Eran Eyal

Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence Are Shopin Solution For – Wait For It – Shopping

Blockchain, Innovation, News | January 12, 2018 By:

Shopin is envisioned as a universal shopping digital application that delivers a personal shopping experience on retail websites, leveraging the benefits of blockchain and A.I. technology.

Running on the ethereum blockchain, Shopin recently partnered with iExec, a cloud platform that will allow it to run as a decentralized application that will scale to enterprise levels, enabling its use by potentially millions of shoppers and retailers. Information shared by Shopin can be mined by retailers for special offers and targeted ads, but controlled by customers, who will determined how, when, and where they use their preferences and purchase history data.

The use of BigChainDB as a federated private blockchain configuration will allow Shopin to attain one million transactions per second, a significant increase in transaction speed over ethereum’s current limit of 7-15 transactions per second.  And Shopin’s planned cryptocurrency will eventually enable retailers to offer universal loyalty rewards at multiple retailers across the globe.

Headquartered in New York, Shopin has raised $4.6M to date from Deep Fork Capital, Outbound Ventures, and angel investors from Google, ZocDoc and others. In early 2018, Shopin will hold a token sale to fully develop its product and scale operations.

CEO Eran Eyal talked to Block Tribune about the company’s plans and vision.

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  How does this work from a consumer’s point of view?

ERAN EYAL:  It’s simple. First, partner retailers will invite their customer base via email to create a Shopin Profile via the Shopin IQ Quiz — a fun gamified way to provide information about the shoppers favorite type of clothing, style, colors, materials, looks, etc. The input will be visual and text, meaning that a shopper can snap pictures of items they love and enter information via visual prompts and text descriptions. Shoppers create a unique profile by entering their individual shopping preferences.

When a shopper visits a participating Shopin Retail Partner eCommerce site, or goes into their physical store, they will be prompted to turn on their Shopin profile,which is branded to look and feel like the partner retailer. In the Shopin profile,  consumers will find a “JUST FOR YOU” tab. Once the shopper grants access to their profile, Shopin’s artificial intelligence-powered recommendation engine will perform the following tasks in the background:  ingest the SKU of the site or physical store, and based on the purchase history of the shopper, will generate recommendations on the “JUST FOR YOU” tab. If a shopper is in the physical store, Shopin will provide recommendations based on style, size, etc. to the store’s personal shopper or team member. At this stage, retailers will not gain access to the purchase history of the shopper. Rather, they will benefit from Shopin’s recommendation engine and A.I. (artificial intelligence) to ensure they suggest the right sizes, items and styles.

Third, shoppers share their unique Shopin profile and purchase history with multiple retailers to get the most accurate product recommendations, discover new brands and get exclusive deals.

Shoppers automatically receive the most personal product recommendations and deals without having to search for them on the partner retailer site or physical store.

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  How does it work from a retailer point of view?

ERAN EYAL:  Inside the Shopin app, retailers reward Shopin tokens to consumers in return for access to communicate with shoppers with curated offers/deals powered by Shopin’s recommendation engine and A.I. based on their most up to date and complete purchase history data and preferences in their Shopin profile. Retailers can deliver personalized offers (e.g., discounts via opt-in ads), more accurate product recommendations, and a more convenient overall shopping experience. To advertise on the shopper profile and engage in other programs, the retailer will offer Shopin Tokens, which shoppers can redeem to offset purchase prices.

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  What’s the cost to retailer? Rewards for using?

ERAN EYAL:  Shopin charges an upfront integration fee and monthly packages in 18-month contracts. Our vision is for all retailers, small and large, to be part of this movement. We are proponents of true inclusivity. Our long-term goal is to eventually make this available for free for retailers.

Retailer benefits include:

  • Full access to Shopin’s ingestion engine which can handle 25MM SKU in milliseconds

  • Recommendations powered by Shopin’s A.I. based on shopper’s preferences and purchase data history, sizes, and wishlists, resulting in:

    • More complete understanding of shoppers,

    • increased transactional conversions

    • higher customer margins and fewer returns

    • immediate GDPR compliance. For U.S. readers, GDPR, General Data Protections Rules, compliance is when company’s meet  the EU’s most stringent guidelines for protecting customers’ data. This is also critical for U.S.-based, multinational companies doing business in Europe. The GDPR EU directive will come into effect on May 25, 2018.

Consumer benefits include:

  • Full control and ownership of their personal data including size, style, price preferences, etc. (data is not stored with Shopin or the retailer, and retailers will never gain ownership of the data )

  • The most personalized shopping recommendations that align with their preferences

  • Share their Shopin profile with friends and family to receive gifts that match their preferences

  • One wishlist for the entire Web

  • Single click checkout

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  Do you have any retail businesses already on board?

ERAN EYAL:  We are in active conversations and have commitments from a variety of multi-brand retailers, sportswear brands, and larger Fortune 500 retailers who want to participate with the Shopin Network.

This also goes deeper to PE companies that own dozens of brands who are struggling to increase  revenues and conversions across their portfolio and see Amazon as a direct assault in their region. And, we have partnerships forming with large eCommerce and merchant technology platforms.

Also, we have completed two (2) 30-day retailer pilots with a high-end fashion brand and a home goods big box retailer. Shopin demonstrated tremendous success; more than 700,000 shoppers signed up for the service, generating $14.7M incremental revenue for the retailers. Shoppers who used a Shopin profile received product recommendations that lead to a 22% increase  in transactional conversion over other shoppers who did not receive the Shopin product recommendations.

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  Can you opt out on having certain products known?

ERAN EYAL:   Yes. The shopper is in full control of their data.

Due to Shopin’s decentralized platform, we work with retailers where consumers shop to provide them with shopper-approved access to our recommendation engine A.I.,which will scan the shopper historical purchase data and provide relevant recommendations. Shopin puts  the consumers in control of who they share data with to get the perfect recommendations and deals.

BLOCK TRIBUNE Is variable pricing based on past consumer behaviors and price points an option?  In other words, can some be charged less/more based on behaviors?

ERAN EYAL:  Product pricing is at the discretion of the retailer. Our A.I. will take into consideration the sensitivity of the shopper to certain deals so that the retailer recommendations will result in best possible conversions. Meaning, if a shopper is deal sensitive, the recommendations will reflect that.

Furthermore, accurate dynamic pricing will finally be available for each customer in scale. Since Shopin is dealing with one-to-one data models in scale rather than audience-based models, we are able to provide the retailer with suggestions of what pricing range the shopper has previously bought similar items across the web.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Atomic swaps – Does this solve ethereum scaling issues?

ERAN EYAL:  Atomic Swaps are necessary to allow for the Shopin Tokens move from the Shopin Blockchain to the ethereum Blockchain. The distributed nature of the Shopin Blockchain allows us to scale up to over 1 million transactions per seconds,which is necessary for a mass consumer application.

The use of atomic swaps, thanks to the iExec partnership, enables Shopin to scale its application to enterprise-level needs for millions of shoppers and retailers, enhance the benefits of the Ethereum blockchain without restrictions, and democratize shopper data by giving consumers full ownership and control over how, when, and where retailers  use their preferences and purchase history data.

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  What are your ICO plans?  What will the distribution be?

ERAN EYAL:  Shopin is in a pre-revenue stage and has raised a small previous seed round as well as token sale participation from DeepFork Capital, SeedInvest, Outbound Ventures, and angel investors from Google, ZocDoc, other significant leading crypto funds, VC funds, hedge funds, and well-known entrepreneurs.  The company is planning to raise $45M via a digital token sale in Q1 of 2018.  Shopin Tokens will be distributed as follows: 1) 500M tokens will be sold at the Public Token Sale. 2) 500M tokens will be kept in reserve for retailer, user, and partnership incentives. 3) 500M tokens (10% of which will be held for future hires) will be held by the company for the Shopin team, advisors and early investors with a 3 year lockup (yearly releases) based on milestones.

Shopin is in a pre-revenue stage and has raised a small previous seed round as well as token sale participation from DeepFork Capital, SeedInvest, Outbound Ventures, and angel investors from Google, ZocDoc, other significant leading crypto funds, VC funds, hedge funds, and well-known entrepreneurs.  The company is planning to raise $45M via a digital token sale in Q1 of 2018.  Shopin Tokens will be distributed as follows: 1) 500M tokens will be sold at the Public Token Sale. 2) 500M tokens will be kept in reserve for retailer, user, and partnership incentives. 3) 500M tokens will be held by the company for the Shopin team, advisors and early investors with a 3 year lockup (yearly releases) based on milestones, 10% of which will be held in reserve for future hires.

Shopin recently won the 2017 CoinAgenda Global blockchain startup competition, voted by a panel of top angel investors and digital currency funds as the Best ICO and Startup from over 45 competitors. The company also recently placed in the Top 5 ICOs at the prestigious event, Davos d10E.

BLOCK TRIBUNE:  How will you make money?

ERAN EYAL:  Shopin has a hybrid SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) business model and earns revenue on API data calls from retailers based on a percentage of transactional sales lift.  Shopin charges an upfront integration fee and monthly packages in 18-month contracts.

We have plans for several other future revenue streams as Shopin’s network reaches scale

BLOCK TRIBUNE: What are your views on the future of brick and mortar retail?

ERAN EYAL:  Today brands and retailers are hurting (daily closings of stores, chain bankruptcies and a significant drop in the number of people employed in retail over the past 18 years.) Retailers have lost their relationship with their customers and rely more every day on Amazon, Facebook and Google to sell their products/fashion.

Not only are the retailers losing more market share every day to Amazon, they are facing full frontal assault with Amazon launching private labels and buying encumbered retailers such as American Apparel, Target, Whole Foods etc. We predict that these are only the first of many such acquisitions in the march to consolidate the retail world under the Amazon banner.

Furthermore, retailers are bleeding at the seams in advertising spend to capture the attention of the customer. But, when they advertise on Facebook and Google, all the funds flow out to those partners, but never back to shoppers or the retail ecosystem.

Shopin’s vision is to create a more sustainable retail economy where retailers become stronger by working together and shoppers get rewarded based on the value of data that they fully own, control, and share.  The main reason retail isn’t working is because retailers have not had a full, complete view of their customers — both online and in physical storefronts. Both online and brick-and-mortar retailers need access to accurate first-party data in order to create a more personal shopping experience and better serve their customers.