The retail industry is one that is so pervasive in society that we hardly give its existence any second thought from day to day. The 7-Eleven was there when we wanted a candy bar as a kid. The department store is there when we lose or rip one too many socks. And the shopping mall is there anytime we just want a place to shop aimlessly.
But that aimless shopping has been turned on its head in recent years. Online retailers are arising at a pace never before seen in the brick-and-mortar retail space, and they sell a selection of items so broad, and yet niche, that you could never hope to view everything were you to aimlessly shop in this environment.
Current Problems in Retail
It’s no secret that online retailers have made a significant dent in the business of brick-and-mortar retailers. They offer a wider selection, direct delivery, and, very often, lower prices. In these aspects, and likely many more, most physical retailers would admit that they cannot directly compete, and this poses a problem for them.
Meanwhile, the brick-and-mortar retailers do have a very literal tangible advantage over their online competitors – they are local, able to be visited by their consumers, and their products can be seen and handled in person by their potential purchasers. They have a staff with whom a personal rapport can be formed and information garnered. This bestows on them a level of familiarity and trust that online vendors cannot replicate.
Addressing Retail Problems with Blockchain
While the trust gained through personal interactions may be something that online retailers can’t quite realize, they are doing their best to substitute it with additional ways of ensuring their consumers’ trust. Implementing blockchain smart contracts into their transaction system is one way of doing so.
In such a system, trust is ensured by a blockchain’s smart contract – a computerized agreement whose conditions are written into the code, meaning that they must be met before releasing funds. Should either party fail to deliver on their agreed-upon terms, the contract is forfeit and funds return to their original party.
Such a system being utilized by online retailers may not have the same effect as having a tangible product available or the interpersonal rapport found in a traditional store, but it does go a long way to build trust in an online environment. This might, unfortunately, mean more bad news for brick-and-mortar retailers in the long run.
Companies Using Blockchain in the Retail Space
One company looking to implement blockchain smart contracts into the consumer retail space is OpenBazaar. Setting out to create an online peer-to-peer marketplace for consumer goods and services, OpenBazaar moves away from the eBay or Amazon model and instead embraces smart contracts and a variety of supported cryptocurrencies to ensure users of their marketplace are fully protected in their transactions.
As blockchain technology continues to find successful use cases in specialized and niche industries, we at TraDove seek to unite these industries together in the B2B sphere. TraDove is developing its own proprietary B2B Blockchain Payment Network which utilizes a currency-pegged token to facilitate fair, secure and transparent B2B transactions around the world.