Blockchain has the ability to extend transparency even in food supply chains. Every year, contaminated food kills 400,000 people. The lack of traceability from farm to fridge makes it difficult for companies to identify the perpetrator, resulting in more people getting sick. Owing to this, Walmart has decided to build a food traceability system using Blockchain Technology.
Applying blockchain to a package of mangoes, Walmart tracked the fruit to its original source in two seconds, something that could otherwise take weeks. The world’s largest retailer will be using IBM’s Blockchain Platform to track food throughout the complete supply chain to confirm quality in an
Similarly, the two corporations formed a syndicate over the summer with many different major players within the grocery and consumer packaged goods (CPG) spaces—Unilever, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Kroger, Dole, Driscoll’s, McLane, McCormick and Golden State Foods—to classify areas of improvement and ultimately create the food supply chain safer.
Retailers are focused on digital marketplaces and preventing counterfeits, the top five blockchain opportunities that retail organizations are pursuing are:
- Blockchain-enabled marketplaces
Trust in the intermediary (marketplace) is replaced with trust in the underlying code and consensus rules. Blockchain technology lets this verification be undertaken at a negligible rate, even at scale.
- Preventing counterfeit products
With the ability of blockchain to track the origin of each part of a final product, it is possible to have an audit trail that is visible to all relevant parties. This ensures the authenticity of goods and reduces counterfeiting.
- Inventory and pilferage tracking
End-to-end visibility from suppliers to retailers ensures transparency and authenticity where multiple suppliers are involved.
- Tracking returned goods
Blockchain systems help retailers ensure returned goods are tracked back to their suppliers, along with contracts to better manage returns.
- Loyalty program management
A blockchain-enabled loyalty program can be used to create a single wallet for loyalty rewards, providing convenience to customers and improving trust when multiple businesses are involved in the same program.
Blurring the lines between digital and physical
Walmart continues to feature new, convenient features to its mobile app, with the goal of saving the consumers’ time and money and improving the shopping experience. Current common options embrace its own digital payment platform, Walmart Pay, which aims to speed up the checkout
process and a popular price matching tool, Savings Catcher that encourages consumers to trust the prices at Walmart and to speed up the retail experience with the help of blockchain.
One recent upgrade is allowing shoppers to quickly order refills and manage their prescriptions within the app and setting up “express lanes” in stores for customers who have placed orders via the app. For the pharmacy service, the upgrade helps support a high-traffic part of the business and makes the app stickier to more customers.
Walmart is also innovating on the back-end operations and in the
Through this investment, Walmart strengthens its data analytics capabilities and captures value by becoming a more nimble player with a stronger understanding of its business and ultimately leading to higher sales and operating efficiencies.
The value created with blockchain technology includes: higher accuracy than paper trailing and manual inspections due to constant cross-checking, broader accessibility, therefore, multiple companies will simply access or share data, higher security and shorter time needed to trace back to a source of contamination. The value captured is potential monitoring cost savings and supply chain efficiencies and stronger consumer confidence and sales for Walmart if the company can reduce outbreaks and increase response time when issues do arise.
Although the technology and testing are in their early stages, the initial results are promising and Walmart is gaining a first-mover advantage to engage these technologies in this novel way.