The Changing Face of Retail In The Age of the Internet and Decentralization
Originally published on: CoinSpeaker
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August 22, 2018
Retail is a huge industry. Last year, retailers in the U.S. reported a staggering $3.53 trillion in sales, and the apparel market alone is worth $3 trillion globally.
It’s a big market, because we depend on it. Everyone needs things like clothes, shoes, and basic electronics in today’s world, and our only option is to visit a store (either online or in person) and buy them. So it’s clear to see that retail is going absolutely nowhere.
But that doesn’t mean retailers can just sit back and heave a sigh of relief. Like many other industries in today’s world, retail is undergoing big and rapid changes.
Gone are the days when the only way to shop was to drive or walk to your nearest store and trudge around with bags full of products. We live in the age of the internet, and shopping has evolved into something new, something we do from our smartphones and laptops in the comfort of our homes and offices.
As retail has become increasingly digital, big shifts have taken place. The rise of Amazon as a monolithic online superstore has been one especially obvious example of the new economy.
The old ways of doing things started to die out, fast, and retailers need to adapt and keep up if they’re to survive. But how can they do that?
An Industry in Transition
Right now, lots of retailers are struggling to compete and stay relevant in an increasingly digital economy. Only 10% of in-store shoppers and 3% of online shoppers actually make a purchase, and only 7% of retailers are able to recognize their shoppers across different channels.
What does this tell us? One of the glaring lessons here is that retailers are failing to understand and reach their customers properly, losing their business as a result.
It boils down to a lack of information. Traditional retailers have a blinkered view of their customer base, because they only have their own data to rely on.
Meanwhile, giants like Amazon have access to huge amounts of data on their customers, across a wide range of products, brands, and price points. This is giving them a massive advantage — the ability to understand and engage effectively with their buyers.
The key for retailers is to build a system where they can access customer data across a range of channels, much like Amazon can. This will allow them to understand their customers’ buying habits and make it easier to build stronger relationships and communicate more effectively with them.
They’ll be able to provide personal recommendations and show customers what they want to see, increasing the chances that customers will make a purchase and leave smiling.
But there’s one problem — nobody wants their private data to fall in the hands of a third party. That’s why it’s important to build a system where users are able to consent and receive rewards for sharing their data, and this is where a more decentralized approach to retail really starts to make sense.
The Decentralization Solution
Building a decentralized online retail ecosystem could solve many of the problems in the space, and that’s exactly what Shopin is working on. Their platform will allow shops and businesses to recognize customers through the app, without the customers’ data ever being made public.
It’s a simple enough set-up. Users can answer questions and submit info to help Shopin’s app understand their preferences, and their shopping history data from then on is recorded and stored securely in the platform.
This is then used by retailers to generate suggestions and point users a direction they’ll be happy with when shopping. They can communicate, engage, and market more accurately, knowing what their customers want. This kind of closer, more personal relationship helps increase conversion rates for retailers and leads to a better experience for shoppers.
Throughout the process users have full control and ownership over their data. Perhaps the best part of all is that users will receive a reward in Shopin’s token when they give their attention and time to a retailer.
They can use these tokens to purchase things from retailers within the app, or redeem them for cash. So customers are essentially paid to shop, on top of the benefits that come with a more tailored retail experience.
The future looks bright for Shopin, who recently formed a partnership with Quoine’s global trading platform, QRYPTOS.
It’s a new way of doing things, one that combines the collective wisdom and experience of shoppers and retailers, and helps build a healthier and more rewarding retail ecosystem. As the internet continues to develop, decentralization is increasingly looking like the next big step.