Five Aspects of E-Commerce That Blockchain Will Transform

According to a recent article by The Wall Street Journal, more than 1M small businesses sell their goods on Amazon. At face value, this sounds like Amazon helping the “little guys” grow their businesses. However, there’s a key metric missing from their claim: how many small businesses are happy selling on their platform?

Sure, the increased exposure and traffic that Amazon provides provide a boost to sales, but at what cost?

Every time a revolutionary technology is developed and subsequently adopted, we often look back and wonder just how we lived without it. The rise of easy to use E-commerce platforms throughout the last decade has indeed been a boom for businesses. But do we call it a day now, or is there any way to improve current platforms as well as the retailer and consumer experiences that come with them?

Enter blockchain. Blockchain is poised to radically change many industries — and E-commerce is no exception. Before we dive into how blockchain will change E-commerce for the better, let’s run through a few of the major problems facing the industry.

Visibility of the end-to-end customer journey 
 E-commerce is fiercely competitive. Customers expect nothing less than 100% satisfaction guarantees with their purchases and competitors are always one click away. Thus, it’s crucial to maintain and reward customers after they place an order. Most E-commerce platforms lack visibility into their customers’ end-to-end journeys — and worse, rarely let you effectively communicate with your customers.

Post purchase concerns such as shipping delays are not captured in detail or integrated with other customer experience data. Winning back customers is not an easy task and not having the needed information on what went wrong makes it nearly impossible.

Replenishing inventory
Typically, most E-commerce retailers don’t stockpile their full inventory of products displayed. It’s an ever-growing challenge to make the right decisions at the right time to meet peak demand during surge times or discount overstocked items at downtimes to maintain a healthy balance sheet. On the consumer side, this is challenging too, as they don’t know how many items are left on shelves, or when the replenishments will arrive. This often leads to missed cross selling opportunities or buying out of fear of missing out.

Global ecosystem operation 
Many E-commerce stores are internationally accessible. The challenge this presents is the procurement and shipping channels need to accommodate different import and export tariffs, custom regulatory scrutiny, trade agreements, etc. While at the same time maintaining a competitive price structure to stay relevant to their demanding clientele.

Authenticity and reviews 
In the age of social E-commerce, more consumers want to know the origins of a product, whether it was manufactured in ethical ways, if they paid a fair price, if their product was damaged during shipping, or if the product is indeed authentic or just a cheap knock-off. How do consumers receive all (or any) of this information? Other than rolling up their sleeves and extensively researching the supply chain, sourcing, and manufacturing of a retailer…they really can’t.

Authenticity on the reviews-side of things are often a problem, too. Amazon recently overhauled their reviews platform due to consumers making backchannel deals with retailers to leave positive and in-depth reviews — sometimes for products they never even purchased. To fully gain the trust of other consumers, E-commerce platforms must find a way to verify the authenticity of reviews or at least an authoritative verification that the reviewer bought and used the product.

How does blockchain play into this?

Blockchain enables trustless systems with full transparency into the status of an item, authenticity, and ownership. Additionally, with the lack of a needed and centralized operations team, there is no need for prohibitively high retailer fees — and those savings can be passed down to the consumer. It’s a win-win across the board.

This is the vision the Vanig team is seeing to fruition. We will get into the supply chain side of things in our next post, but by marrying blockchain with both the supply chain and E-commerce ecosystems, we are bringing entirely new standards to the industry. From manufacturer to consumers, we can apply the power of the blockchain to make shopping an amazing experience for everyone involved. We are developing the next generation of E-commerce transparency, authenticity, and most importantly — simplicity.

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