how do we think blockchain will impact retail as we know it?
“A blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography.” – Wikipedia
The main advantage of blockchain is its transparency; every transaction is captured on an indelible ledger distributed across a network of computers which allows a transaction to be conducted without the need for a third party like a bank to verify it.
Many leading brands already allow payment in bitcoin and recently Starbucks announced they are considering accepting cryptocurrency payments in the future. The advantage of paying for something in cryptocurrency is the much lower transaction charge and new technology is emerging to make it easier; for example BitPay offers Bitcoin payment integration to point of sale so that retailers can accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment. Many subscription and sharing based platforms, like Uber, that link consumers with a service and take a cut should consider that blockchain can connect consumer and service directly, effectively doing away with their services. Exponents of blockchain see this as a democratization process akin to a revolution and predict that it will bring disruption to all industry as it changes the way value is exchanged in the economy.
image courtesy of blockverify
The ability for blockchain to maintain an indelible record of every touchpoint in a product’s supply chain will also protect a brand from counterfeiting and theft as well as demonstrating its provenance. In a marketplace where brands and retailers are keen to demonstrate transparency and build trust with consumers this will become a valuable marketing tool.
The transparency of blockchain appeals to any business conducting transactions based on trust and will have a huge impact on retail both in terms of the way consumers interact with and pay for products and services and how companies interact with their supply chain. It’s definitely worth considering how blockchain will affect your sector.