Blockchain in retail is changing the way we buy
With the advent of blockchain technology, several industries have been impacted by its disruption. The retail sector, in particular, has multiple blockchain opportunities that can change the way retailers sell, and by extension, the way consumers buy. But the role that blockchain technology plays in reshaping retail relationships with the end customers and how they buy needs to be the on every retailer’s agenda.
The 11,000-year-old retail industry has been transforming itself over time with various advances in technology. Take for example the dot-com burst: consumers could access a virtual store to purchase products and services with a simple click. But that doesn’t mean that the brick and mortar retail stores were anywhere short of being “transformed” as they account for over 90% of retail sales. Retail stores are employing a mix of marketing and technology like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), etc., to streamline supply chain & inventory management, quicken cross-border payment processing, tokenize customer loyalty programs, and manage customer data repositories.
The retail industry is keeping up with major technological advancements to improve itself and provide consumers with better customer experiences. Such a major technological advancement that has been adopted is by far the most disruptive one of them all: Blockchain – a distributed ledger technology.
Blockchain is a revolutionary technology that has disrupted industries beyond the virtual finance market. In fact, blockchain technology is expected to reach critical adoption by 2020 and become generally accepted by consumers by the year 2025. With respect to the retail market, blockchain technology has applications that are intrinsic to the backend retail processes. According to a survey, blockchain applications in retail can improve efficiency anywhere from 40% to 60%. But, here’s the big question: how do all this impact customer experience and buying behaviour?
Buying Behaviour and Customer Experience in Retail
Customer experience is starting to become an important north star metric for the retail sector. KPGM, in its Global Retail Trends Report 2018, stated that the some of the biggest glocal trends that need to be in every retailer’s toolbox is:
Capitalizing on Customer Experience
Scaling AI-based Operations
Engaging the conscious and aware consumer
Adapting to the changing expectations of customers
Redefining marketing to suit the West and the East.
Customer experience is integral to the retail sector where we are ushering in the experience economy. Traditionally, the unit of measure for retail performance has been “sales per square foot”; however, the modus operandi is changing towards enhancing experience, and thus “experience per square foot” becoming the new and improved metric.
In addition to this, retailers also need to commit to understanding their customers better. Customers are more informed about the products and services that they need, and they have the means to make informed purchase decisions. Empowered with information, a consumer will expect services to be of an exceptional quality, one that is appealing.
With that said, the retailers need to lay an emphasis on developing marketing and sales plans that focus on building an impressionable customer experience. However, to materialise this, retailers need to employ a mix of technology to enable their marketing plans to come with engaging customer experience. And within this mix blockchain is a major player, and here’s how this works.
Blockchain technology can be adapted to redefine customer experience by focusing on areas where the customer interacts with the product or service.
Make more personalised customer experiences.
Blockchain can help retailers incentivise customer loyalty by employing tokens.
Customers can decide if their personal information can be used by the retailers.
It might seem like there aren’t many areas where the application of blockchain technology extends with respect to the customer experience. But with the customer data you garner and manage with blockchain technology, you are bound to reap hefty benefits in terms of better customer relations.
Nucleus Vision Aids the Adoption of Blockchain in the Retail Industry
It’s safe to say that the conventional customer interaction methods followed at brick-and-mortar stores are going to soon become obsolete. Retailers need to service the consumers of an experience-based economy with the help of blockchain technology. Consumers expect a personalized shopping experience on a shop floor, which requires the retailer to gain access to unprecedented customer intelligence. This was a privilege only e-tailers had until Nucleus Vision launched its proprietary IoT & Blockchain based customer identification platform.
Nucleus Vision’s unique customer identification system uses three prominent technologies including IoT, AI, and Blockchain.
The solution doesn’t depend on Bluetooth, WiFi, RFID, or any facial recognition algorithms to identify a customer entering into a retail outlet. It depends on mobile IDs to identify customers and accumulates their data on consent.
Data is crucial throughout the solution. So, Nucleus Vision has employed Blockchain technology to ensure safety and transparency in data transition and offers complete authority to the customers over their personal data.
The AI-powered layer called Neuron deploys customer prediction algorithms to predict customer preferences, paying capacity, and their purchase intent. When a customer enters a retail store, Nucleus Vision shares the customer insights with the retailer. Analyzing the insights, retailers can offer a seamless shopping experience to the customer with personalized offers and reward programs.
With its token-based loyalty program, Nucleus Vision has taken the application of blockchain a step further. Under this program, a customer will get nCash tokens from Nucleus Vision for giving their consent to sharing personal data. This is a cross-company program that allows the users to exchange their tokens at any of the partner companies.
Neuron also deploys inventory prediction algorithms that help retailers in monitoring the stock movement and identifying inherent slow-moving products. This will enable retailers to adopt dynamic pricing strategies, gain insights on customer preferences, and effectively improve the quality of their inventory
Although IoT and AI are disrupting every industry, including retail, that needs a data solution, they are unable to resolve issues faced by brick-and-mortar stores, lacking customer insights. Nucleus vision addresses this problem with its unique IoT and AI solution running on a blockchain network. Its technology has found patrons amongst some of the biggest names from the Indian retail market through partnerships and pilot projects.
Authored by Abhishek Pitti, Founder & CEO, Nucleus Vision
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