Bitscan has been providing merchants and consumers with tools that promote cryptocurrency since 2013. Co-Founder & CEO Rob Wilson holds a firm belief that commerce will be the primary driver of adoption, and the company is built on one core idea; The blockchain is a wholly commercial tool that allows us to record and transfer ownership of anything, instantly, on a global, open ledger.
Bitscans latest endeavour is Incent, a cryptographic token and loyalty eco-system. The project is designed to turn traditional loyalty programmes upside down, offering new, different and better incentives for customers to return to a merchants, and merchants the confidence that returning customers can only help and never harm their bottom lines.
“The more we transact, the more obvious the benefit to others, and the more adopt. The more that adopt the greater our collective voice.”
Members of retailers’ customer loyalty programs generate between 12 percent and 18 percent more revenue for retailers than do customers who are not members of the loyalty programs, according to research from Accenture. This key finding was based on a survey of retailers across specialty, big-box, department, drug and convenience stores in the United States.
“Today’s customer loyalty programs are an increasingly expensive, complex and expansive business that extend beyond the marketing team into the entire organization,” said Farrell Hudzik, managing director of Accenture Interactive’s Global Loyalty and Rewards practice. “Given that loyalty program members generate significant incremental revenue compared with non-members, retail loyalty program leaders must anticipate future growth trends and capture the opportunity to differentiate in an increasingly fragmented marketplace.”
Beyond the incremental increase in revenue, the research identified another, and perhaps more surprising, finding: fewer than one in five retailers focuses on the return on interest (ROI) as a key metric of the success of their loyalty program. When asked to identify success metrics for their program, only 19 percent of the retailers cited ROI.
“Given the maturity and sophistication of loyalty programs today, it’s surprising how little scrutiny retailers place on program ROI rather than just growing membership.”
- Farrell Hudzik, managing director of Accenture Interactive’s Global Loyalty and Rewards practice
According to Accenture’s research, the biggest challenges retailers face regarding their loyalty programs relate to technology, strategy, financial management and people. When asked to identify their biggest challenges, 40 percent of respondents cited keeping up with the underlying mobile and digital technology or investing enough in technology. Managing the liability and financial complexity of the program was an issue for 33 percent, and having enough people and the right kind of talent required for today’s loyalty programs was a problem for 30 percent.
“As with nearly every other industry, digital technology is transforming how retailers are interacting with their customers, suppliers and other partners,” Hudzik said. “The success of any good loyalty program hinges on the ability to identify and understand one’s customers and then provide them with a seamless experience through multiple touchpoints.”
Incent offers businesses a way of not only increasing their revenues, but solving many of these issues. The system is built around a universal loyalty token, which is designed to increase in value with adoption. The token is both spendable cash and an attractive investment to hold in the medium-to-long term.
“The commercial opportunity that a universal ‘currency of loyalty-reward’ opens up is significant. Estimated worth of the current US loyalty-rewards industry is $65Bn and projections out to 2020 see this building to $100Bn. We believe the commercial potential of a universal ‘currency of loyalty-reward’ is greater still as it lifts current barriers to entry to include the entirety of commerce.“
Essentially, the Incent loyalty platform allows merchants and retailers to launch customized loyalty programs with no additional costs or resources. As an open blockchain solution, Incent handles the distribution, storage, exchange, and creation of tokens and loyalty systems. Incent tokens give consumers the freedom to decide whether to spend them with the original retailer, other retailers using the system, or sell them an exchange for cash or other digital currencies.
A recent JD Power industry report states that the main factor differentiating the highest-performing programs is ease of redemption. “Major changes to airline loyalty/rewards programs are unfolding industry-wide right now,” said Rick Garlick, global and travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power. “Airlines are juggling a delicate balance between business needs and passenger satisfaction, but they must never lose sight of the fact that members want programs that allow them to easily earn and redeem airline rewards.”
“Old school loyalty programs are on their way out,” states New Zealand fastest growing tech company Vend. “Simply implementing rewards won’t be enough to stay competitive. In the coming months and years, the retailers that will win are those that offer personalized rewards, coupled with great products and convenient buying experiences.”
“Traditional loyalty programs will be replaced by mobile-based ones that not only make it easier to redeem rewards, but also enhance the consumer experience.”
Having market-tested the idea, BitScan has already established interest from several businesses, subject to completion of the software, and is actively pursuing relationships with further merchants. The platform is also crowdfunding development on the Waves platform, starting Oct 1.
The Incent crowdsale is a major component of the platform’s launch, opening the currency to investors and speculators. The launch gives Incent tokens instant market value, and a reason for merchants to use the currency. "For digital currencies, the key to mainstream traction is delivering value to mainstream commerce,” says Bitscans CEO. “Building on Waves' incredible infrastructure, Incent is designed to do just that.”
Waves is a decentralized platform that allows any user to issue, transfer, swap and trade custom blockchain tokens on an integrated peer-to-peer exchange. Tokens may represent a share in a crowdfunding project, financial instrument, or any other item with inherent value. The platform raised an incredible 29,634 BTC, just short of Ethereum’s 31,531 BTC, during it’s own crowdfund in 2014.
Since the security of the loyalty-rewards platform is protected by the Waves blockchain network, merchants marketplace operators, and ecommerce sellers will not be required to deal with technical issues surrounding tampering and revision of digital assets.