Expanding Payment Options and Managing the Supply Chain
Blockchain technology has proven itself to have many useful applications across a range of industries, including the retail sector. From customer loyalty programs to supply chain tracking to payment options, the possible use cases of blockchain in retail are extensive. Many blockchain solutions for the retail space are already in place or underway, and more are sure to come in the future.
One of the most obvious applications of blockchain in retail is regarding accepting payment. More retailers have begun accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment, particularly in the case of online or technologically oriented stores. In addition to adding convenience to customers who want to pay with Bitcoin or Ether, accepting cryptocurrency can reduce the costs associated with payment processing.
The expansion of payment options is particularly useful once you factor in exchange rates. Travelers who buy items or services abroad or anyone who makes an online purchase from an international retailer can find themselves paying much lower exchange fees (or none) by paying with crypto instead of fiat.
Another key use case of blockchain for retail is that of managing the supply chain. Current systems of supply chain management tend to require someone from each step in the process to maintain their database. This can lead to delays in information as well as a lack of information in general. The supply chain applications are particularly useful in retail sub-sectors that deal with products that can be easily compromised if not appropriately treated, such as medicines.
This supply chain application of blockchain can also help prevent disruptions in the supply chain that lead to fraud or forgeries. When you buy a designer purse, the blockchain can let you know that it is the real thing and worth the money.
Inventory management is a natural progression of supply chain management on the blockchain. With the use of blockchain, retailers can keep better records of what they have sold and what is in stock, making it possible to order the proper amount.
Enhancing Advertising Efficiency and Maintaining Loyalty Programs
Anyone in the retail sector will tell you that a critical part of their business is advertising, but consumers are unhappy with the use of their data. The blockchain has the potential to revolutionize how retailers use advertising by collecting data in a truly anonymous way that is transparent. The blockchain can additionally help retailers confirm that their advertising money is worth it by receiving transparent information from their marketing companies. Customers who have their data collected to receive targeted advertising can even earn rewards of some sort via the blockchain.
Both retailers and customers can benefit from the use of the blockchain to create and manage loyalty program. Many experts agree that future loyalty programs will have some element of tokenization. By issuing tokens for rewards, it is incredibly simple to manage loyalty points and deliver real-time liquidity, so customers can use their rewards when they want. In addition to awarding loyalty points for purchases, the blockchain will let brands reward customers with these tokens for other actions, such as watching advertisements or sharing something on social media.