If you’re a major retailer, you’re aware of the importance of engaging with your customers on multiple channels — online review sites, in-store, mobile apps, social media, and beyond. Research has shown that customers who use multiple channels feel knowledgeable and ready to purchase. In the apparel, home, and electrical sectors they spend 82% more than customers who use only one channel.

However, even the biggest brands still struggle to create a truly unified experience for customers across these channels because they’re still, inherently, disparate. Each channel has its own systems, rules, and requirements. Online stores may function with inventory and systems of record that are separate from the brand’s physical store. Physical stores sometimes use highly customized POS solutions that don’t apply to online sales.

Digital objects on the blockchain makes the notion of a unified customer experience feasible and cost-effective. But before we look at the different components of your customers’ experiences (and how digital objects improves them), let’s have a quick refresher on the technology itself. Blockchain can carry immense loads of data. The data is distributed, transparent, and virtually unhackable.

Any object that exists in the real world such as a coupon, ticket, giftcard, etc can be replicated as a digital object. Because these objects exist on a blockchain, they have similar characteristics as cryptocurrency because they are finite, traceable and offer true ownership.

Make Static Objects Dynamic and Interactive

There’s endless potential for digital objects on the blockchain in retail, but let’s start with digital coupons. We’ve all drummed our fingers as the shopper in front of us at checkout fumbled to pull up a digital coupon. That’s the old paradigm — a coupon lives in a database, or on a piece of paper. The customer doesn’t own it. If a customer wants to use a coupon, they have to put forth the effort to browse to the right webpage, download the app, or clip the coupon out of a mailer. It’s a hassle. Coupons as digital objects on the blockchain, on the other hand, live in your very own digital wallet.

BLOCKv Demo: Capturing a Digital Object from a Display using the Web Viewer

As illustrated in the following demonstration, shoppers can capture unique digital objects such as an in-store redeemable coupon simply by snapping a picture with their phones. This is a great way for brands to drive trips and engage shoppers in store.

Now, imagine your customers have multiple digital objects on the blockchain in their digital wallet. They can view all of their coupons in one place (rather than having some in paper form, some in a web browser, and others in-app). They can track easily loyalty rewards programs and points. And, perhaps most interesting of all, they can share, trade, or sell these items because they have actual redeemable value.

 Interactive Engagement In-Store 

Brands want consumers to understand and love what they make. Overloaded store employees can’t be fully trained on all products, so some brands have turned to technology to help. One solution has been interactive end cap displays. 

But displays that interact with a shoppers phone in stores present a few problems:

  1. They aren’t cheap since each one has its own internet of things (IoT) behind the scenes e.g. sensors and beacons
  2. They’re not multifunctional nor do they offer a seamless experience
  3. The shopper needs to download another mobile application to their phone with Bluetooth enabled just to participate.

How can you take a static endcap display and transform it into something dynamic, flexible, and cost-effective? Digital objects of course! Dynamic digital objects can be used to make interactive experiences available at home, in-store or anywhere else through the use of augmented reality and image recognition.

Think of it: you could create digital objects that appear in real-time, in your store, that can be acquired simply by opening a camera on your phone. These digital objects allow brands to tell their story through interactive media formats such as a promotional video that transforms into a reward or offer after sharing with a friend. Further, when customers make a purchase (or don’t) after interacting with your digital object campaign, the entire interaction is tracked and stored on the blockchain allowing you to measure revenue impact.

 

 Location based marketing that’s not annoying

 Smartphone users reportedly check their phones more than 150 times a day. With location-based marketing, you can target a consumer who is waiting in line for coffee at a competitor’s shop close to yours with a discount coupon or information about your unique coffee blends. If they don’t check out your shop today, they’ll remember you the next time they’re in the area looking for coffee. 

Add digital objects on the blockchain to the mix, and location-based targeting becomes an active experience encouraging shoppers to interact with their surroundings. Use a scavenger hunt, safari, or mystery theme to drive audiences to your business location, then provide rewards and information about your business to encourage repeat visits. You can even use the map functionality within the Web Viewer to encourage shoppers to pick up objects near your store and share with their friends for additional rewards. 

Engage shoppers throughout the path to purchase 

 

 When you combine the immersive element of AR and image recognition with blockchain’s delivery of network-aware digital objects, you have endless potential to engage shoppers throughout the path to purchase. Objects that were once static become a dynamic experience allowing marketers to engage audiences before, during and after they make a purchase. 

Best of all, perhaps, is that digital objects unite the customer experience across traditional and digital channels. It makes shopping easier and more enjoyable for your customer. And for the retailer, you won’t have to spend any more time and money investing in expensive technology and processes in order to connect all of the dots across multiple channels. With blockchain technology and digital objects, both the notion of “omnichannel” and “multichannel” become obsolete. Instead, it’ll just be your brand, your customer, and a truly amazing shopping experience no matter where they are. 

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