- You could be sure the food you were buying was safe to eat like never before, with producers and retailers able to quickly pinpoint contamination or improper storage and remove affected items from the shelf immediately?
- You could nearly eliminate food waste throughout the supply chain by redirecting products nearing expiration to local food pantries?
- You could immediately check the sustainability or ethical credentials of a new sweater before you bought it, even tracing its provenance all the way back to the individual animal the wool was sourced from?
- You had a way to immediately verify the brand-name handbag you want to purchase on an online retail site is authentic and not a cheap counterfeit?
Blockchain technology makes all of this possible and more.
Trust and transparency: The new consumer battleground
Trust has always been a cornerstone of doing business. But with more and more commerce moving to digital channels, maintaining consumer trust is now more complex and challenging than ever. The reason? Today’s consumers have so many more choices and elevated expectations about the transparency consumer goods and retailers should offer. Consumers expect brands and retailers to fulfill their purpose.
But doing this quickly, accurately and efficiently is extremely difficult. And there’s one technology in particular that’s set to be a critical component of this change.
Blockchain: Radical transparency in the supply chain
Blockchain and the broader field of distributed ledger technology can potentially revolutionize supply chain transparency. By creating a single source of shared truth, updated in real time, blockchain supports fast and intelligent operations right across the consumer goods and retail value chain. From food safety to anti-counterfeiting, and from ethical manufacturing to the circular economy, there are numerous ways to use the technology to solve some of the biggest pain points for manufacturers, growers, suppliers, retailers, and customers.
Right now, tracking and tracing perishable food like fresh fruits, meat, fish, or frozen products through the supply chain is very time-consuming. When relevant data is tracked on a blockchain, the location, provenance and distribution of contaminated or faulty products can be pinpointed virtually instantaneously and removed from sale with almost surgical precision to keep products safe for consumers to use. Combining blockchain with the Internet of Things, companies can head off product safety issues before they even happen.
Blockchain also offers a new and more effective way to prove product authenticity. By tagging each individual product item with a unique identifier and tracking it on a blockchain, end-consumers and B2B buyers alike can view the full journey the product has taken since leaving the manufacturer. All parties get the assurance they need that the goods they are buying are precisely what it says on the label.
Consumers concerned about the provenance and sustainability of the products they buy can be reassured by tamper-proof blockchain. Every step in the growing and manufacturing process can be tracked, giving all parties an auditable record of exactly how, and from what, each product was created. As consumer goods brands seek to achieve relevance at scale, they can seize the possibilities of blockchain and address this evolving consumer need for verifiable sustainable products.
Concept proven. Time to show the value.
Blockchain technology is maturing fast and has the potential to disrupt the consumer goods and retail supply chains dramatically. That creates a new imperative for every company: to use the technology to disrupt the ecosystem or run the risk of being disrupted when someone else develops the industry platform.
Consumer goods and retail businesses need to be thinking about their blockchain strategies now. Here are four steps to get started…
Blockchain will revolutionize the future of customer transparency and trust. It’s set to catalyze new ways of engaging with customers and consumers, new ways of working, and new ways of delivering on brand purpose. The time to disrupt the ecosystem and release the trapped value in your supply chain is now.