Omnichannel is one of those buzzwords that a lot of marketers obsess about. Simply put, it is about “meeting [customers] when, and where, they choose,” said Mike Froggatt of brand intelligence firm L2. Companies can achieve this ideal by maintaining a constant customer experience online and offline. Doing so will require complicated setups that link many buyer and seller channels. Here’s where blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, can come to the rescue.

Why omnichannel is hard?

Providing the kind of level-up service that the omnichannel ideal demands is easier said than done. Under this ideal, there are dozens of ways for customers to shop and for stores to send their products to the buyer. Each possible combination of links between buyer and seller can lead to different payment, shipping, and service methods. Also, customers often want to be provided with more options when it comes to paying for or picking up their purchases. These demands lead to a tangle-prone web of contracts, rules, and complications needed to be able to offer omnichannel.

For example, let’s look closely to one such channel: the app. When you register for a brand’s app, you’re immediately asked about your identity. There are cyber security and verification processes involve, just to check that you are indeed… you. There’s another checking process with your bank or online platform when you pay for what you bought. Ditto for other functions such as logistics, loyalty programs, and more. That’s a lot of middlemen and checking, if you ask me.

And as we discussed before, all these middlemen make deals cumbersome and cast doubts. The issue of trust multiplies greatly with more payment avenues, especially online. Stores seek to replicate the customer experience of their physical stores to the Internet in the name of omnichannel. But the sad part is that customers tend to distrust retailers when it comes to handling their private data. For instance, 61% of Americans expressed little or no confidence in brands’ handling of data, a September 2016 survey from the Pew Research Center stated.

Why blockchain will make omnichannel easier?

As we can see a big part of what makes omnichannel complicated is the issue of trust across buyers, sellers, and others. And that issue can be resolved greatly through blockchain.

As early as last year, IBM looked into what blockchain can do to hasten retailers’ move to omnichannel. Right now, all trading systems rely on central authorities like banks or online payment platforms to check each deal, IBM noted. And a lot of time and money is spent on that arrangement, making deals slower and costlier.

What blockchain can do is to get rid of the middleman. By its nature, blockchain stores all transaction data on a network of computers that constantly updates for each deal. This set-up, as shown below, is secure, as the publicly available data stored on the network is encrypted in a way that only the buyer and the seller can see the details of that deal. This safer method of listing deals offered by blockchain can make it easier for retailers to add more ways to connect with customers. This will bring stores closer to offering an omnichannel experience.

 

And as we discussed before, it takes a lot of middlemen for even just one deal to be checked and noted as true. The issue of trust multiplies greatly with more payment avenues, especially online. Stores seek to replicate the customer experience of their physical stores to the Internet in the name of omnichannel. But the sad part is that customers tend to distrust retailers when it comes to handling their private data. For instance, 61% of Americans expressed little or no confidence in brands’ handling of data, a September 2016 survey from the Pew Research Center stated.

Why blockchain will make omnichannel easier?

As we can see a big part of what makes omnichannel complicated is the issue of trust across buyers, sellers, and others. And that issue can be resolved greatly through blockchain.

As early as last year, IBM looked into what blockchain can do to hasten retailers’ move to omnichannel. Right now, all trading systems rely on central authorities like banks or online payment platforms to check each deal, IBM noted. And a lot of time and money is spent on that arrangement, making deals slower and costlier.

What blockchain can do is to get rid of the middleman. By its nature, blockchain stores all transaction data on a network of computers that constantly updates for each deal. This set-up is secure, as the publicly available data stored on the network is encrypted in a way that only the buyer and the seller can see the details of that deal. This safer method of listing deals offered by blockchain can make it easier for retailers to add more ways to connect with customers. This will bring stores closer to offering an omnichannel experience.

And this is just one area where blockchain can improve on how retail companies do business. IBM also noted that the benefits of the cryptocurrency technology may also include improvements in customer loyalty programs, fraud detection, supply chain management, and more.

Like IBM, Appsolutely is bullish on the transformative potential of blockchain. We see a future where an omnichannel loyalty wallet will allow you to use your points to shop on any retailer brand and more. Read more about our vision here.