OSA DC ‘Blockchainization’ of the Asia-Pacific Region or the Retail Revolution Underway
Globalization in an Asian Manner
Some people say globalization had affected all the countries throughout the world. Although there’s certainly a reason for this assumption, the effect in the Asian community is not as overwhelming as that in the American and European regions. The east has always been a ticklish situation especially when it comes to culture, traditions, and family. These are the national peculiarities which effect the Asian market more than globalization and the current IT boom. Retail is a good example.
The Asian region provides the global market with about 4.5 billion consumers. That is more than half of world’s population. Chinese consumers, for example, prove to be more enthusiastic buyers than people from USA or UK (according to Millward Brown’s research). They are insatiable shoppers who do not see shopping as a chore. 68% of respondents claim to be “happy or overjoyed” with shopping as opposed to 48% and 41% of American and British respondents respectively. Another distinctive feature of Chinese consumers is their belief in their ‘opinion former’ position, while most of American and British respondents consider themselves to be ‘opinion followers.’ The idea of having the most enthusiastic half of the world’s population as consumers would put most retailers over the moon, but it is not that simple.
Despite the growth of retail chains in this region, people prefer shopping in traditional small stores found on practically every street corner. These shops provide goods geared to the tastes of the local community ensuring the native consumers circulation.
However, the rise of disposable income in the region’s middle class, chiefly in its younger representatives, the millennials, has given them a major role in defining consumer preferences. They seek personalized goods and services putting the shopping experience first. Moreover, people in Asia are extremely tech-savvy preferring mobile technologies for non-stop social activity (with 1.350 billion mobile active social media users out of 1.400 billion total active social media users). This has resulted in a rapid growth of online shopping platforms offering all sorts of goods. Cashless operations have gained momentum in the Asia Pacific region. With this comes the growth of O2O (online to offline) operations erasing the boundaries between traditional and online stores and offering solutions like click-and-collect or 24/7 parcel lockers. Large markets come with high demands. Although mom and pop shops are trying to adapt, multiple challenges appear.
Mom and Pop Shops Challenges to Overcome
Despite the fact small business has its advantages from regulatory basis and to taxa rates, they also face many difficulties like: undercapitalization, less competitive prices (strict cost control is required to make sure the product price covers the collateral waste the cost of damaged or spoiled goods, cases of product theft etc.), insurance costs, a smaller competitive product range than in large retail chains, fewer employees to provide quality service, rare social media coverage and thus uninvolved consumers, and what is critically important, no registry of a product life cycles affecting the quality of delivered goods resulting in a different, unfortunate sort of incidents.
One of the most tragic examples of this is the Chinese milk scandal in 2008, resulting in the deaths of six infants and the hospitalization of 54,000 babies, with the total estimated victims of about 300,000 people. Milk, infant formula and some other food materials were adulterated with melamine, the substance used in the manufacture of flame retardant plastic and sometimes illegally added to food products to increase their alleged protein content. Melamine causes kidney stones which were the reason for the infants deaths as well as severe kidney damage and renal failure. The following food inspection showed melamine was used in the products of 21 more companies although in slightly lesser amounts. Despite criminal prosecutions conducted by the Chinese government, including 2 executions and 3 life imprisonments, this was not the first case of melamine usage in food products, and it may be not the last. This incident reveals the corruptive nature of government authorities and blatant violation of food safety regulations. These horrific events have a longstanding impact on consumer trust in the industry, proving both retailers and consumers can fall victim to criminal fraud, and reiterating buyers should take their safety in their own hands.
OSA DC Comes with Magic Solution for the Asian Retail Industry
OSA DC provides a unique solution for the Asian market, aimed at regaining consumers’ trust and increasing the competitiveness of traditional mom and pop shops.
The platform considers key points for manufacturers, retailers and consumers.
What good can OSA DC bring to manufacturers and retailers? Manufacturers and retailers have one thing in common. They both work to fulfil consumers’ demands for their products. To do so, they need to know the needs and preferences of their target audience. Platforms accumulate and process personal data of users to forecast a probable consumer basket.
Since Asian retailers tend to satisfy the demands of particular local communities, the following statistical data come in handy: age, gender, the number of family members, product preferences, brand preferences, health conditions, hobbies, etc. The information can be grouped resulting in a full customer picture. For example, a certain number of infants require an average amount of baby formula, milk, diapers, etc. The insight about product/brand preferences gives the precise amount of a specific product needed for a certain period. In this way, retailers know the exact types of products to be bought, preferred brands and their precise amounts eliminating overstocking and the extra expenses it involves.
What does this means to consumers? Mom and pop stores will be personalized and tuned to the needs of every member of the community.
Consumers needs tend to change as well as their preferences. Families grow, children grow up, and people move from place to place. It’s extremely difficult to track these changes without an assistant. That is when OSA DC lends a hand and gets this burden off manufacturers and retailers.
In spite of the rapidly growing online retail and additional services from traditional retailers like O2O operations, the penetration of smart technologies into the Asian market is long overdue. Although, traders try to exploit internet abilities to the fullest, It is nothing close to what OSA DC offers with its combination of blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, product master data catalogue and dynamic reputation rating.
It should be emphasized the rating system satisfies the need of Asian consumers to be ‘opinion formers,’ enhancing users involvement in the industry and providing pleasant shopping experiences. Easy-to-use mobile applications with a token reward system engage millennials and find their way onto the list of top needed apps for everyday use. Since tokens can be used in exchange for additional services, it pleases those wishing to explore platform possibilities and get personalized service. When the platform grows, the tokens give way to online shopping complementing the O2O operations.
Consumers feedback certainly reduces the number of low quality products on the market and makes manufacturers put more efforts in quality control. Registry of every product stage using blockchain technologies ensures transparency in a products life cycle and leaves no loopholes for corruption. If the platform had appeared before 2008, there would probably be no Chinese milk scandal with all the tragic events it caused. Further, the registry system decreases collateral waste eliminating cases of ‘unexplained’ product losses and damages by package or delivery mishandling, reducing the product’s net value and with it the total price giving small stores the ability to have a fair price competition with retail chains.
Some critics say involving too much technology, especially AI causes unemployment and poverty, but while the platform provides enhanced services to consumers, it cannot substitute human-to-human contact or perform physical operations needed in small retail. OSA DC simply ensures there is no need for additional employees and preserves the jobs of existing ones.
OSA DC awareness in Asia
While OSA DC has been making steps towards the Asian retail market, Asia has welcomed new platforms with open arms at the row of conferences, including at the d10e Seoul conference where OSA DC won the first prize for the best tech startup with a deafening, standing ovation. With Neuromation, OSA DC introduced AI and Machine Learning integration in Retail at Japan’s 2nd AI EXPO (largest Artificial Intelligence Exhibition Conference).
Product safety concerns were the challenge at Blockchain Technology Application Forum 2018, with more than 600 contributors, 60 top Chinese media, research institutes, and traditional financial institutions learning about OSA DC retail solutions. Platform innovations have been presented at Blockchain Summit, in Korea, Seoul highlighting the advantages of AI and blockchain integration to top Asian Blockchain leaders. The OSA DC sales team also introduced its innovations at the SYNCO Blockchain Symposium in Seoul. Block O2O Blockchain Summit held in China, Hong Kong welcomed 1,500 participants from blockchain industry laying the groundwork for the coming Blockchain revolution. The OSA DC presentation at Crypto Forum HotCoin, in Korea, made by its co-founder and Business Development Lead, raised product waste issues.
Finally, If the level of enthusiasm is close to that received at these media events, the OSA DC solution will launch the predicted blockchain revolution in the retail industry for the whole Asia-Pacific region, enabling long overdue changes.