Source : https://blog.unocoin.com/
The collaboration & centralization needs to happen at the core of it, removing all geo boundaries, currency limitations & loyalty systems that confuses the end customer. Here we envisage one platform for retail all across the world & CryptoCurrency as one currency of that retail world.
Retail spends a lot of operational money into discount coupons, loyalty programs which works on one shop and doesn’t work on another shop. Brands spend enormous amount of money in building systems to redeem those coupons & loyalty points. Not even that they print loyalty cards which is plastic & even creates another big environmental risk.
In my last speaking session I received a question “Why does platform need to use the Blockchain?” or “Couldn’t this be done with a centralised point based service instead?”
The need for CryptoCurrency will be used for smart contracts and Blockchain technology for distributing token rewards, the approval/rejection of content, and more. Of course it is true this could be done with a centralised point based service instead of using the Blockchain & anyone can write our own smart contract system and algorithms to make a platform based reward system (like loyalty points”).
The basic underlying criteria for trade is trust. This is even truer today, as the internet has become a powerful tool for the spread of information both true and false.
As a consumer I invest angst, time & money in shopping & all I expect is satisfaction & experience.
The real experience for a shopper will come when he is being greeted prior to entering the store not after getting billed. The loyalty then collected will be shoppers real money and shopper possess the freedom spend same at any store front in the world. With CryptoCurrency like Bitcoin this is just a matter of implementation & educating the retail trade.
In order to build a futuristic platform on a truly global scale, one needs to decide to adapt a decentralised model of Blockchain. Definitely a retailer is the key who will circulate the CryptoCurrency into the shopper ecosystem with universal loyalty program.
Retailers has to do what they are best at & build real experiences for their shoppers. The technology has to be enabler for making world look good. The article is not merely a theoretical approach but is implemented in the Freedom Desi – World’s 1st Open Retail O2O Platform. Learn more at www.freedom.desi
Image Source : https://blog.unocoin.com/
So next time you plan to travel abroad don’t buy forex just buy trade free with your choice of CryptoCurrency loved by your retailer.