Blockchain Technology: Winning the Trust of Millennials and Retailers

Opinion | June 15, 2018 By:

Have you ever worn a piece of clothing that was marked as one size fits all? The idea is that it’s supposed to be universally flattering no matter what shape, size or even gender the individual is. That never works. By trying to cater to everyone, it fits no one. That’s why many consumers are turned off by the idea of one size fits all – whether it pertains to clothing, or in this case, coupons. Customization is needed to optimize consumer pricing, but that customization requires data. Data that consumers are hesitant to share with brands they don’t trust.

Historically, coupons have generally been uniform. If a consumer buys Coca-Cola every week or once in a blue moon, the coupon they received likely saves them the same amount of money. Even with new and popular coupon apps, like Groupon and LivingSocial, personalized offers are still not the standard. Is there a better way to provide great deals that’s not generic? Well, consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies and retailers are exploring blockchain technology to not only add security and streamline the costs of creating a coupon, but to customize coupons to fit to a person’s spending habits.

Blockchain technology allows brands to offer more pointed coupons to the consumer, creating a mutually-beneficial, win-win situation. The shopper gets coupons he or she needs, and, as a result, is more apt to make a purchase at a brand’s brick-and-mortar establishment or website. The brand not only benefits in the form of revenue, but also by setting the groundwork to earn a loyal customer and advocate.

To make a highly tailored coupon, consumers must share some personal information with the brand; however, there is now a distrust in sharing this information. Millions of users’ personal data was shared in the Facebook data breach, by Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm. It’s also been widely reported that Russian hackers used Facebook profile data to try to influence millions of voters in the 2016 presidential election. Why should consumers share data when it is sold without their knowledge?

The Facebook data breach broke the trust between the consumer and social media companies. It also accentuated a fear that many have: information can be shared with companies and retailers unbeknownst to the consumer, and what’s worse, hackers could easily gain access to intimate details, making everyone a vulnerable target. Blockchain could be the way to assuage that fear. Blockchain returns the power of data sharing back to the consumer, because his or her information is released knowingly. At A7 Core, we use a permission-based blockchain that only communicates with verified nodes and never transmits personally identifiable information. Verifying nodes also allow for brands to monitor sensitive information and only deliver what is necessary for a transaction. We apply a blockchain sidechain sharding technology that makes sure that different participants in other ecosystems do not have access to data that’s not relevant to them or they don’t have permission to see. Permission-based blockchain offers both security and privacy.

Despite privacy concerns overall, many consumers are still willing to share personal information with brands if they can reap benefits. According to a study conducted by Columbia Business School, 75 percent of millennials would give their personal data to companies; however, the caveat is that they are only willing to share this data with brands that they trust. So, the onus is now on brands and corporations to do what it takes to protect that information. The security of blockchain technology allows retailers to confidently take on that responsibility and use the information to provide the best deals possible to the consumer.