In a world that is exceedingly connected online, shopping was one of the biggest things to happen on the internet. Gone were the days when one had to go to a mall or a shopping district to check out what was required. Window-shopping was extensively done to check out the multitude of products competing with different brands.
With the internet, a person could sit at home and browse online stores and purchase whatever was required. This was a revolution in the 90s and has continued to date. Yet, recently, retailers are finding out that there is a disparity. Their online stores are being browsed extensively but most of the sales come through their physical stores.
The problem arises from a disconnection between the online and the offline stores. With people becoming more conscious of actually looking at, touching and feeling a product, the online version of stores cannot provide that. Shoes, for example, can be checked online. Size, shape, color and design can be extensively looked at through a screen, but a shopper will always be apprehensive about the actual product and would prefer to go to a store and wear one to see if it actually fits and looks/feels good.
Raincheck, Plugging The Gap In O2O
Online to Offline shopping is a phenomenon that most retailers fail to capitalize on. Raincheck, an O2O platform working since 2014, helps retailers by bridging the gap between the two worlds. It allows retailers to develop a relationship between users inspecting the products online and then going to the store to actually try and buy it. This data becomes crucial for retailers in developing their product and sales strategy.
Along with this, by creating a platform of e-commerce where hundreds of stores can open their online presence, the customer also at east, since he or she does not need to go to different websites or use dedicated apps for each brand. The platform essentially becomes an online mall with hundreds of brands in it.
At first glance, this may seem just like another e-commerce website, but Raincheck, with its Raintoken, offers a lot more than traditional online e-commerce platforms. The O2O ability is what really sets it apart from the others.
Loyalty programs are strategies developed by brands and stores as a way to promote product sales and retain customers. The idea is very simple. Give points of purchase of products and services, which are redeemable within the store for discounts and other offers.
However, current loyalty programs are riddled with issues: Stores offer too low points against purchases, there is an expiry on the points, a large number of points are needed to actually use them and even buyers find no product they would rather use the points on. Another major issue is that every brand and retailer is using their own reward points, making it harder for the consumer to keep track of.
Raincheck solves the issue by allowing brands on its platform to create their own loyalty programs, but interchangeable against others through its Raintoken. Points collected through purchases on one store will be redeemable at another.
Another factor that makes the loyalty points of Raincheck and Raintoken is that customers need not apply for a separate membership or a loyalty card. The scheme can be integrated into their existing credit or debit card. This not only means that the customers will be free from the worry of carrying membership cards, but also that whenever they make a purchase from a retailer any loyalty scheme or program will be automatically adjusted in the sale.
For example, if a retailer is offering cashback on purchase of a certain product or time, the customer can simply buy the products using his or her normal bank credit card that is registered on the platform. The cashback offer will be automatically executed and adjusted within the card.
This seamless and easy program will enable thousands of customers and retail stores to be worry-free from keeping track of how many points are accumulated and whether the points were redeemed through the purchase or not.
But Why Blockchain?
Raincheck utilizes blockchain technology to achieve its success. The technology has proved time and again to be extremely effective and efficient. After a careful consideration, the platform decided to use the Stellar blockchain network. The reason behind it is that the platform is very scalable and has an extremely low transactional fee.
Issuing its own token, the Raintoken, on the platform, Raincheck allows users to not only purchase online but also redeem loyalty points (or buy) through the token. The tokens ensure that procurements are fast, cheap and extremely secure. The average transaction time on the platform is around 5 seconds, compared to the few minutes and an hour that other, more bigger blockchain networks take.
In the end, it is all about giving both consumers and retailers opportunities to save money and time. Raincheck, with its Raintoken, will fit the bill.