American Express uses HyperLedger for new blockchain rewards program
The new system lets it match individual products for the first time, without breaking inventory systems.
It's designed to let the company and its participating merchants reward participants in a much more specific way, with a system that can be integrated into existing merchant inventory systems.
It's starting with just a handful of products from online retailer Boxed, including Dove soap, Cheerios cereal and other specifics. In coming months, however, American Express expects to make the system available for almost all its merchants.
The blockchain system has created a way of creating and varying programs for individual customers and individual merchants based on individual products, certain times of day, certain days of the week and similar.
"They can create programs based on a time of day, day of the week, by incentivising a customer to download their app. The number of ways merchants can reward customers with Membership Reward points will be exponentially increased," said Chris Cracchiolo of American Express Membership Rewards.
Previously American Express has been able to target individual customers and particular merchants for certain offers based on their spending behaviour, but specific products and other factors have remained unavailable.
Airlines, which are largely tied to their customers with frequent flyer programs, were quick to start exploring the space and rolling out their own programs. Individual companies like Japanese online retailer Rakuten have gone a step further, with plans to create an outright cryptocurrency rewards program.
The potential of blockchain and cryptocurrency in customer loyalty is widely apparent, and any large brand that wants to find ways to reward customers in certain ways for certain actions might find something there.
Daimler for example is testing the limits of blockchain technology and crypto rewards with MobiCoin, a digital rewards token that participating drivers can earn for driving in a green way. Blockchain's potential for giving customers more real and direct ownership over their own points can not only decrease costs for merchants and providers, but may also help better encourage customers in certain directions in the long run.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VEN, XLM, BTC and NANO.