The U.S. Census Bureau publishes a monthly report that measures the strength U.S. retail industry. By surveying 4,900 firms each month, the Census Bureau is able to report the total sales for the previous month as well as the percentage change from month to month.
For 2017, retail sales notched a record $5.7 trillion, representing a 42% increase from the record low of $4.06 trillion set in 2009.
Yet, despite the retail industry strengthening, there are some puzzling statistics out there. For example, 18% of online shoppers regard product reviews as one of the key factors in influencing their purchasing decisions. However, the same report shows that over 80% of online shoppers don’t write reviews. Those that do act out of habit (37%), while the biggest reason why shoppers don’t leave reviews is because of time constraints (20%).
There are a variety of reasons for this, but ultimately it comes down to this simple truth--the time and effort it takes to write a review aren’t worth the reward. In the long run, this could hurt both consumers and businesses, because eventually the lack of reviewers will lead to less reviews per product, negatively impacting consumer perception and hurting sales. Those consumers that still use reviews will end up purchasing products with less information available at their disposal.
In order to contribute to both consumer and business shopping experiences, the blockchain startup Shping has created an app that will implement blockchain solutions to expand the platform’s effectiveness. Shping makes shopping smarter and more cost effective for consumers while increasing retailers’ marketing reach.
The Shping app, which can be downloaded on major app distribution channels like the App Store and Google Play, allows shoppers to scan any product with a barcode to pull up specific product details about the item. Users are instantly provided with in-depth information about scanned products, ranging from details about country of origin, any certifications, and what ships with the product.
One of the more unique features about the platform is that it rewards users with Shping tokens whenever they scan barcodes, upload photos, or write reviews of products. Thus shoppers are monetarily incentivized to help and support other shoppers through the app. Shoppers are able to actually earn money while they shop, which is paid out in the form of platform tokens. These tokens can be used to make other purchases, functioning as a type of rewards program.
Additionally, the Shping platform will foster a tight knit shopping community by allowing users to interact directly with other shoppers. Because shoppers are rewarded with monetary assets for scan items, uploading photos, and posting reviews, there will be a much greater incentive to do so. Over time, this will increase the number of product reviews per product, thereby providing individual shoppers with more than enough information to make the right purchasing decisions.
From a convenience standpoint, the barcode scanning feature also keeps shoppers from having to go to a product’s main website and search for a product (or use another app like ebay or Amazon) in order to pull up additional details and reviews. This can be extremely burdensome, especially for products that have several models or iterations.
The advantages of the Shping platform aren’t limited to individuals, however. Though costs are lowered for individual consumers, businesses are presented with a unique point of sale opportunity. This is because companies can choose what information they want to post in conjunction with their products’ barcodes. Gone will be the days when a third party platform chooses an item’s description.
By partnering with Shping, businesses can choose what information they want to attach to their products. They can upload product details in almost any form, including text, images, and videos that specifically target their audiences. The Shping platform provides companies with an incredible opportunity--customizable marketing strategies that can reach consumers at the point of sale. By communicating key details about a platform, businesses can use the Shping app to push interested parties from “on-the-fence” to ready to make a purchase. The best part is that Shping doesn’t charge any crazy fees or hide an expenses. The platform is specifically designed to be economically efficient for all involved.
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