Hey and welcome to Retail 90 I'm your host Tom We're hearing a lot about Blockchain at the moment but what even is it? And what could it mean for online retailers? First then the technical part, a blockchain simply records data in chronological order

The difference is the data is never stored centrally but it's distributed across multiple computer networks around the world And because the data base is distributed no one party can ever make any changes so it becomes permanent This makes it ideal for digital currencies such the famous Bitcoin but it's not all about banking the list of uses is growing and diversifying and the potential for retail is huge as well as protecting consumers from fraudulent transactions by creating a smart contract which holds back funds until everyone is satisfied – it can also be used to reduce other types of fraud and build consumer trust It creates a permanent record of a product's journey from supplier to customer so it can prove origin and authenticity whilst improving visibility on the supply chain What about warranties? Blockchain offers the possibility of recording all purchase transactions so no more shoeboxes full of receipts

And when it comes to customer loyalty how about the idea of using blockchain to record loyalty points for awards schemes Blockchain provides a better customer experience and for retailers it streamlines the exchange of information So where will this take us in the future? Well blockchain is likely to be a part of a product's whole life cycle even through to tracking new owners in the case of a resale And while it's hard to build trust in the wild wild west of today's internet Blockchain can fix that issue of trust which for online retailers can only be a good thing

But what do you think? Let us know your thoughts