We all love to shop, right? It fulfills some primal, hunter-gatherer like instinct within us, and the internet has opened us up to an endless array of consumption potential (for better or for worse). Despite much of humanities ubiquitous use of the internet, retail consumption still dominates global sales. According to forecasts by eMarketer, eCommerce sales will account for just 10.1% of the total, global retail sales in 2017. What this means is that despite how pervasive eCommerce might feel, the overwhelming majority of our purchases are happening in physical retail environments. One of the main draws of brick and mortar stores is their customer loyalty programs. Yet, according to the 2017 Colloquy Loyalty Census, more than half (54 percent) of US loyalty program memberships are inactive. This has left a gaping hole for a new single sign-in mobile loyalty platform that all brands can easily adopt… such as Shping!
Shping (short for shopping), has its eyes set on the shopping and retail industry, which is estimated to be worth $28 trillion by 2020. With the Shping platform, they’ve created a deep solution within a sublimely simple commercial proposition. In the words of their CEO and Founder, Gennady Volchek, Shping…
….is a global shopper-marketing and consumer protection platform that empowers brands and retailers to reward shoppers with cryptocurrency for their attention, actions, and choices in store.
By cutting out the marketing middle-man and giving brands a direct line to engage with consumers, they’ve created a win-win proposition for both consumers and brands alike.
The company itself has been in development since 2012, and the app already has over 50,000 downloads and a fully working platform. On the Shping app (which is downloadable now on the App Store and Google Play), users scan barcodes (whether they’re at home or in a store) and earn their native ERC-20 cryptocurrency (SHPING) as a reward for contributing to their incredibly vast mobile product search engine, while also engaging with brands or retailers non-disruptive, customer-driven marketing. Sounds simple, right? Well, there are many other layers and moving parts to what Shping is trying to accomplish, so let’s dive in below!
(For a quick intro to Shping, check out the first five minutes of my interview with their CMO, Tony Lee below!)
Shping’s Solutions to Retails Many Problems
What are the problems Shping is out to solve in the retail industry at large? For one, they’re aiming to solve the issue that all brands face – capturing consumers attention, especially at the critical point of purchase. Through their Shping Marketing platform, brands can now directly reward consumers with crypto for their choices, actions, and attention, as opposed to paying an advertising middleman fiat for the same privilege. When a shopper scans a product’s barcode in a store, they can reveal useful information, they can contribute product reviews, or activate actions set by brands to unlock more Shping Coins. Shping coins can be used to access or buy brand-specific rewards, or they can simply be sold or exchanged for BTC or ETH on the app in the near future.
Shping is also focused on preventing counterfeiting, food fraud, and unsafe products from being purchased through the verification of authenticity in their vast database. Customers will also act as a last line of defense and be able to report inauthentic products. While this might not be as big of an issue for those in the West, entire stores are comprised of fake and fraudulent items throughout Asia, and this singular function could help end retail and consumer fraud worldwide!
How Does It Work?
Another key aspect of how shoppers can benefit by using the Shping app is in the depth of information gained by scanning an item. This valuable information (which in turn can help you make smarter purchasing decisions) ranges from in-depth product descriptions, ingredient, nutritional and allergen info, product recall status, as well as entertaining and informative videos and product reviews from other app users. The app will also confirm the authenticity of products of participating brands, issue alerts on suspect goods to dissuade purchase, and even trigger post-purchase warranty registration.
Consumers will have access to all of the following resourceful features through scanning items on the Shping app:
- Look up a product’s ingredients, including information relating to the product’s nutritional value, origin, and composition in more detail
- View interesting additional information that brands may want to share such as videos, “making-of” documentaries, advertisements, product manuals, and recipes;
- Contribute details to the Global Product Database, especially for items that are not yet listed in the Shping product database or do not have sufficient records
- Rate products for the benefit of other Shping users
- Read and write product reviews
- Complete questionnaires and surveys from brands
- Determine if a particular product has been recalled
- See which certifications the product has secured (if this feature is activated by the certification authority)
- Verify a product’s authenticity (if this feature is activated by brands)
- Register the product for warranty (if this feature is activated by brands) and more.
At the heart of Shping is their Ethereum smart contract powered global product database, which already features a staggering 30 million items (that’s about as many songs on all of Spotify). The database will be perpetually updated by brands and consumers alike, both of which will be incentivized to access, add to, review and verify information about products available in the market. Their database is also being fueled by partnerships with regional GS1 branches (Australia, Malta, Singapore, and Russia, among others). GS1 is most famous for their introduction of the standard barcode in 1974, which revolutionized data and supply chain management. In addition to GS1’s large pool of data, the Shping database also benefits from partnerships with various certification authorities, such as:
Australian Certified Organic (Australia’s largest organic certification body) → AsureQuality (owned by the New Zealand Government) → The National Farmer’s Federation (Australia) → Rosselkhoznadzor (Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance → The Asia Food Safety Zone in Changchun (China).
Additionally, Shping has partnered with Everledger to create their own private blockchain which will enable them to further manage product traceability. Everledger has made major headway in regards to verifying the authenticity of expensive items, such as diamonds. They’ve uploaded over 1,000,000 diamonds onto their global blockchain database, and now Shping will be able to use such data to help stamp out fake products, or even blood diamonds. The blockchain they’re creating is ” based on the Hyperledger Fabric to play the role of a register for GS1 standard EPCIS events.” In laymen’s terms, this will allows information such as “the serialization of products, item movements through the supply chain, and sales and product recall alerts to be exchanged quickly and securely.”
The Shping Coin Economy and ICO Sale
Shping’s token sale is currently underway until March 23rd, and tokens will be distributed immediately after payment is received. The price is 1 SHPING = 0.01 USD, and they are accepting BTC, ETH, ETC, LTC, DASH, ZEC, and Fiat. Down the line, the Shping app will integrate with API’s from select exchanges, allowing users to immediately trade Shping within the app. Post the ICO, brands, retailers and other users of the Shping platform may be able to acquire Shping on participating exchanges, which they can then use to incentivize user engagement with their products.
42% of Shping’s circulating coins are reserved to incentivize users and fuel the growth and performance of the Shping Platform. In the case that this reserve is depleted, Shping itself would purchase more off of exchanges. Any unsold coins from their ICO sale will also be added to this reserve.
Be sure to stay in touch with Shping at all the following channels!
- Shping Website, Shping (2018)
- Shping Whitepaper, Shping (2018)