Blockchain solutions for industries are proving their potential to achieve widespread adoption. As indicated by market research and survey by names like Gartner and Mckinsey, it will soon experience general acceptance by consumers by 2025. Undoublty, blockchain technology is emerging as a groundbreaking technology. It has given rise not only to the decentralized digital currency with its distributed, immutable ledger but also provided mechanisms to transform the entire financial market.
Now, the tech community is getting overwhelmingly optimistic about using blockchain technology for retail solutions as it provides a variety of applications for both the financial and non-financial sectors. Blockchain solutions development in retail is one such field where it can prove to be transforming for all stakeholders.
Blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that records real-time information in a permanent, distributed, and verifiable way. Depending on the consensus mechanism type, it validates and records all transactions that take place on a network between each participant. Essentially, it is a type of distributed database that processes information in a decentralized manner across several data servers globally, making it secure, transparent, and censorship-resistant. As multiple copies of the same data remain stored across different devices at different locations, a peer-to-peer network establishes a means to store and exchange information securely with encryption and cryptography methods.
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Retail is an industry that has disrupted the way we shop and live, and blockchain technology can ensure its efficient digital transformation.
Let us understand a few potential retail blockchain implementations across processes.
Supply chain management refers to the flow of goods and services and includes all processes from raw material sourcing to conversion into finished products. Any element of eCommerce is critical to the idea of the supply chain. Blockchain supply chain solutions in retail can solve problems like recordkeeping and monitoring of goods. It is a better alternative to a centralized database.
Blockchain usage takes the brand-customer relationship to a new level of trust. Every stage of the supply chain process becomes digital to ensure authenticity and reduce the risk of counterfeiting, particularly in the arts, antiques, luxury goods, and pharmaceutical sectors. Some of the leading instances of blockchain use in the supply chain are:
With blockchain technology, stakeholders can trace the timeline of a product right from its procurement to consumers, including manufacturing, packaging, and logistics. Further, the integration of embedded sensors and RFID tags, blockchains enables tracing of product information at each stage of the process. Blockchain, in addition to detecting anomalies in any segment of the supply chain, also provides precise provenance tracking.
CPO’s can also employ blockchain solutions for an advanced supply chain backend that ensure productivity and growth across various operations. Blockchain enables distributors to avoid unnecessary spending on recruiting new employees time and time again.
Blockchain improves the administrative procedures in supply chain management by eliminating intermediaries and introducing automation with smart contracts. Therefore, it leads to reducing the system’s additional costs. Eliminating intermediaries eliminates the duplicity of products and the risk of fraud as well. Cryptocurrencies can come in use by clients and vendors to process payments within the supply chain with efficiency and security instead of costly traditional means.
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Using blockchain technology offers data integrity instantly and accurately. Applying it can enhance consumer loyalty programs that are data-reliant. At each stage of customer interaction, its distributed nature guarantees data capture. It can enable organizations to develop the capabilities of qualitative research and consumer modeling. When retailers use it for consumer loyalty programs, they give consumers the option of using a single wallet to store ubiquitous loyalty points instead of accumulating them in isolated membership schemes. In this way, clients will be more involved with loyalty programs as they can easily track points and rewards and redeem them. Technologies such as big data analytics and artificial intelligence also help each customer create personalized communications.
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We see clients sharing different personal data with various organizations in the current framework. This information remains in control of only a single organization or a permissioned small group of entities. In particular, since these systems are particularly vulnerable to breaches, hacks, and data losses, of data placed at high risk. It will change the image of brands and consumer confidence.
In a blockchain, this data remains secure due to features like decentralization and an encrypted ledger that nobody can compromise. Only individuals who have the exact private cryptographic key may access this information. The amount of information they want to share with retailers may also in control of consumers. Consumers are, therefore, aware of who uses it and the reason for which they need it.
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Blockchain traceability solutions can assist retailers and logistics providers globally to track shipments securely and transparently. As it provides real-time details about product handing, including who, where, and when, at what time dispatched it, scheduled its delivery time, etc., every logistic stage of the product’s journey becomes auditable. Suppliers can retailers can also monitor factors like including humidity and temperature. To a great degree, it results in boosting logistical efficiencies. The much-needed ability of technology is to streamline transport, shipping, and reconciliation of contracts.
Also, Read | Smarter Logistics with Blockchain
Merchants can use a blockchain-powered payment solution to accept payments from cryptocurrencies. It ensures efficient, secure, and fast cross-border payments and micropayments. The created digital records help streamline the process of returns and refunds. For instant purchases, automatic returns, and much more, the use of smart contracts solutions prove worthy. A smart contract is a self-executing contract that contains the terms of the buyer-seller agreement.
The shift is certainly in the pipeline for the retail sector, taking into account all the advantages of blockchain. The applications of blockchain technology are slowly but steadily revolutionizing retail.
In addition to being quicker and cheaper, it is the aspect of removing interference from third parties that makes blockchain suitable for retailers. Blockchain can decentralize a centralized service, thereby helping to create trust, which is the backbone of every organization. Considering all the possibilities provided by blockchain technology, it is undoubtedly here to stay.