Why Blockchain is the Missing Piece in Retail

Consumers provide more value to the retail industry than simply the dollars they spend. Many shoppers aren’t aware of the mass amounts of personal information retailers are collecting about — and profiting from — all of us every day. If you shop at a major retailer often, they likely know your age range, style preferences, location, and more. Some shoppers brush this off as a way for companies to more effectively market products. Recently, the Daily Mail revealed how brick-and-mortar stores are using laser and motion sensors to track where customers are walking, and what products they physically gravitate to. More disturbingly, many retailers are starting to adopt facial recognition on a grand scale — including Walmart — and using consumers’ personal biometric data to inform their sales strategies. And that’s just a glimpse at what’s happening in-store.

Online, all our actions are tracked, analyzed, centralized, and monetized in order to extract maximum value from every customer’s every movement across the web. The accumulation and monopolization of this data in search, social, and ecommerce is exactly what’s made Google, Facebook, and Amazon some of the most valuable — and unbelievably powerful — companies on the planet.

Sure, there’s some advantages to customers in having their personal behavior and shopping patterns tracked in the form of better targeting by retailers (ie: getting products we actually want in front of us at cheap prices), but now that the center of modern commerce has shifted to massive online data centralizing marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, and Alibaba, we’ve seen Brands brought to their collective knees as the power to understand and better serve their customers has been hijacked on a grand scale. Even worse, because they have the most understanding of Brands and Shoppers, these marketplaces are using this data to actively copy their best-performing Brands with their own in-store lines, and promoting them more heavily to shoppers.

To help return the balance of power to Brands & Shoppers and protect the longevity of the Brands we love, we created EVERY*, the first cryptocurrency purpose-built for shopping and an accompanying blockchain-based protocol that empowers developers to create new decentralized retail experiences. Now, for the first time — via the EVERY* Wallet & Token — Shoppers are able to recapture and control their personal data and barter it in exchange for discounts from Brands as a native aspect of the shopping experience. Shoppers win when Brands understand what they love and are able to serve them with more meaningful, personalized retail experiences, and greater savings.

Our goal is to establish a thriving community of Brands and Shoppers that, for the first time, have complete control over the fair exchange of data and savings on their own terms. It’s difficult for one person to effect change in a huge industry, especially with such powerful forces in control, but hopefully, together, we can pave the way to the decentralized future of retail.

Originally published at medium.com on March 17, 2018.

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