Blockchain in Retail: Use Cases


Oleksii Skurikhin

Time to read

7 min

October 17, 2022

1. Available options

Let’s consider the most popular options for adopting blockchain for retail companies. All the possibilities suggest that we can build the system from scratch or make a bridge between the existing solution and a new one for the first time. Moreover, it allows for reducing costs and testing hypotheses safely.

1.1 Employee recognition program

Blockchain is the ideal tool to build something more significant than the outdated encouraging methods in other retail companies.

We can build a genuinely gamified micro-economy among the company workers.

  • The first step is to create your crypto assets that can bring value by themselves,
  • Further, the manager can set up the rules that control the rewarding system, for instance: employee rating - where each employee can reward another with a special NFT, monthly sales - when an employee overcomes such a limit, they get a crypto token for the reward, consumer rating - when a consumer can not only say thank you but gives a bonus to the employee via two clicks on the mobile app.
  • An internal point system gathers all the information and allows one to understand the current situation and foresee future employee behavior.
  • Employees have complete control over their tokens, so they can buy goods in the internal store, trade tokens for money, or transfer them to each other as a reward for performing particular tasks.

1.2 Consumer loyalty programs

Brand loyalty has always been one of the keys to success for retail businesses, especially nowadays after covid.

There are a few ways to improve your loyalty program:

  • Charge crypto tokens for buying goods in the store and allow you to pay with these tokens in your store or affiliate networks.
  • Create an NFT collection associated with your loyalty program. For example, it could be 10,000 unique cartoon pictures with different designs that the clients can sell in the future.
  • The retail application can convert monthly cashback rewards to popular crypto such as BTC, ETH, etc.
  • Consumers can donate their tokens to some charity organization from the affiliate networks.
  • The last but not the least option is creating the cash app with a debit cash card. Each time the users pay with the app, they receive some percent cashback paid out in internal tokens or popular cryptos like BTC and stablecoins.

1.3 Tokenized investment

Tokenization is an updated version of traditional fractionalized property ownership in the real estate business. We can adapt this approach to the retail industry and attract more investment to open a new store or to expand an existing one.

The idea is simple - you can just convert your store into digital tokens; everyone who buys those tokens becomes an investor in your property and own a portion of the equity. Furthermore, the system can obligate each investor to pass through the KYC (Know Your Customer) process for authorization and ask additional questions before allowing them to buy tokens.

In their turn, investors get passive income via affordable investment.

1.4 Other options

  1. Control the whole supply chain to prevent counterfeit goods and fraud; also, it builds transparency and allows end users to know where their order is and your employee to organize the proper inventory management.
  2. You can allow the use of crypto as a payment method in your store.
  3. There is also a way to provide direct person-to-merchant transactions and allow clients to receive distributed loans within your society.

2. Implementation

2.1 Crypto asset

Crypto assets are smartcontracts-controlled objects that exist only in a blockchain network and can prove ownership and provide transfer functionality. If the object initially wasn’t a digital asset, it could become one. For example, you can convert a photo into an NFT or create tokens representing the property's ownership.

There are two popular types of digital assets:

  • Cryptocurrency - fungible token, like a reward point
  • NFT - unique and not mutually interchangeable cryptographic token like an art object or branded T-shirt for a client’s metaverse hero or another personal gift.

2.2 Mobile Application

One of the obstacles on the way to absorbing blockchain is necessary to install and set up crypto-wallets, understand how blockchain works, etc.

The mobile application eliminates this issue because the app works like a wallet. Different options depend on the market: check employee rewards and transactions, make a gift, chat with each other, buy, send and receive crypto assets. In addition, the app can transform the phone into a physical loyalty card through integration with NFC.

2.3 Control center

The control center is a web application that provides all necessary functions to set up, observe and control the system.

There could be a variety of subsystems such as:

  • Program manager: The primary tool for creating and adjusting the different programs such as the Loyalty program, employee recognition program, etc.
  • Block explorer: an engine that enables everybody to retrieve real-time and historical data about transactions, addresses, and more.
  • Token builder: service for deploying and controlling tokens, including minting, burning, etc. Here admin can create new badges, for instance.
  • Analytics: an engine that allows monitoring of all the system’s metrics via charts on the main dashboard. You can inspect in real-time how your consumers, partners, or employees are reacting to different incentives and a variety of options for report generation.
  • Alarms: triggers that inform responsible persons about some unusual activity etc.
  • UAC: User access control.