eCommerce — Who is in charge?
In 2017, retail eCommerce sales worldwide amounted to 2.3 trillion US dollars and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to 4.88 trillion US dollars in 2021.
These are staggering numbers — indicative of how both technological advancement and consumer confidence have led to an absolute explosion of this space globally. Slowly and steadily, eCommerce players have expanded their scope of operations ranging from books, electronics, groceries and even entertainment in a few cases.
Money and power go hand-in-hand and it is true for the major eCommerce platforms too. Having enormous scale of operations, these platforms have come to a deep understanding of their consumers. This power has led them to use this understanding in ways that turn out to be less than ideal — both for the sellers and buyers using their platform. All this has created a set of problems for the eCommerce industry that needs immediate addressing.
What problems do the current eCommerce models present?
The primary attribute that is being sold to consumers is the ‘Price’. Offerings are maintained as SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) and pushed to consumers via price deals. Consumers are sold similar products at a standard price without any scope of personalization based on consumer preference. Less than ideal situation given how preferences differ from one individual to another.
Currently, the major eCommerce companies have achieved a somewhat monopolistic dominance over their users. Governance and control is purely retained by the platform rather than with the participants. Users don’t have any say on the kind of products or services they get to see on the platform. Algorithms decide the extent of the buyer-seller interaction; with actual value creators (buyers & sellers) having very little say in the entire process.
Lack of Transparency
Every click that the users make on the eCommerce platforms is tracked and used to influence the user behaviour in ways known only to the platform. Even worse, data being collected by the platform can be used to compete with external platform participants themselves, thereby becoming their most significant threat. The platform can choose to offer its own private labels ahead of those of the sellers thereby leading to the breakdown of the free market principle.
Consumers of the platform get only a single level of visibility about the origins of the product. In the best case, they can trace the origins only back up to the seller. There is a total lack of verifiable information about the authenticity, specialty, uniqueness, origins, ethical sourcing practices, environmental impact, and social significance of offerings listed. Given the increasing awareness about sustainability and fair trade among consumers, traditional eCommerce platforms are proving to be increasingly ill-equipped to be able to provide that information.
XKU instead of SKU
Runs.com will be disrupting traditional eCommerce platforms which use SKUs as the fundamental way to identify units. Moving away from the conventional SKUs, Runs.com has patented a new method of identification and tracking called XKU — ‘Experience Keeping Unit’. Runs.com XKUs will cover the 3-S parameters — Story, Source and Sustainability.
What is an XKU?
An XKU is a product and service identification code for an item that helps track the item for inventory. It can be assigned to both physical and non-physical products in inventory.
Unlike SKUs whose code usually reveals a product’s details, such as color, size, style, manufacturer and brand etc., an XKU includes the basic elements of SKU and three S-factors- Story, Source, and Sustainability.
On the RUNS platform, each product/experience will be scored by the user community on the the 3S factors. This score will be secured on the Blockchain as a ledger entry and made transparent to all the users — buyers and sellers alike. This will help overcome the issues of trust and transparency.
Over time, the RUNS Platform will evolve into a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) like model for governance. Decisions around potential changes to the platform (non regulatory), launch of new features, and expansion of the ecosystem will be decided by “Spartans” (Masternodes) through a process of democratic voting. Decisions around onboarding a merchant/seller will be based on voting too. This puts the control in the hands of the users rather than the platform and opens the doors for decentralization & personalization governed by the users; creating a truly democratic platform.
You can learn more about this innovative concept on our website.
Runs.com is the world’s first Blockchain based Experience Commerce platform targeting over 2.5 billion people. Runs.com is headquartered in Singapore with offices in New York and Bangalore.