The universal shopping profile presents one of the most challenging ideas in the retail industry to date. If accomplished, the ability to consolidate shopping data and increase personalization can create an entirely new way for consumers to shop. Taking that concept one step further and creating a decentralized profile that gives customers control of their own data would further benefit the shopping experience and represent meaningful progress on data rights.
But making this idea a reality is a difficult task; it is a shared effort that requires cooperation from both consumers and retailers. It would also require a facilitator to ensure that the process is handled smoothly and fairly — something my team and I have been working towards at Shopin. By uniting brands to create a new federation of retailers under a single decentralized profile, it is possible to enable this revolutionary step forward in the shopping experience. Such a federation would entail collecting purchase data from a wide variety of retailers in order to fully realize a higher level of personalization for customers and increase growth for the retailers.
Retailers are understandably hesitant to hand over their consumer purchase data. They are concerned that doing so will cause them to lose their edge in retaining customer interest over their competitors. But it is difficult for retailers to utilize the data effectively on their own, and they have infamously had trouble keeping that data secure.
Shopin’s platform can assist retailers by ensuring that data does not get abused or stolen. It also allows businesses to continue using their purchase data, but with the ability to utilize the data in more effective ways. Shopin combines next-gen AI, purchase data, and user preferences to generate accurate recommendations for customers, which in turn will increase sales conversions for retailers at a substantial rate. As an added bonus, customer data is stored on the blockchain, meaning that retailers will be safe from data hacks that compromise their customer relationships.
For consumers, the most obvious benefit to a universal shopping profile is the accessibility. The ability to shop with your favorite brands and stores under a single login would be a convenient change for consumers. In an age where technology is constantly evolving to make people’s lives easier, this level of universality is a highly appealing prospect.
The data collected from retailers is encrypted on the blockchain, leaving the consumers solely in control of their own data. With their purchase data fully secured, consumers can rest easy while enjoying a vastly improved shopping experience. Since the data is based on the blockchain, consumers will also have access to the Shopin token, a cryptocurrency that can be used to shop at participating retailers.
Instead of spending on marketing to reach consumers indirectly, offering Shopin tokens allow retailers to engage with shoppers and reward them for their attention and loyalty. The token also acts as an incentive to customers – they can spend the tokens they receive at their favorite stores, meaning that a retailer’s marketing dollars go directly back to them.
Retailers are always in competition with each other, but the vision for a federation of retailers is one that benefits all parties involved. The reality is that only 7 percent of retailers can recognize their shoppers across multiple channels and devices, and less than 3 out of 100 people will make a purchase after visiting a site. By integrating shopper purchase data into a universal profile platform for their customers, retailers can improve these rates for themselves.
In a sense, this concept takes the opposite approach to the competition-driven market, with retailers instead helping themselves and other retailers grow at the same time, enabling greater successes while providing an unprecedented shopping experience for customers.
It is in the best interest of retailers to form such a federation, and not simply because it will lead to more profits. For businesses that are looking to provide satisfaction and greater trust for their consumers, it is their responsibility to make strides toward stronger data rights.
These days, people are increasingly worried about their lack of control over data, fearing a dystopian future. Through creating a federation of retailers that places data securely on the blockchain, all fears of being controlled by one’s own data will become nonexistent whilst unprecedented value is realized for both sides of the table.