2X eCommerce Podcast: Decentralize and Give Shoppers Full Control of their Data

Originally published at medium.com on March 28, 2018.

EVERY* CEO, John Wantz, was featured on 2X eCommerce’s podcast hosted by Kunle Campbell. Listen to John share his thoughts on blockchain, tokenized retail, and the value of EVERY for Brands and Shoppers.

Listen here: online, soundcloud, and iTunes.

SHOP is now EVERY* (Every instance of SHOP including the title has been changed for brand equity)

Sourcing Journal: How Serial Entrepreneur Uses Blockchain and Crypto to Reimagine Retail

This article was originally featured on Sourcing Journal on March 22, 2018. Written by Jessica Binns. (Link to original article.) SHOP is now EVERY* (Every instance of SHOP including the title has been changed for brand equity)

John Wantz thinks blockchain can create better relationships between brands and consumers.

Back in 2011, the serial entrepreneur co-founded Comr.se, a commerce-centered API for social networks, mobile and marketplaces. After a failed attempt to sell the startup to Target, Wantz joined the big-box chain’s innovation team and worked for a year on its secretive Project Goldfish initiative. When Target shut down Project Goldfish (as well as its Store of the Future innovation group) following disappointing holiday earnings, Wantz launched yet another startup, EVERY — which looks to the decentralized nature of blockchain technology to reimagine the retail experience and, Wantz hopes, to strengthen consumer relationships with brands.

At SXSW, EVERY revealed that it has acquired three other startups: Wantz’s own Comr.se, Kanga and venture capital-funded FoxCommerce, the latter two of which will be the first apps to run on SHOP’s blockchain protocol. While FoxCommerce’s website claims it’s an e-commerce platform designed for the digitally native brands disrupting retail today, Kanga says it’s a millennial-driven apparel marketplace — offering goods like Angie Bauer lingerie and collections from Diesel — with seemingly revolutionary rhetoric built into its mission. It’s “a brand-direct marketplace for those who reject the status quo. gamechangers. rule breakers. goodtrouble makers,” according to Kanga’s website.

Kanga, in particular, maintains that retail has had too much control over consumer data for far too long. But Kanga, according to its website, “empowers you to take your data back, control who knows what about you, and respects the value of your personal information by rewarding you for the data you choose to share.”

The EVERY technology ecosystem seems to be a response to Amazon and its obsessive control over brand data.

“We’re laser-focused on shopping and powering experiences that enhance the direct relationships between brands and shoppers,” Wantz said. “EVERY is establishing a decentralized retail ecosystem where brands and shoppers have the power to dictate how value will be exchanged amongst themselves based on shopper-controlled access to their own personal data and appropriate rewards given by brands in return.”

Those rewards come in the form of the EVERY cryptocurrency token, which shoppers receive for sharing information with brands such as their personal style preferences, profile info and purchase history. Consumers then can exchange tokens for discounts and other purchase incentives, according to SHOP. The company plans to sell 100 million EVERY tokens between May 14 and June 13 this year. Both Kanga and FoxCommerce — which was launched by former ModCloth co-founder and chief experience officer Adil Wali — were acquired via EVERY tokens.

“The EVERY token has been designed to support an ‘information marketplace’ that continually increases the amount of personal consumer data being shared between shoppers and brands,” Jamie OShea, EVERY CMO, explained. “This equitable exchange helps brands deliver more meaningful retail experiences to shoppers while returning greater savings to them in the process.”

“For shoppers, this is the first tool that empowers them to own and monetize their personal data, shifting that control out of the hands of third-party retailers like Amazon,” added OShea, who co-founded the counterculture art publication Juxtapoz and provided marketing consultant services to brands like Disney and Nike.

“Blockchain technology has the power to greatly improve many industries, and retail is chief among them,” Wali said. “EVERY is well positioned to be a large part of the meteoric rise of decentralized technology.”

Originally published at medium.com on March 28, 2018.

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.