Whether you like it or not (or understand it) the era of blockchain technology is about to dawn.
In doing so, it’s going to bring a number of changes to numerous industries, including ecommerce. Businesses need to get on board with this emerging technology and understand how it will impact how they operate and change customer expectations.
So, if this technology originally developed to keep public records of Bitcoin transactions is set to make a huge impact on the world of ecommerce, how can you prepare as a store owner?
Understand the basics
To take advantage of blockchain and avoid your business being caught flat-footed, it’s important you use this crucial time to learn as much as you can about the technology. This is easier said than done as you try and manage an emerging business, especially as the technology continues to alter and develop over time.
Try and take some time to understand the history and emerging trends of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. This way you can be as prepared as possible for when you eventually implement it into your online store and prepared for any inevitable changes to be made down the line. To participate in the revolution, you have to do some reading on it first.
If your technical skills and knowledge are limited, try and involve yourself as much as possible in the development of blockchain technologies. Don’t just delve into podcasts and books, communicate with thought leaders and ask for their thoughts on how the technology will directly affect ecommerce.
Recognize the hurdles
Implementing blockchain into your ecommerce website and business strategy will not come without its complications. There are lots of benefits to this technology, but your business will have more issues than successes in the first few months.
As well as being a complex topic for you and your staff to get your heads around, blockchain faces the problem of worldwide regulatory support. Even though prices are growing year on year, there remains skepticism around the technology and cryptocurrencies in general. This could mean a lot of stop/start integration for your business, as legal kinks are ironed out and the methodology becomes more mainstream.
Research other industries
When you’re setting up an ecommerce website for the first time, you conduct competitor research by browsing their stores and social selling websites. So, why would you do any different before you add blockchain?
The industries that have fully embraced this technology are few and far between, but those who have, serve as great testing grounds for the rest of us looking to make a success of blockchain.
This technology and acceptance of cryptocurrencies have brought about significant changes in industries ranging from food production to online gambling to financial lending. The dramatically different nature and goals of most of the top companies that have accepted blockchain act as a signal of its diversity, each holding unique methods and experiences you can absorb into your business.
At the heart of the blockchain is the consumer, so conduct your research with a focus on how it has directly impacted them throughout these industries. How has the middleman been cut out to provide the most holistic and connected service possible?
Embrace alternative payments
The most noteworthy change the advent of the blockchain will bring is a transformation in methods of making payments. Blockchain-powered cryptocurrencies such as the popular Bitcoin have become alternative payment options of choice for the technically minded and savvy investors alike. To many, they have become synonymous with shopping in the same way payment processors such as PayPal have.
To prepare your website for the era of blockchain, you need to embrace these new currency forms early or have a clear strategy of which ones you’re going to accept. This will involve research of both the currencies themselves and which ones are most commonly used and requested within your industry and customer base.
Have a genuine review system
If you’re the kind of ecommerce website that makes use of fake reviews to boost sales, first of all, you need to stop that, and secondly, blockchain is on its way to expose you.
The business of fake reviews is booming, with ecommerce websites of all sizes using them to establish themselves early or boost their overall scores. When a customer leaves a review, each one is stored in a different block of the blockchain technology, then analyzed and identified separately. This creates a digital map of the reviews that cannot be erased without letting others within that process know about it.
If you are doing this shady practice or anything else that could be construed as tricking the customer, you need to pull all of your efforts off the website and embrace clarity for the greater good.