“Retail Tech is About to Change the Way We Shop”

The 5-trillion-dollar shopping industry is about to be changed… for good.

Photo by Darren Chan on Unsplash

Since the modern shopping mall was created in 1956, the development of the current retail landscape has allowed unnecessary supply chain intermediaries to drive up the cost of goods.

As a result, customers choose between paying the highest price for products like televisions and paper towels or going without the project. That is the case because individual purchasers cannot build demand (see Minimum Order Quantities) in the same way as end-stage retailers like Costco and Best Buy. It’s the difference between 1 person ordering 1 unit, and 100 stores ordering 1000 units. You will almost always get the cheaper rate in the latter scenario.

The following article seeks to fulfill two primary purposes: it focuses on identifying ways in which blockchain technology can be integrated into the retail industry, and it examines how unnecessary stages in supply chains can be removed by integrating a blockchain protocol. Finally, this article presents a real-world example of how blockchain dismantles the antiquated retail supply chains.

“tilt shift photography of gray steel chains” by Mike Alonzo on Unsplash

Before a customer receives a product, the product typically passes through a series of stages on the retail supply chain. We’re talking about warehouses, transportation channels, and the end-stage retailers (e.g,. storefronts). Each step increases the price of the product.

What stages of a supply chain are necessary for the delivery of a product from seller to customer?

A new era of product purchasing is being accomplished through the use of blockchain technology. This new wave of retail tech, which includes the use of smart contacts and a public ledger system, removes unnecessary stages in the supply chain.

This new technology will connect sellers directly with potential customers, resulting in a serious change in the way that people can purchase goods.

How Blockchain Can be Integrated into Retail Tech

Smart contracts are dependent on the conditionality of an event. If X happens, then Y occurs. For example, if a television manufacturer creates a bulk-price deal for 1,000 TV units, the deal is finished. The deal is placed on a blockchain. Once the minimum number of units is ordered, the deal is unlocked. Smart contracts are one of several ways in which blockchains can eliminate stages in the supply chain.

A second way that a blockchain can be integrated into retail technology is through the use of a public ledger. Public ledgers allow for the full transparency of logistics and real-time tracking information uploaded on a decentralized public ledger. More transparency typically means that there is less room for clandestine activity as a product moves across supply chains.

By using a blockchain, certain information can be uploaded and maintained in real time such as product location, product condition, and asking price. As this information is uploaded in real time, a record of the product information can be permanently uploaded on to individual blocks. Once the information is uploaded onto the blocks, it becomes unalterable and fully transparent.

The convergence of retail and blockchain means that customers will be able to purchase more directly from suppliers. The goal of this era of retail is to eliminate every unnecessary stage of the supply chain. This achievement is not a small feat. The intersection of blockchain and retail will deconstruct the way that we purchase goods. It will finish off a dying industry while creating a brand new one in its dust.

“A black-and-white shot of people selecting produce at a market stall” by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

Real-World Examples

At least one blockchain protocol is focused on the specific mission of disintermediating supply chains through blockchain.

Buying.com’s Prime Protocol is attempting to create the next generation of retail technology. Buying.com’s Prime Protocol is comprised of several key features, which includes a solution for the industry-wide e-commerce chargeback problem. Buying.com’s is designing a full-service ecosystem, from the manufacturer to the customer’s doorstep.

In addition to providing direct-to-consumer prices, Buying.com is creating an additional stream of revenue for individuals that want to rent extra space in their house to use as a storage unit. The technology stack also includes blockchain-enabled secure transactions, payment protection through escrow, Ricardian contracts, and Proof of Delivery.

Furthermore, Buying.com’s decentralized marketplace is the only blockchain-based marketplace that attempts to resolve those problems, and the first startup to address the chargeback issue in e-commerce.

In Closing

Blockchain undoubtedly has the potential to deconstruct supply chains and offer unparalleled logistic solutions. Once fully integrated into retail tech, public ledgers and smart contracts will head the new wave of the retail industry. The shopping mall perpetuates a system with too many stages in the supply chain. A new, more techie era of consumer purchasing is coming.

“Retail Tech is About to Change the Way We Shop” was originally published in Data Driven Investor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.