The retail industry on blockchain

Against a backdrop of changing consumer behavior, retailers are finding that pre-pandemic challenges related to supply chains persist. As the world steps cautiously to the next normal, blockchain for supply chain can help retailers address consumer demands for speed, convenience and social accountability, increase operational efficiency, and optimize inventory.


of consumers surveyed said traceability of products is important to them.

Source: IBM Institute for Business Value


growth in online retail sales at the peak of the pandemic as shoppers continued to shop from home.

Source: Supply and Demand Chain Executive


private label brands are now offered by Amazon.

Source: Deloitte

How can IBM Blockchain Transparent Supply help?

Retailers are using blockchain for innovative solutions that engage consumers and establish trust in their products. And they are joining forces with partners in the retail supply chain to drive end-to-end visibility and empower collaboration. IBM Blockchain Transparent Supply is helping organizations build these networks quickly and efficiently.

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Engage consumers and influence purchase decisions

Give consumers in-store information about product data such as origin, certificates, ingredients and shelf life, all pulled from the blockchain’s immutable records of events. Consumers engage with your brand by scanning a package code and seeing the information critical to their purchase decisions.

Optimize inventory with end-to-end supply chain visibility

When manufacturers and distributors are blind to consumer demand as it is happening at the retail level, inefficiency and waste spread across the supply chain. Blockchain and analytics can be the foundation for demand-driven production and inventory management, benefiting all participants in data-sharing networks.

Increase operational efficiency with a digital supply chain

Remove paper-based processes, digitize documents and integrate with existing systems of record to reduce costs and gain efficiencies that can counter price inelasticity from consumers who are leveraging online channels for comparison shopping.

Use case

Empowering a global retail giant to enhance consumer trust by investing in best practices

As a major industry player with a large global footprint, Carrefour is always looking for new ways to improve customer service and streamline operations. Providing comprehensive and detailed information about the nature and origin of their products not only sets them apart from the competition, it also enables them to build trust and drive demand with their more than 100 million customers worldwide who are becoming more invested in knowing as much as possible about the quality and sourcing of their groceries.

By partnering with IBM, Carrefour is able to leverage blockchain to provide unprecedented transparency to consumers about their food’s journey. Shoppers can scan a QR code on the food label or packaging with their smartphones and access information permissioned for consumers such as date of harvest, location of cultivation, when it was packed, safety tests and certifications, and even tips on how to prepare it. Carrefour told Reuters in June 2019 that it had implemented this initiative with a growing number of products, including chicken, eggs, milk, oranges, pork, cheese and more.

Carrefour has seen sales boosted by the use of blockchain ledger technology to track meat, milk and fruit from farms to stores and will extend it to more products to increase shopper trust. Carrefour’s blockchain project manager Emmanuel Delema notes, “You are building a halo effect — ‘If I can trust Carrefour with this chicken, I can also trust Carrefour for their apples or cheese.’”

Learn how IBM Blockchain is helping to build a smarter food supply.

Watch: Food safety and provenance

See how Transparent Supply is building a next-generation supply chain.

Read the brief