You Thought Retail Was Dying? Think Again…

Over the past decade, e-commerce sales have soared. Many people are claiming that e-commerce will be the end of retail stores.

However, recent figures have shown that the reality is actually very different from what we were expecting.

Will E-commerce Really Replace Retail?

There is no doubt that e-commerce has transformed the way we shop – especially with the recent rise of buy online, pick up in-store trend that was recently introduced by Amazon.

Image Credit: Depositphotos

Of course, everyone has heard of the e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay. But how many other e-commerce-only stores can you name off the top of your head? The likely answer is: not that many. Actually, all but one of the top 10 US retailers are physical stores.

In fact, despite the many stories of retail stores being forced to shut down and liquidate, there have actually been a number of cases when it’s gone the other way around. This can be seen as recently as this year when Walmart bought up several of its online competitors.

Why is Retail Still So Popular?

But shopping online is so much easier. It’s fast, it’s convenient, and we don’t even have to get off the sofa…right?

 The truth is, despite what we tell ourselves, the world loves to shop. It satisfies some of our most primitive hunter-gatherer instincts and has cemented itself as one of our everyday habits.

Despite the rapid rise in technology over the past decade, there is still something inherently satisfying about walking into a store and picking up a physical product.

Often, we don’t just shop because we want to buy things. For many, it is a fun social experience, a way to relax and unwind, or simply an enjoyable way to pass time.

Combining E-commerce and Retail Shopping

Retail shopping is here to stay for the foreseeable future. However, mobile technology has undoubtedly changed our shopping habits irreversibly.

There has been a recent influx of retail apps over the past few years. The 7-Eleven app, for example, sends coupons to your phone that you can redeem in store.

It also has a member barcode that allows users to earn free drinks, a store locator, a feedback system, and a ‘7Rewards’ feature that gives users points for every dollar they spend in store to encourage users to download it.

Image Credit: Starbucks


The Starbucks app has also been a huge success. It allows users to pay and collect loyalty points without the hassle of an additional physical card.

The app was released back in Spring 2009. By October 2013, more than 11% of Starbucks’ sales volume came through its mobile wallet.

But what if there was a way to combine the convenience of e-commerce with the thrill of shopping in a retail store?


Shping is one new blockchain startup working on bringing ecommerce together with retail. It is designed to make retail shopping smarter – and it even directly rewards its users for their engagement in the process.

The way the platform works is simple. Users simply scan any product barcode using the app. From this, they can learn what is in it, where it is from, and whether or not it is certified. They will even have access to reviews from other users, which they can use to make a decision about whether or not to purchase the product.

Essentially, it provides the fun of retail shopping, while still allowing users to make a fully informed decision in the same way as they would when shopping online.

In return for scanning barcodes, uploading product photos, and writing their own reviews for products they have purchased, users can also earn Shping coins.

Large media giants like Facebook are currently making billions every year as a result of advertising to their 2 billion-strong user-base.

However, decentralized blockchain platforms will enable brands to channel their budgets to reward customers for their engagement, instead of funneling billions into faceless, third-party media companies.

Changing Advertising As We Know It

The process of combining e-commerce with retail could completely transform the advertising landscape as we have come to understand it.

Instead of companies having no other option than to shove advertisements in our face while we’re watching cat videos on YouTube or trying to chat to our friends on Facebook, they will be given the unique opportunity to connect to us right at the moment it is most appropriate – when we’re inside the store, ready to buy their product.

These unique features provided to us by the decentralization of advertising will undoubtedly allow brands to connect with their customers like never before.

Rewarding customers for loyalty will only strengthen the connection between brands and users.

Instead of feeling like a commodity being marketed to and spammed with advertisements for products they don’t want, users will become a valuable part of the process.

The whole landscape of shopping and advertising could be about to shift in front of our eyes.

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Bitcoin finds itself in an awkward position when it comes to merchant adoption. On the one hand, we have a lot of big companies showing initial support for cryptocurrency. However, the price gains over the past few years have not necessarily increased the number of merchants accepting Bitcoin. Jonathan Johnson, president of Medici Ventures, finds this situation rather strange. Top merchants should chomp at the bit to accept Bitcoin.

As we discussed in a previous article, top merchants are still very wary of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. More specifically, fewer top merchants now accept Bitcoin compared to 2015. That is a very troubling development, even though there doesn’t appear to be a clear logic behind it. Granted, Bitcoin is volatile, but retailers are protected from that by the payment processor. If Bitcoin’s price momentum is an indicator, retailers should be queueing up to accept cryptocurrency payments.

Jonathan Johnson Wants More Retailers to Accept Bitcoin

Johnson feels Overstock has seen quite an uptick in Bitcoin transactions so far. That is a strong indicator people are willing to spend cryptocurrency. Jonathan Johnson feels this momentum can translate to any other major retailer dealing with Bitcoin payments as well. With the vast majority of retailers still on the fence, changing this situation will not be easy. This major lack of merchants also makes it more difficult to spend Bitcoin these days.

According to Jonathan Johnson, the rising Bitcoin fees have made merchants warier. Then again, those fees were mainly a result of spam attacks against the network. Right now, fees are back to normal, as they always should be when it comes to Bitcoin. Even with higher fees, the cost of accepting Bitcoin is lower than dealing with card payments. That in itself should be enough for any retailer to at least experiment with cryptocurrency payments. There is no reason to pay too much money to accept payments.

After years of accepting Bitcoin payments, Overstock still keeps 50% of every transaction in BTC. That is down from the original 90%, but it is to be expected. Jonathan Johnson feels going half-and-half is more than acceptable at this point in time. Getting more retailers on board should be the number one priority right now. It is highly unlikely the likes of Amazon or Airbnb will ever do so, though. After all, they are happy with the way things go. Then again, making it easier for people to spend money on their platform is never a bad idea either.

Bitcoin is starting to gain mainstream traction in Japan. Earlier this month, the government introduced a new regulation legalizing cryptocurrencies. As a result, two of Japan’s largest retailing groups will enable bitcoin payments moving forward. In doing so, the groups aim to promote bitcoin as a mainstream payment method. An interesting turn of events, and one that spells a bright future for bitcoin.

It is good to see Japanese retailers embrace bitcoin payments all of a sudden. Bic Camera, a major electronics chain in Japan, is partnering with bitFlyer. Most cryptocurrency enthusiasts are aware bitFlyer is one of the largest bitcoin exchanges in Japan. The platform also provides merchant services to companies in the country.

Bitcoin Shakes Things Up in Japan

Contrary to what people may expect, Bic Camera will integrate bitcoin payments in their flagship shop. This is a brick-and-mortar location located in Tokyo’s Yurakucho district. Additionally, bitcoin payments are also coming to Bicqlo Bic Camera’s outlet in Shinjuku. It is good to see bitcoin make an appearance at physical retailers, rather than just their online counterparts. Customers can pay up to 100,000 yen in bitcoin, which translates to around US$900.

Recruit Lifestyle, human resources conglomerate Recruit Holdings’ retail support arm, partners with Coincheck. Coincheck is another major bitcoin exchange in Japan. Recruit Lifestyle will enable bitcoin payments at shops using the AirRegi point-of-sale application. It is expected this new payment will become available to consumers at some point during the Summer of 2017.

To put this latter news into perspective, AirRegi is used by 260,000 retail locations around Japan. It is possible to install the bitcoin payment option, although it is not mandatory. This application is also compatible with Alipay.All things considered, the Japanese payment ecosystem is diversifying, which is a positive development.

Before the new regulation went into effect, over 4,000 stores in Japan had already begun accepting bitcoin payments. The region is home to non-cash payments, and bitcoin will play an integral role in the payment ecosystem. Considering the current bitcoin price, there is plenty of reason for people to spend cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is no longer just an investment vehicle, as it is a global currency to reckon with.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock

Bitcoin accepting Amsterdam-based payments technology provider Adyen BV has expanded their next generation point of sale solutions to U.S merchants, after the firm reported its doubled annual revenue in 2015.

Adyen is a leading payments company that powers e-commerce payments globally for businesses such as Facebook, Uber and Netflix. The company has also began to provide a mobile-payments tool for multi-billion dollar businesses such as Uber and Airbnb, two venture-backed companies which skyrocketed in value over the past few years.

As the clients of Adyen began to grow in size, the processing volume of Adyen began rising exponentially, with annual transaction volume reaching $50 billion last year. The success of its clients led to the unforeseen surge in revenue, which totaled US$350 million in 2015.

To maintain its financial momentum, Adyen announced their plans to target U.S. retailers with point of sale, online and mobile purchases in a single, EMV-compliant solution. Adyen’s omnichannel solution which allows retailers to connect ecommerce and point of sale terminals in a single dashboard to benefit from many cost-effective and time-saving solutions.

The Adyen team provides the following solutions that could be implemented by today’s retail giants operating in the U.S.

  • The ability to buy online and pick up in-store
  • Enabling in-store shoppers to order out of stock items online
  • Making it possible for online shoppers to return items in-store (and vice versa) – leading to lower levels of return fraud and greater cross-selling opportunities.

“The $22 trillion retail industry has been on the verge of delivering a true omnichannel shopping experience for years, but outdated and siloed payment systems have been in the way,” said Pieter Van der Does, co-founder and CEO of Adyen. “With Adyen’s omnichannel solution, forward-looking retailers will have the platform they need to surprise and delight shoppers with new experiences that also grow their revenue.”

If the firm successfully secures multiple partnerships with the country’s leading retail outlets and operators, Adyen maybe achieve another financial milestone by the end of 2016. Because of such opportunities and potential, Adyen co-founder and CEO Pieter van der Does explains that the company currently has the choice not to gear towards an IPO.

“We have the luxury where we don’t need to raise or go public,” said Pieter van der Does, Adyen’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “We are different from many other unicorns in that we are profitable. What is happening around venture capital and private equity doesn’t affect us.”

Adyen, in the extremely competitive market of the payment processing industry is one of the few companies that are actually driving high profit margins. Since many firms are trying to lower their transaction fees and operating costs to allure mainstream merchants and clients, only established venture-capital backed companies are surviving in the industry.

More importantly, if Adyen successfully integrates its software in leading retail outlets, mainstream Bitcoin users will be able to spend the digital currency at ease, with a robust yet simple platform. Although it is still unsure if the partnering retail corporations will implement Adyen’s bitcoin processing technology, Adyen’s expansion surely creates another market for Bitcoin to capitalize on.

True to their word, online mega-retailer is planning to open up bitcoin sales to customers outside of the United States.

The retailer said at the end of July that international bitcoin payments would be made available in six weeks, and now the New York Times is reporting that payments from customers abroad will be accepted come September 1st.

The acceptance will happen on Overstock’s international website,, according to company CEO Patrick Byrne, who told the Times:

[blockquote style=”2″]I know that’s it’s become part of the Bitcoin lore in the United States to shop on Overstock… My hope is that would happen at a global level.[/blockquote]

Overstock first began accepting bitcoin payments in January of this year in partnership with San Francisco-based Coinbase — nearly six months ahead of schedule.

An announcement of the company’s intentions (first reported worldwide by NEWSBTC) in late 2013 gained significant press attention, forcing the company to put their plans into action before another company beat them to it.

Since then, a number of other high-profile retailers and businesses have joined the bitcoin bandwagon. These include Newegg, Expedia, and even DISH Network. More and more businesses continue to adopt the digital currency every day.

As for Overstock, the Utah-based company plans to bring in between $6 and $8 million worth of bitcoin sales this year alone here in the United States — with another $2 million expected from international customers.

I think has just taken another huge step forward in the cryptocurrency realm.

A report from Mashable indicates that the company is planning to offer its employees the option to accept bonuses in bitcoin. Yes, that’s right, bitcoin.

The information allegedly comes from company spokesperson Judd Bagley, who says the Utah-based e-retailer is currently exploring options in order to deploy the bonus system by the end of the year.

Should an employee elect to receive his/her bonus in bitcoin, they’ll receive a premium over those who want their bonus paid out in United States dollars.

On top of that,’s Bagley indicated that bitcoin sales have topped $2 million recently.

“We experienced an initial surge, there was a lot of excitement,” he said to Mashable. “It settled into something a little more predictable.”

While the move is certainly good news, it will probably not come as a huge surprise to members of the community. has been at the forefront of bitcoin adoption, becoming the first major company to accept the digital currency.

At the helm of the operation is Patrick Byrne, the company’s CEO, who admits to be a fan of bitcoin. When I spoke to Byrne last year, he called bitcoin “good money”.

So much does Byrne like bitcoin that he’s actually purchased several million dollars worth personally, and is keeping a small percentage of the bitcoin they receive. The company said recently at a bitcoin conference that they’re planning to donate a percentage of what they keep to further cryptocurrency adoption.

Kudos to Overstock!

[textmarker color=”C24000″]Source[/textmarker] Mashable

Best Buy fanatic? Some good news coming your way.

Popular gift card-purchasing retailer Gyft — well known in the cryptocurrency community for accepting bitcoin — is now offering e-gift cards for electronics retailer Best Buy.

Seemingly scores of users have been begging for the addition, and now it’s here. But that addition comes with a little bit a of letdown, so we’ll make you aware of that right off the bat.

See, Gyft is only allowing users to purchase up to $10 worth of store credit. The strict limit was met with confusion this morning on social sharing website Logo Small Square

But why only $10?! That kind of sucks..,” said one user. “Considering almost everything [at] Best Buy is well over $10.”

But as is almost always the case, an explanation is readily available.

Gyft co-founder and CEO Vinny Lingham made it clear that the limit is only temporary, adding that the particular connection to Best Buy is still in a testing program of sorts.

You got us,” he responded a couple of hours later. “We’re still in testing mode, but should have many more the denominations up within the next day or two.”

“We just want to make sure everything works 100% before opening up more,” he added.

Gyft has quickly become the bitcoin community’s go-to place to acquire gift cards, which allows enthusiasts to spend their bitcoin at retail outlets that do not yet accept the digital currency.

Some of Best Buy’s online competitors already accept bitcoin directly, however, which includes TigerDirect and Newegg. The question now is: when will Best Buy hop on the bitcoin train themselves?

One of the world’s largest e-commerce companies is apparently considering accepting bitcoin.

That’s according to the company’s CEO, Mr. Hiroshi Mikitani, who has said that “sooner or later”, Rakuten will allow its customers to pay for goods with digital currency.

The quote (via

[blockquote style=”2″]The Internet revolution is accelerating this year and I imagine that, sooner or later, Rakuten will start accepting money in the form of bitcoin (an internet virtual currency).[/blockquote]

The story originated from Chinese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, though unfortunately, further details as to when or if this might happen in the near future are not available.

What is known, however, is that Rakuten stands as a huge player in the world of online retail. With over 40 different businesses and 10,000 employees, they are certainly large enough to promote bitcoin even further.

Even more interesting is that fact that Rakuten even owns their own bank, which puts them in an interesting position should they decide to adopt digital currency like bitcoin.

The company has been on a roll in terms of expanding their business, having recently purchased and in deals worth hundreds of millions. The company even purchased communication app Viber for $900 million earlier this year.

This year has thus far turned out to be very interesting. It seems as if larger and larger companies are beginning to get interested and getting involved in becoming a part of the digital currency world.

Let’s see how long it takes Rakuten to flip the switch.

Some interesting comments coming from CEO Patrick Byrne, as pointed out by CoinDesk. The e-retailer’s head honcho took to a podcast at the Porcupine Freedom Festival recently and made statements that anyone in the community would be proud of:

“We’re going to start giving sort of special deals to the vendors who want to be paid in bitcoin,” he said.

That is to say, the company is looking to work more closely with businesses that deal with bitcoin. Why? Because Patrick Byrne himself is a huge fan of digital currency. In an interview with me last year, Byrne reiterated that bitcoin “is good money” for a number of reasons, including the fact that more of it can’t be created with the stroke of a pen.

Overstock has established itself as a prime example of how a bitcoin-accepting business should operate. They’ve made it clear through their actions that they aren’t accepting bitcoin for PR reasons, but because the boss is a believer. Moreover, instead of simply converting all bitcoin holdings to dollars, the company is holding ten percent of bitcoin revenues as just that, bitcoin.

Even recently, Byrne announced that his company was poised to begin donating three percent of bitcoin sales revenues to support cryptocurrency adoption.

If that wasn’t enough, he announced earlier this year that he’s gone out and purchased several million dollars worth of the digital currency as a personal investment.

How’s that for committed? Logo

The news that today flipped the switch on taking bitcoin payments certainly took many of us by surprise, but the preliminary sales figures may surprise you even more.

Overstock patio set small
A patio set sold on and paid for in bitcoin. Source: Overstock

It’s been a couple of hours since Overstock has had the option available, and already the retailer has sole a whopping $10,000 worth of items in bitcoin in that timespan. That amount comes from about 100 different purchasers, one of whom spent $2,700 on a 13-piece patio set. CEO Patrick Byrne told Business Insider that Coinbase had a plan of attack in implementing bitcoin on the retailer’s website in about a week, utilizing a team of 40 people at Overstock.

It goes without saying that the lot of purchases made today are from the “excitement factor”, but will they continue? Time, of course, will tell.