Application of Blockchain in Retail and Supply Chain Management


Blockchain offers many new opportunities for retail businesses and supply chain operators. Even during the pandemic last year, which affected the global economy adversely, retain industries were still booming. Many retailers who offered online purchasing facilities were taking advantage as people largely changed to online buying habits. However, during the pandemic, some major issues faced by many retailers include the need to maintain the supply chain, open physical stores, sell products, and keep the employees and customers safe during interactions.

All these challenges could have been avoided if the industry had embraced blockchain technology from the very beginning. In real-time business settings, blockchain is known for its sustainability, reliability, and ability to help manage processes for retaining industries where digitization is a necessity now. It is not late yet for the businesses in the retail industry to focus more seriously on blockchain by integrating it into their legacy systems. This article will try to cover some strategies adopted by industry leaders by using blockchain to solve their challenges.

Do we need blockchain in retail?

Many wonder whether the retail industry needs blockchain to run.

In actual user cases, retail seems to be running quite comfortably compared to many other related sectors. However, as this industry deals with many internal operational issues, there is a need to address these to make it more effective sooner or later. This is the reason why retail experts suggest a fundamental change in retail like blockchain at the moment.

There are many initiatives underway in terms of blockchains in the supply chain.

Some notable examples are Ernst & Young placing their Nightfall software based on the Ethereum blockchain. It is in the public domain now, and the company uses it without investing in any developmental resources.There are many startups too using blockchain technologies now to tackle various aspects of the supply chain.

Let us explore some more examples.

  • Origin – Tracking sources of different products and services through the supply is important for retailers. Whether it is for fair trace, sustainability, or the current need for safety and health, blockchain offers micro-traceability for both customers and merchants to see where their products are coming from. Some of the well-known examples of blockchain projects focusing on origin are Provenance, DORÆ, ShipChain, Bext360, and Modum, etc.
  • Data quality – We can see that supply chains are misty for naked eyes. There are a lot of systems that more too often do not have proper communication. Blockchain will also help resolve this challenge by exposing the supply chain’s entire pathway and making it difficult to falsify. Examples of projects driving quality data about the supply chain include OriginTrail, Peer Ledger, Eximchain, and FR8 Network, etc.
  • Finance – Blockchain-driven supply chain enterprises operate on a lower margin but with higher capital needs. So, the need for the financing supply chain is very important. Blockchain helps streamline the financing part by factoring all receivables to meet the requirements for working capital or managed better by escrow. Companies running successfully with blockchain-based supply chain financing include CargoCoin, Zero1 Capital, and CargoX, etc.

For the adoption of reliable technologies for enterprise database management, you may consult with the remote DBMS experts at RemoteDBA. Let us further explore some of the key interventions of blockchain in the retail and supply chain to effectively meet the challenges.

Changing expectation of consumers

As a highly volatile sector, it is important for the retail industry to always keep up with the changing consumer expectation.

In reality, customer expectations change rapidly nowadays than before, which is hard for anyone to cope with. There are too many variable elements coming into play with trends and tastes changing overnight. A good portion of the customers may be after a particular product for today and the very next day, the herb may have different thoughts, and many of them may not even like the previous product anymore.

Seasons, occasions, and holidays change.

Trends are something that plays a crucial role in terms of consumer expectations. So, the retail industry decision-makers need to outsmart these changing expectations and comprehend all this information to perform well.

Even in the midst of all this turmoil, accurate forecasts are still possible with the capabilities of blockchain, machine learning, and AI, etc.

Challenges in maintaining customer loyalty

To ensure better brand loyalty, you have to offer an excellent customer experience. In an actual scenario, one major issue for the retailers is losing their long-term customers and thinking that those can be easily replaced. We need to know that dealing with the customers may become harder in the future.

However, the practice of letting them go by can only haunt them in the long run.

Even though the promotions, offers, and special welcoming bonuses, etc., will help you find new customers, it is still not enough to keep the momentum as most of the time. It is the old customers you expect more from you to honor their loyalty and make them feel for you.

Insufficient internal communication

Lack of communication with different divisions internally may only help disrupt the overall business process and a steady decrease in customer satisfaction.

However, without an adequate system to automate internal communications, you will find it challenging to tackle this problem. So, you may use technology to strengthen the internal communication channels at the first point.

Along with these, you may also try to leverage the advancements in modern technologies, which are made to cater to the specific needs of various businesses.

These may help promote some extra benefits if used in the right way. Still, many retailers fail to effectively leverage blockchain technologies by understanding and following this trend completely.

Even to this data, there are a lot of retailers who do not even have an inline presence.

Blockchain in the retail and supply chain sectors can change many aspects when it comes to more effective daily operations.

Even though this sector is quite strong already, it still deals with many adverse issues that cause ongoing problems. However, keeping the advancements in blockchain technology and the newer possibilities it puts forth, even small businesses in retail can take advantage of it and ensure success.

 

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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