The retail industry is quickly approaching an interesting tipping point. In 2017, retailers saw $3.53 trillion in sales last year, a 3.9 percent bump from 2016. Additionally, the National Retail Federation projects overall retail sales to grow between 3.8 and 4.4 percent in 2018, including a 10 to 12 percent boost for online and other non-store sales.
That being said, there has been blood in the streets as 7,000 major stores announced closings in 2017-2018 alone, including Toys R Us. There is a clear shuffling in the industry and for retailers with a large physical footprint to stay competitive, there need to be more innovative solutions to improve customer experience, increase margins, and stay afloat.
Nucleus Vision, a startup company based out of Cambridge, MA, has created one such solution that only the blockchain could provide. They have built an end-to-end platform that captures real-time retail customer data through a proprietary blockchain system that is linked to ion sensors. Through this platform, customers receive personalized pricing, accurate recommendations and real-time offers in brick-n-mortar stores for the very first time. Ultimately, Nucleus Vision aims to develop an IoT-enabled customer identification ecosystem that enables retailers to leverage previously inaccessible data.
Interested in Nucleus Vision? Here’s a quick rundown of the project:
Platform & Development
The Nucleus platform is broken down into four major components: ION, ORBIT, NEURON & nCASH.
ION Sensor: Proprietary Sensor Technology
Nucleus leverages a proprietary sensor network called the ION Network. This system can identify a number of modalities, including temperature, pressure, motion, acceleration and sound. These sensors are integrated into a retailer’s store to capture data on the customers who move around within a 200-meter radius. Nucleus has been actively working with telecom companies to develop their system according to data security standards.
Orbit Blockchain: Authorization and Data
Nucleus developed a blockchain platform, called Orbit, that works to interact with ION sensors and securely store and transfer customer identities, data and nCash reward tokens. This system ultimately enables the Nucleus to use a customer’s telecom data in a highly encrypted and secure way.
The Neuron layer is an intelligent analytics platform that leverages deep learning to analyze customer patterns and make predictions for retailers to take advantage of previously untapped data sources. These algorithms are designed to give deep insights into customer purchasing behavior to guide retailer’s strategy.
nCash: Token-Based Payments
Nucleus uses an ERC20 Ethereum token, called nCash, that has two primary purposes:
- as the backbone of the Nucleus Universal Loyalty Program (retailer rewards system).
- as a currency used to enable the transfer of data from one party to another. Retailers in the Nucleus network can reward their users with offers using the nCash, which can be redeemed across any retailer in the Nucleus network.
Here’s the general flow for a customer who enters a store equipped with the Nucleus system, as described in the Nucleus Vision white paper:
- A customer walks into a store and customer’s phone ID is recognized by an ION sensor.
- Nucleus sends a text message to the customer offering nCash for opting into the store’s reward program.
- If the customer opts in, nCash is credited to his or her account, and Nucleus securely transfers this customer identification to the retailer over blockchain.
- Retailer maps the customer with its core system and identifies new data that can be offered by Nucleus’ blockchain network. If no previous data is available, the network reaches out to other stores on the network, who are incentivized with nCash to share their data. This data share also rewards customers with each transaction.
- Based on the customer’s data, a unique score is generated by Nucleus’ Neuron technology. This score represents the customer’s value to the retailer based on his or her purchase history, spending habits and other factors.
- The retailer may then decide to offer nCash tokens to the customers based on their score. Retailers will be able to make decisions in real time within three different contexts:
- Upon entering the store (to incentivize-more visits)
- Browsing around the store (to incentivize in-store conversion)
- At the time of checkout (to increase retention and loyalty)
Nucleus Vision has already launched in 10 stores in 2017, and 2018’s major focus is to expand the number of integrated retail sites across the globe. Nucleus aims to enter the North American markets in early 2019.
Nucleus Vision was launched out of Harvard University with the backing of notable investor Tim Draper (Early investor in Bitcoin and Skype). Nucleus Vision is led by Abhishek Pitti, who dropped out of Harvard Business School to launch the project.
Nucleus Vision (NCASH) currently has a market cap of ~$107 million with a circulating supply of 991,517,436 NCASH and a total supply of 10,000,000,000 NCASH.
Nucleus Vision is hoping to provide a major solution for retailers with a major physical footprint. Through their IoT-based blockchain system, retailers will be able to leverage an abundance of previously inaccessible data to craft a better, targeted customer experience. If properly scaled, Nucleus Vision could become a major figure in the multi-trillion dollar retail industry.
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Disclaimer: The author(s) of this article may have a position in one or more of the securities mentioned above. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Always conduct your own due diligence before making investments.