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Retail

Retailers all over the world are faced with an ever-increasing degree of complexity and competition. A deep understanding of supply chains, business drivers and customer behavior is a prerequisite to retailer differentiation. Existing analytical tools and databases are fragmented and incomplete, impeding the efficiency of building world-class retail solutions.

retail

Retail

The consumer facing nature of retail shapes the commercial environment in which we all exist. Retailers have for years understood the value blockchain technology can deliver in supply chain and stock management. Analog can amplify these benefits by adding the variable of searchable time data and by providing a top-class user interface.

Problems

  • Retail supply chain management and logistics are hampered by incomplete and unconsolidated datasets.
  • The shift to online retail is currently inefficient, with no complete solution for tracking and monitoring of trends being available.
  • Lack of time-bound, SKU level consumer data means promotions and sales may be launched at sub-optimal times.
  • Unverified corporate governance claims mean ethical sourcing and product authenticity is difficult to prove.

Problem

The complexities, challenges and opportunities within the retail sector have never been greater. From managing supply chains to engaging customers with targeting deals and analyzing sales performances, the Analog Network offers a multitude of solutions to diverse retail problems.

Online sales

COVID-19 has accelerated the existing trend towards online consumer spending. As more people are homebound or hesitant to enter crowded places, there is a natural shift towards the convenience and safety of the internet. This affords retailers a great opportunity to track consumer trends over time, offer targeted rewards and earn loyalty through the use of flash sales.

However, existing technology does not sufficiently capture this potential. Data on consumers and their spending are held in disparate centralized databases which may not be easily merged. There may not be sufficient data to accurately assess the ideal timing of flash sales, and notifying ideal target customers of the existence of these sales may be problematic.

Authenticity and ethical sourcing of goods

Customers are often interested in the ethical sourcing and authenticity of goods on sale. For example, when purchasing a brand-name item from an independent retailer, a customer may wish to verify that the item was produced as advertised by the brand in question. Similarly, as the focus on corporate social responsibility grows, many consumers try to target their spending on goods that demonstrably cause minimal environmental or social harm.

The complexities of modern supply chains are such that retailers may currently struggle to demonstrate the sourcing and the authenticity of their goods in an objectively verifiable manner.

Distribution and logistics

The aforementioned trend towards online sales has increased the granularity of distribution networks. Rather than proceeding from wholesaler to warehouse to retail outlet, online sales must be distributed from the warehouse to specific customer addresses across the globe. Similarly, items must be delivered individually according to order volumes rather than simply in bulk to replenish retail outlet supplies.

Given the numerous entities involved in each step in the distribution chain, it is often not possible to have an end-to-end picture of the entire supply chain. Retailers may know for example the stock they have in their warehouses, but not the exact time and date of delivery of items to customers. This leaves them open to fraudulent claims (ie, packages incorrectly claimed to be not delivered) or customer complaints if there are unexplained delays.

Monitoring sales performance

Understanding historic sales trends is essential for retailers when planning their strategy and optimizing operational efficiency. Understanding how individual SKU sales volumes vary at different price points in different locations can shed light on how best to price that SKU in the future. Tracking of sales volumes by SKU by location can help add detail to and improve confidence in sales forecasts. Granular historic data can help management assess the performance of various sales teams, and tailor incentives/targets to best motivate sales improvements.

While most retailers do currently track this data, it may typically be stored in numerous systems and platforms and may not be easily searchable and presentable. If the data is not comprehensive or is not easy to manipulate and analyze, it is not being maximized in terms of value extraction.

online shopping

Solutions

  • The Analog Timegraph can act as a single source of time-bound sales data, tracking customer trends and sales performance over time.
  • The Timegraph can be integrated with online sales data to facilitate a greater understanding of internet-based retail trends.
  • The Analog API can deliver user-friendly search, manipulation and display to solve data issues undermining product promotions, delivery times and by SKU performance analysis.
  • Corporate governance and materials sourcing proof can be stored in the Timegraph, allowing easy verification of supply chain and authenticity claims.

Solution

Online sales

By incentivizing customers to submit their sales data to the Timegraph, retailers can more easily gain an understanding of their online sales profile. For example, if all customer purchases are on the Timegraph, this presents the retailer with a searchable database of sales, by time, by demographic, by price, etc. This allows them to understand their customer base in greater detail.

These insights can be monetized in numerous ways. As an example, if a retailer sees spikes in demand for a certain product after work between 7 pm and 10 pm, they will know that this may be an optimal time to advertise to customers online or to run a flash sale. Similarly, they can offer time-bound discounts/promotions notifications to potentially interested customers via an interface on the Analog API.

Authenticity and ethical sourcing of goods

Retailers can incentivize via the use of Analog tokens the submission of detailed data by all parties along the supply chain. For example, the producers of raw materials can submit to the Timegraph authenticated documentation proving that they have complied with all ethical standards and that their employees have been fairly treated. As the data on the Timegraph is all objectively verified and searchable, customers can then use it to confirm retailers’ claims regarding the behavior of third parties in their supply chain.

Similarly, when purchasing brand name items from other companies, retailers can request that sales receipts be submitted to the Timegraph. This again can serve as proof to customers that the items they wish to purchase are authentic.

Distribution and logistics

Retailers can incentivize the submission of tracking data to the Timegraph from all third parties in their supply chain. This can address the visibility gaps at both source and delivery that can result in delayed or incomplete deliveries.

For example, traditionally a retailer may rely on a distribution expert like FedEx or DHL to deliver an order from a customer. This reliance on third parties for delivery can result in low visibility over the package after it leaves the warehouse. By incentivizing the delivery company to submit time-bound tracking data to the Timegraph, the retailer will be able to use the Analog API to track the status of the delivery. This information can be used to better communicate the delivery status to their customers, ensure timeliness of orders and disincentivize fraudulent claims.

Monitoring sales performance

The Timegraph can act as a single source of data, making analysis and data-driven decision-making far more efficient. If a retailer submits time-stamped data on each outlet, SKU, sales team, etc, this will be recorded immutable on-chain and will be searchable from then on. Instead of needing to manually compile and clean data from various systems and sources, the Timegraph can then simply be searched and manipulated as required to any provide any desired split of data. This process can be made more user-friendly if the retailer elects to work through an interface on the Analog API.

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