Gemstra: Democratising Social Marketing

The supply chain is a flow path of goods and services from raw materials to finished goods. It is any process or activity involved in the acquisition, transformation and delivery of raw materials into finished goods, to its end users. In simpler terms, it is the steps it takes to get a product or service to the consumer.

Traditional Value Chain

In the traditional value chain model, brands sell to wholesalers and distributors. The wholesalers, in turn, sell to the retailers and the retailers sell to the consumers.

With the rise of E-commerce platforms, customers are now able to purchase products and services directly from a company’s website or affiliate websites, this affords the brand the opportunity to interact with its consumers and to understand its consumers’ needs.

Traditional Value Chain

Social Sales Chain

During the trade globalization era, brands employed the services of independent representatives to stump market their products and services, this of course, represents the earliest form of social marketing.

Social selling, simply referred to as direct selling, involves marketers or brand influencers taking up the role of retailers and selling products/ services directly to the end users. This sales model leads to a consequent loss of jobs in the value chain, as the roles of wholesalers and distributors are disrupted.

With increasing accessibility to the internet and growth of social media, social marketing has transitioned from door –to-door to online sales. Internet-enabled sales platforms provide rapid connection, reduce response time and provide quick resolution of customer service problems

As at today, social selling has not achieved its aim of redistributing consumer profits to those engaged in social because the marketplace is very centralized and is in the control of a very fortunate few, this makes it easy for platform owners to exploit sellers.

Gemstra aims to meet some of the challenges of social selling by democratising social selling via a multi-level network model that rewards users of the platform (Gemstar ecosystem) for influencing sales using social networks. Gemstar launched a proof-of-concept social selling marketplace called BOUTIQUES in July 2017. BOUTIQUES is an open source software driven platform that gives sellers the ability to choose brands and products they want to sell. The ASTRA platform is powered by a utility token called GMS. GMS is the utility token used in ASTRA platform to drive transactions and provide liquidity in the Gemstra ecosystem.

The Gemstra Ecosystem (Source: Gemstra Whitepaper)

Categories of Users on the Gemstra Ecosystem

Sellers

These are brand promoters and trade influencers. Sellers drive sales with their social networks. In the present social sales model deployed by most platforms, a seller is limited to one brand or merchant, but with the Gemstra model, sellers are highly mobile and can jointly service several brands or merchants on the platform at one time. On the Gemstra ecosystem, the seller who executes sales to a customer has custody of the customer’s information, unlike the traditional Model where all transaction data is held by the merchant.

Merchants

Merchants are the platform owners. They administer the platform and set the remuneration for sellers who transact on the platform. Merchants can participate in ASTRA by either using BOUTIQUES open source software or integrating ASTRA with their existing platforms.

Brands

The role of brands is to provide the merchants with the catalogue of the brand’s products/ services. Brands also define the commission and reward structure and they keep custody of product performance data.

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