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For many years now, technology experts have insisted that the blockchain was going to revolutionize the way the world does business. And in some ways, it has.
Big names like Walmart have integrated blockchain into their supply chain operations. Major banks adopted the technology one after another. And even some governments got into the act, putting blockchain to work to increase transparency and efficiency.
But many of the ways it has been used so far aren't really revolutionary. At best, blockchain is playing a supporting role in workflows that already existed. However, there's one industry where that seems to be changing: eCommerce.
Right now, blockchain is making a big splash in the eCommerce space, enabling new ways of doing things and disrupting the status quo. Here are three specific examples of that in action.
One of the biggest problems that has always plagued the eCommerce industry is figuring out how to handle the last-mile delivery of products. In developed countries, this involves a mix of carriers like UPS, FedEx, and local postal services.
But even those have their limitations. It's why Amazon has spent billions of dollars standing up its own delivery infrastructure.
But now, a blockchain-powered company called Buying.com is pushing a new solution to the last-mile delivery problem. They've developed a proprietary blockchain solution they call the Prime protocol that enables them to operate a true peer-to-peer delivery-on-demand system. It allows an unlimited number of independent drivers to function as local delivery fleets, but that's not all.
It also makes it possible to allow those same drivers to rent out available space in their properties to function as micro-warehouses. In other words, it's a decentralized version of the Amazon fulfillment center model, enabled by blockchain. In that way, even tiny eCommerce operations can provide quick and efficient product delivery that's good enough to compete with bigger competitors.
And for consumers, there's another benefit to the Prime protocol. It's that the platform's native $BUY token allows them to participate in social buying – unlocking huge price discounts on the items they need. It essentially groups similar purchases to qualify them for wholesale minimum purchase quantities at reduced prices compared to retail. Altogether, the Buying.com Prime protocol promises a top-to-bottom revolution in eCommerce. The token offering was launched on July 14th, 2021 at 9:00 AM PST in collaboration with TrustSwap.
Another blockchain-powered eCommerce company making waves in the industry is Splyt. But their blockchain solution attacks a different set of problems than Buying.com's Prime protocol. The Splyt system is a plug-and-play inventory and authenticity system that leverages eNFTs on the Polkadot network to track individual items.
But what's most interesting about the Splyt approach is that any existing eCommerce operation can use it without having to change anything about how they operate. That's because access to the Splyt ecosystem comes in the form of open-source plugins that integrate with selling solutions like Shopify and others.
That means it works as a bolt-on solution that can help sellers keep perfect inventory control as well as authenticate individual products – creating a counterfeit-free marketplace. That second function alone could help eCommerce operators put an end to an online counterfeit trade worth an estimated $509 billion every year.
And on top of that, the Splyt system also functions as a sales performance tracker that works with complete transparency and security. That means it can enable affiliate sales programs that are free from so-called double sales. That's when multiple affiliates sell the same physical item at almost the same time – leading to controversy over commissions and creating customer service nightmares. With Splyt managing inventory, it's possible to know who sold what in real-time – keeping things fair and eliminating unhappy customers.
Blockchain solutions are also finally making a dent in the eCommerce payments space, too. It's the use case that everyone expected to be a natural fit for the technology from the very beginning, but that never quite took off. But now, newcomers like Spacelens are approaching eCommerce payments in a whole new way that might finally succeed where conventional cryptocurrencies have failed.
They're doing it by creating a self-contained blockchain ecosystem that includes an eCommerce platform and a payment system in one. Buyers and sellers on the system use the platform's native $SPACE token to handle transactions, no matter where each is located. That eliminates the need for 3rd-party cross-border payment systems and also eliminates costly currency conversions that can see value fluctuations harming buyers or sellers alike at any given time.
And the platform also lets buyers search for and communicate with sellers in their area, which supports local economies in a way that traditional eCommerce does not. It's a function that should help to minimize the kinds of economic damage that eCommerce has done to small towns and cities all around the world, which alone is something Spacelens deserves applause for.
Although it's arriving much later than most people initially predicted, it looks like blockchain technology is finally having the revolutionary effect in eCommerce that everyone expected from the beginning. It's making it possible for small eCommerce companies to compete on an equal footing with giants like Amazon, cutting down on the avalanche of counterfeit goods that flood online marketplaces, and creating alternative payment solutions that solve multiple real-world problems.
And best of all, this is just the beginning. Now that the power of blockchain in eCommerce is apparent and on display for all to see, expect more innovators to rush in and explore its uses. As they do, we're likely to see an eCommerce industry reinvented from the inside out – benefitting buyers and sellers around the world for a long time to come.
Featured image and other article images via Pexels
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