• Retail

Blockchain: a lever of performance in the retail world?

  • Published on 14 June 2019

Digital transformation is currently a hot topic that affects businesses and individuals alike. A promise of increased performance, digital transformation is changing the way of doing things and understanding everyday life in all sectors. Transformation of markets, of working conditions, productivity ... the impacts are multiple and the progress is constant.

Blockchain plays a major role in digital transformation and is a technology that has the potential to disrupt the world we live in. The origin of blockchain goes back to 2008, with the birth of the Bitcoin crypto currency. The initial ambition was the following: to create an information storage and transmission technology, transparent, secure, and functioning without a central control body or intermediary. The blockchain has the particularity of not being hosted on a single server, which allows to offer a very high level of security while ensuring flawless traceability.

Security and traceability at the heart of the concerns of retailers

Retail players are being hit hard by the digital transformation and the new modes of consumption associated with it. In a world where transparency is now the norm and digital tools are driving growth and profitability, the blockchain has its place in the retail sector.

The digital revolution is pushing the retail world to respond to new challenges. First and foremost, it is imperative to secure the transactions and confidential data that pass through these exchanges. Then, it is absolutely essential to guarantee an irreproachable traceability of the products and the transactions carried out. Following the various food scandals that have rocked France in recent years, retailers have started to work in order to be able to urgently identify the products involved in recall notices.

It is in this context that the blockchain can reveal all its interest, both for retailers but also for the other actors in the supply chain. The many projects that have emerged around this very promising technology bear witness to its potential.

A supply chain under control thanks to the blockchain

Before being marketed, each product goes through a multitude of stages in the supply chain: production, planning, inventory management, processing by logistics providers, carriers... During this journey, all the various supply chain actors use different software that processes a large amount of data associated with the product. Shattered and scattered, the data are not always homogeneous while, at the end of the chain, the retailer must be able to ensure the traceability of the product before it can be offered for sale.

The blockchain is a serious path to improve the relations between the different actors of the supply chain. Among other things, it makes it possible to avoid the harmful consequences of an approximate traceability like the penalties applied to suppliers suspected of not having transmitted computerized batch data to retailers in good time. It is also an excellent way to ensure complete and shared product traceability, while actively participating in the fight against counterfeiting. A few things remain to clarify such as the latency and validation of blocks to take full advantage of the blockchain.

Towards a traceability accessible to the consumers

Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding in terms of transparency and suspicious of the origin and content of their products. They now want to be certain of the veracity of the information specified in the product descriptions and to have access to more advanced traceability data. The blockchain can be used as a lever to (re) gain the trust of consumers by offering them a platform for access to information related to traceability - from manufacturing to product marketing - which is based on the integrity of the dat

The blockchain is pushing the boundaries and opens up new perspectives. The compartmentalized vision of logistics gives way to a 360 ° vision that includes the consumer who becomes a full-fledged player in the logistics chain, and who, in this sense, can also interact with the other actors.

 

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