Is blockchain the next eCommerce and retail revolution?

  • It is one of the buzzwords. Did you know that blockchain could be the next eCommerce and retail revolution? Find out how.

  • To clear doubts from the beginning, we will say something important: blockchain is not equivalent to cryptocurrencies. This technology drives many other things that have to do with security or traceability (such as the well-known NFTs).
    Precisely this combination of features that unites efficient payment methods, accurate tracking and high security, are the values that make it so attractive for both online and physical commerces.
  • What is blockchain?

  • A little further up we have shared a link where we explain it in some depth, so we will not  go into too much detail here.
    Even so, it is important to be clear that it is a technology that performs transactions and manages files and other data through a decentralized but interconnected network of devices.
    These transactions or digital assets are validated by multiple nodes in a computer network to subsequently join a chain that can no longer be altered in any way.
    Seen this way, it is easy to understand why cryptocurrencies have relied on blockchain as a technology, isn't it?
  • How can blockchain be used in commerce?

  • As we have already said, there is no single application. Now, it is time to go into detail on each of these uses and how to integrate them.
  • #1 – To make payments

  • Why deny it? Currencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum are their flagships and the best example of what blockchain can bring to our day-to-day lives.
    Although it is usually seen more as an investment, the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment is starting to be seen in some eCommerce. After all, they are still a legal tender.

    This, for eCommerce, can have many advantages:
    •  It is a currency that is not subject to regulation by any national bank, making it perfect for internationalization. We do not have to modify prices depending on the currency for each geographical area.
    • More security for both parties. Transactions are transparent from point to point, and the networks are very secure.
    • Versatility: it is true that one of the advantages of this technology is that the user does not have to be present at the time of closing a sale, but there are already devices that allow us to charge in store. Therefore, you can adopt it transversally throughout your business.
    • It is cheaper: fees for processing online payments through blockchain are usually considerably lower than if you use other payment gateways.
  • #2 – To provide transparency

  • One of the biggest obstacles for online sales and, to a lesser extent, for retail, is the lack of consumer confidence.
    Why can blockchain help us in this aspect? Because it is one of the most effective ways to perform a complete traceability, not only of a final product, but even of the raw materials and the processes used in its manufacture along the production chain.
    We can give many examples, but a very clear one would be that of specialty coffee. Imagine buying it and having a QR on the packaging that gives you all the information: from the farm where it was harvested to the place where it was roasted, including the packaging you are holding in your hand; but also with the certainty that all the data is verified and cannot be manipulated.
    This is one case, but in reality it can be applied to any product.
  • #3 – It boosts logistics

  • Just as we can trace at the user level, we can do it at the enterprise level. Control the supply chain in real time to know, at all times, where, how and who is handling your orders.
    It could also be applied to stock and inventory control, so we would always have our stocks updated. And, if we cross it with other tools such as CRMs, the company becomes much more efficient.
  • #4 – It opens up many possibilities for loyalty

  • It is true that it has an initial implementation cost, but using a loyalty program based on blockchain we can use smart contracts to define the relationship between both parties eliminating intermediaries, errors and fraud.
    Simplicity in management is at another level, it is an almost frictionless experience. Among other things, because transactions take place in almost real time. The user will be able to enjoy his balance, points or rewards of any kind, much faster... and this encourages conversion. 
  • #5 – It is safer

  • So much so that people invest their savings in it. Although everything is, to a greater or lesser extent, susceptible to being "hacked", the truth is that blockchain has proved to be one of the most solid systems.
    Bear in mind that the content of a chain cannot be altered and that, in addition, this encrypted information is located on multiple servers. Technically, it is very complicated.
  • Although it is true that blockchain has its drawbacks, such as the costs involved in adapting businesses to this technology or -this is key right now- how energy inefficient they are, since as the number of transactions grows, so does the amount of energy needed to manage the system.
    Considering the pros and cons, this is a trend to keep on our radar, because everything points to blockchain being the next revolution in eCommerce and retail.
  • What about you, how do you see this issue? Are you going to consider using this technology? Let us know in the comments.

  • Images | Unsplash.

Laia Ordoñez

Laia Ordóñez is a copywriting & eCommerce content marketing expert. She is Content & Marketing Manager at DueHome, a copywriting & content independent advisor, and Oleoshop's blog's editor-in-chief.

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