While the financial industry has been successfully making use of blockchain applications for several years now, blockchain technology has the potential to transform a number of other industries as well, including retail.
Recent blockchain-driven experiments by large retailers such as Walmart, Amazon, and Alibaba are proof of the many possibilities for technology to solve age-old challenges in the retail industry. For instance, blockchain technology can help retailers improve how they store information about their suppliers, help seamlessly execute payments and contracts, and even reinforce product authenticity to prevent counterfeiting of goods.
As retail sales increasingly shift online, it’s important that retailers adapt their systems to cater to the ever-changing ways consumers are searching for and purchasing products. From managing the supply chain to improving customer loyalty programs, here are four of the most promising use cases for blockchain in retail.
Tackling counterfeit goods
In 2017, retail losses due to fraud were estimated at $23 billion. Retailers in the luxury consumer goods industry are especially vulnerable to fraud, averaging 20-30 percent more in losses due to their exceptionally high margins and more flexible return policies.
With counterfeiters and retail fraud on the rise around the world, blockchain technology offers brands a way to assign a unique scannable code or label to each product and allow their customers to access the entire history of that product – from the country of origin to the final reseller – and every step along the way. IBM recently developed TrustChain, a blockchain that proves the provenance of jewelry by following every step in the supply chain from mine to store.
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