The advertising industry is now valued at more than $550 billion. US-based companies spent more than $190 billion in 2016 while small brick and mortar stores spent an average of $10,000 each during the same period. Despite the high amounts of money spent on advertising, only about half of the advertisers felt their campaigns were successful. Shping, an Australian startup, wants to make advertising rewarding to both the advertisers and consumers by tapping into the blockchain industry.
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Popularized in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudo-anonymous person who launched Bitcoin, the blockchain is a digital public ledger where data can be stored permanently. This new industry is fast growing. As of early 2018, more than 1,000 startups are built around the technology.
Shping wants to make marketing easier, cheaper and customer-centric. Through their blockchain-based model, the company offers four major services:
- A database of consumer products that will be updated and verified by both manufacturers and consumers
- A platform for governing bodies, brands and consumers to validate genuine products and alert on fake products
- To incentivize the whole process so that consumers are paid to validate products’ information and brands can pay consumers for helping them review and identify replica products
- Bring together brands, retailers, and consumers on one platform where they can all profit
Startups affiliated to the blockchain technology are increasingly resulting to crowdfunding for their projects, and Shping is no different. Shping held an ICO between February 21st and March 23rd, 2018, targeting to raise $40 million in the hard capital.
With funds raised in the ICO, the company will develop a blockchain platform and an app that will enable consumers to scan select products before reviewing them. Brands will in turn reward shoppers with Shping coins depending on the amount of contribution they make to the brand’s products. In general, consumers stand to gain Shping coins by completing the following tasks:
- Look up ingredients and reviewing them for nutritional value
- Complete surveys initiated by brands and retailers
- Watch videos and engage with short brands’ social media campaigns
- Confirm product authenticity based on the brand’s guide
- Update critical information to the Shping database
- Write helpful reviews and ratings for specific products
In general, Shping focuses on the supply chain. Their app targets brands, retailers, and consumers who are brought together to make the shopping ecosystem user-friendly and helpful to all stakeholders. Will this be the future of shopping? Read more here: Shping Product Review 2018: Is it the Future of Shopping or a Scam?.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of Shping is how big it could get with proper management and marketing. The company is targeting an industry worth billions of dollars and making it profitable for everyone involved. By tapping into the nearly infinite in size blockchain technology, Shping could target millions of people around the world.
Beating traditional advertisers may not be easy, but their model of rewarding customers with valuable coins will give them a boost. Few companies incentivize customers to review their products and validate them for originality. Companies that reward customers use a point based system, using shopping points that can only be redeemed to buy the company’s services.
Through the Shping ecosystem, companies get to interact with customers directly and reward them with tokens that can be converted into real cash. In addition, these tokens are bound to gain value, making the whole ecosystem more lucrative than any other.
One of the challenges Shping may face is companies trying to replicate their services. This is expected considering more than 1,000 cryptocurrency startups are expected to hold an ICO in 2018. Dozens of startups that target specific industry niches are cropping up as well. Some startups, for example, target sports products while others are interested in the pharmaceuticals.
Shping’s uniqueness lies in its ability to let consumers influence buying decisions by providing more than product information. The company will also act as a review platform for all manner of products. Brands will be able to send out surveys and interactive videos as a marketing mechanism. And since consumers will be gaining potentially valuable rewards in the process, the company could easily outdo any competitors.
Shping aims to use funds from their ICO to market their app, make more partnerships with brands and complete the integration of their services with the blockchain. Expanding their services is the biggest challenge the company faces at the moment. However, the company already indicated in their whitepaper how they are going to handle the problem. In a nutshell, Shping will handle its development in five major phases:
- Phase one- use an estimated $3 million to boost business development and complete the Shping ecosystem
- Phase 2- use an estimated $5 million to establish physical offices and develop their retail module
- Phase 3- use an estimated $7 million to complete the Shping blockchain and develop a program to help companies serialize their products
- Phase 4- use an estimated $15 million to build physical offices around the world and a Shping physical card
- Phase 5- use an estimated $50 million for activities that will boost marketing and attract up to 100 million unique users to the platform
Currently, the Shping app is downloaded by more than 50,000 users. By the time the company completes their ecosystem, the founders believe they will have reached millions of users and partnered with hundreds of brands and retailers around the world. Shping hopes to have completed their ecosystem by early 2019. However, Shping coins will be available on exchanges by mid or late 2018.
Can the Team Pull it off?
Shping has a great vision, but they are not alone. Companies WABI work nearly in a similar manner. The only thing that may be different between the two companies is their team members and their approach to achieving their different goals.
Shping is headed by Gennady Volchek, a successful entrepreneur born in Russia. He is joined by a team of other entrepreneurs and advisors who have previously led blockchain startups. The team has received great acclaim on ICO review sites but only time will tell if they can take the company to the next level.
Shping has been making headlines in the last few weeks thanks to their unique business model and their use of the blockchain technology. But given the high rate new cryptocurrency startups are growing, the company has a great job ahead.