On the Same Page: Blockchain, Communication and E-Commerce
Communication. Coordination. User experience. These aren't typically the traits that come to mind when discussing blockchain. Instead, many associate the technology with its ability to increase transparency. However, when we think past transparency, the blockchain conversation comes into full bloom.
Direct-to-consumer e-commerce is endlessly complex. The flows of information are endless, channels seem to multiply every day, and consumers expect the whole retail experience to be simpler, faster and more convenient than ever before. Naturally, these challenges fall on the individual brands, and they must overcome them in order to deliver a great consumer experience.
When we think through the applications of blockchain in e-commerce, this is the key question: What can blockchain technologies do to make the complex industry simpler? More importantly, how can simplicity benefit brands and their customers?
At its core, a blockchain organizes information. It's a ledger of transactions hosted on a decentralized peer-to-peer network. This architecture is significant because no matter the number of participants on a network, they all share the same view of a single ledger.
How Can Retailers Benefit From Blockchain?
1. Bridge communication gaps.
In its current state, each player in the e-commerce space speaks a different language, with every business having their own system. Service providers, vendors and marketplaces develop these systems in silos to meet their specific organizational needs. Some processes are automated, some are software assisted, and some are paper-and-pen, which makes coordination difficult.
When information is passed between organizations, details get lost in translation. The industry’s solution to this problem has been to infuse the process with more steps. Third parties are brought on to work in between supply chain services, fulfillment partners, vendors, warehouses and manufacturers to prevent data loss and errors, which only complicates matters further.
Historically, integration is the biggest obstacle when growing a business. It seems impossible to have organizations speak the same language because each business has its own way of working. The promise of blockchain technology for e-commerce is how it channels the information needed for coordinating the full transaction process onto one shared platform.
2. Simplify the fulfillment process.
Blockchain technology simplifies the supply chain from manufacturing to fulfillment, and vice versa, by establishing a single shared view of transactions. By managing transactions on a blockchain, each participant is able to access documents and data in a single place, view requested information on-demand, and make updates according to their organization’s responsibilities.
Blockchain has the potential to streamline workflows at scale, both within businesses and between them. From digitizing the supply chain to streamlining inventory management and order processing, information management on blockchain helps businesses work better and smarter.
Simplifying how information is organized, blockchain technology makes the entire e-commerce process more efficient. With increased efficiency achieved through organized information, blockchain brings communication, coordination and user experience front and center. Blockchain allows for greater collaboration across businesses, creating satisfaction for service providers and vendors and, in turn, empowering brands to think bigger about how they deliver value to everyday consumers.
Julian Kahlon is founder and CEO of Project Verte, a full-circle e-commerce solution.
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