Steem Business App - POS(Point of Sale) & Rebates

in #steem2 years ago
So I've been thinking about this idea for months now. Different versions, tweaks and what have you have entered my mind during this time, but as with many things, there are obstacles I'm yet to know how to overcome. Mostly the challenge, at least for me, is coming from the legal side of things, but if that is solved, then I can't see why this can't be implemented rather quickly.



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It's not solely about the upvotes


Some very smart individuals have been sharing some ideas lately on how to build a business on the STEEM blockchain. One of top witnesses, @aggroed, recently started a contest based on this very thing. This post of mine is not really an official entry, but rather my contribution to these ideas.

As we have it today most if not all businesses that are being built on the STEEM blockchain are based around upvotes. In other words, the idea of how to "make money" on STEEM has more to do with the allocation of the reward pool than bringing more investment into the blockchain. The reasons why this is problematic should be obvious, but it might be enough to say that this model itself can never be truly sustainable, because it relies on currency inflation, which is fixed, and not increasing the value of the currency, which is not capped of course.

Let's think about this for a couple of minutes and draw some dreadful conclusions. If all businesses on the STEEM blockchain were built on how to get more of the reward pool directed to a particular initiative or business, then when will the reward pool not be enough? Now, I'm sure that answering this question is not really that easy, and it's probably not meant to. The valuation of STEEM of course has a lot of to with if a business can thrive of fail on this blockchain, but as we know, the valuation of STEEM is something reliant on speculators almost exclusively, at least at the moment.

The important question here is: How can we change that? - Is there a way we can use the STEEM blockchain as a payment method as well? I mean, the advantages of this blockchain are pretty obvious to us all, the three second blocks, the "free" transactions, the ease of use, all these things we know and love about STEEM but how can a restaurant, a retail store or any business for that matter participate of this with us?

POS - Point of Sale


Even if you've never worked in a restaurant or a retail store, there is almost a 99% chance you've seen one of these nifty little machines. Specialized computers with a simplified interface that allow the waiter or salesman to generate the sale, charge, print the receipt, etc.

Needless to say this is nothing new, and of course implementing something like this on STEEM is not really that difficult. As a matter of fact @asbear long ago gave it a good go, and created http://steempay.co for this exact purpose. The interface is quite simple to use, and the process of paying is also very intuitive, as it just generates a QR code that can be scanned with a phone directing you to steemconnect.



To me this idea was nothing short of genius, but as with many things on this blockchain, it probably came before it's time. It's still functioning of course, but as far as I know It did not catch on, and that's probably because the other elements of this particular idea were not present as of the creation of this POS system.

I won't go into more details regarding https://steempay.co , but I do believe it's in everyone's best interest to go to the website and explore it's functions. You can create products, set exchanges, create carts, etc.

This of course solves the issue on how to make a POS system efficient, at least partially, but it can be fine tuned to fit any business, and I'm sure that a talented developer would be able to do this in a very short time granted the source code for steempayco was to be made public. (I've not confirmed at the moment if it is or not)

But we need fresh money, right?


Not that there is something wrong with existing steemians using this type of system to buy food, clothes or whatever business accepts STEEM this way. Regardless of the POS system, which of course is necessary for efficiency, what is probably more crucial is to get none steemians to jump onboard and take advantage of the benefits of using STEEM as a form of payment.

The rest of this post/idea is somewhat impossible at the moment, at least in my country of residence, but this is probably going to change soon. I speculate that if coinbase was to list STEEM, the issues for pragmatic conversion from STEEM to fiat would be solved, and thus the implementation of this system would be cake as they say.

However to continue my point, allow me to pretend there are no legal hurdles we must overcome for that particular aspect of this business idea. I know for example STEEM monsters does accept credit cards for the purchasing of cards and free accounts, but I'm not sure this would apply to a POS system at a restaurant that sells you STEEM or SBDS to replenish your account, in very much the same way we use gift cards.

Gift Cards?


Not really, not in the "traditional" sense at least, but somewhat similar. Imagine if you will that @crimsonclad opens up a heavy metal t-shirt store in her home city. She loves STEEM, she loves metal, she loves T-Shirts, it all pans out, right? Ok, now imagine that when people come to her store to buy merchandise she can give people the option to buy STEEM accounts loaded with a particular amount of STEEM or SBD.

For the sake of argument, let's say that her t-shirt business is called @crimstshirts and that she as a business owner setup this account with 2000 SP and 200 SBDS to begin with. These numbers of course, I'm pretty much throwing out there with the idea of painting a scenario and not because they've been carefully calculated with sales volume or ticket average, but bare with me for a little while longer.

Now, someone walks into the store, they see that @crimstshirts accepts STEEM and that you can get your STEEM account for free, if you load it with 20 STEEMS to begin with. Keep in mind that at this point the POS system would have to be able to charge FIAT for this very transaction and that the POS system would also be able to create easily and account for the new Steemian.

Every time @crimstshirts sells STEEM tokens or SBDS to her clients, she would be effectively cashing out the STEEM she holds, but of course she would have to constantly be replenishing the STEEM and SBD she is selling via this method. In theory, this would create a constant STEEM buying cycle that would be beneficial to the blockchain, granted it's not too complicated for the business, in this case @crimstshirts, to buy more STEEM.

People would walk away with brand new STEEM accounts, minted right there on the spot and with the ability to transact with STEEM right away.

I know what you are asking, Why would people buy STEEM with Fiat to buy T-shirts? I'm glad you asked.

Time to get creative


This last leg of the equation would have to be decided by the business and pretty much can be as flexible as possible. The advantage to the business as we all know is quite simple to see, they get instant settlements of STEEM when they sell merchandise, but also can gain valuation of the tokens they elect to hold on to.

However the benefits depending on the operation can be many more. Off the top of my head I can think of a mechanism of incentives that should make a thinking sapiens love the idea of holding STEEM to purchase t-shirts from @crimsonclad.

Wanna win STEEM back for your purchases?

That could be something, and something quite tasty. Who doesn't like discounts? People who are not right in the head I tell you, that's who. So imagine that this POS system could on the STEEM blockchain, upvote the transactions that the users are generating when they purchase things from @crimstshirts. Would that not be something?

So picture the scenario:

  • Me, the client, goes to Crimmy's store.
  • I buy 40 dollars of SBD;s and get my free account.
  • I make 5 purchases in two weeks (I'm a fan)
  • Everytime I do it's posted on my STEEM account (think reviews, pictures, whatever you want)
  • I win rebates in the form of upvotes for buying the stuff I wanted to buy anyways.


How is that not a win/win?



Other considerations


Granted for my example, my little idea of how @crimsonclad could moon selling t-shirts, I'm using Crimmy, someone who is very familiar on how the blockchain works and would probably require no help. But, a system of the sort for a mom and pops would require technical support and thus a team of people that could provide it.


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So in order for this to work, or at least the way that I see this working, the developer of said app, said POS system could also offer its services as technical support. The employees of this new POS system company could very well be steemians as this would make the most sense, but not necessarily bloggers, vloggers or what have you, just people who grasp the blockchain.

How would this company, the one that developed the system make any money? Where is the profit? Well, this also has to be thought of, but off the top of my head it makes sense to me that this company would charge either a small fee for each transaction, and I do mean really small. Or that most of the money would be made in the form of curation for the stores working under the umbrella and/or technical support.

These last two bits are the ones were the lines become a little blurry, but just because I'm trying to think of ways to make the process as frictionless as possible. We can't in the name of making money suggest a system that is too complicated or more costly that paying the 2.7-3.5 Percent that normal credit card processing companies charge, because I'm sure such ideas would be turned down faster than lightning.

At any rate, If you got this far, if you had the visual stamina to read my crazy little idea, first: Thank you, and second: Tell me what you think about it? Could it work? Should Crimmy sell her old T-shirts? How much would you pay, etc?

As always, much love my friends

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Cashback via upvote for buying os steem is s great idea. Its also sn instant way to share "i got this stuff", similar to checking in at a location on other social platforms.

I like this idea, and I'd buy tshirts this way.

it makes perfect sense to me... i realize that the app has to be simple to use... the client side, so that people who would buy the "gift card" would have an easy way of spending their funds... but thats a UX thing imo.

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I had actually read the same post and was thinking along similar lines to you. Basically an app that takes in steem and pays in fiat to any business.

https://steemit.com/busy/@niallon11/steemtransfer-theoretical-concept

This is the answer that i gave to the same post. The main problem that i see right now is how tough it is to turn fiat to steem and steem to fiat. If we can make a simple solution to this i really feel that it will make all the difference to mass adoption. The majority of people will never get involved while everything is so complicated to work through so until we can make it a straight line it's going to stay a niche endevour.

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After our chats this morning about how a business which relies solely upon distributing the reward pool is no business at all, I'm really happy to see that you've written all this up!

Now, I am a little biased, because I actually AM opening up a merchandise store for shirts, in the works, lol... But this is the sort of thing that I'm hoping to see being discussed more. Someone already in STEEM acting as a node to facilitate more people entering into STEEM; I can imagine that services to make this process easier, safer and transparent using the fabulous blockchain at our disposal would be incredibly popular.

I'm hoping to learn more with some of the meetings I have coming up this week about what it would look like for an individual to be able to sell STEEM for fiat to customers/clients in person with a mobile portal, but that still involves an outside provider. Looking into a well documented suite that allows for transparently exchanging and allocating STEEM in a true wallet to wallet fashion is the next step to making it a more viable currency in exchange for goods beyond the chain, with the added bonus of bringing more people into our ecosystem of creators with goods they would love to get STEEM for.

You are?? hahahah how awesome is this...

/me is a prophet for a day

<3

I'm going to share this with Aggy, not for the competish... not really, but because I would love for him to poke holes in the idea.

Not MY old metal shirts, that would be silly because I love them and they'll be buried with me... But a line of ffr merch that has been long asked for is coming 😁

Way, way to complicated for the average user. I can't even explain people about steem.

You think so? not if we have a very simple dapp on the cell phone for them to make the payments... a scan and pay kind of app.

Check out Palmpay.io

If I figure it right, when an account was created, EvilCrimmi Co.™ would receive a small incentive, perhaps a kickback, from Steem due to inducting a new cultis... err, member. Given that we can do with steem whatever we want, this kickback could basically be replicated via creating/investing-in a whale-account that would auto-upvote the blazing hell out of the generated transaction.. a bot-facilitated "first post" (likely from the whale-account itself) announcing the new account under some ridiculously obscure tag that nobody would ever see.. and preferrably, a tag that would be unsearchable. If I'm not wrong, the blockchain-process itself would render forgeries unprofitable.

Then bolster this having the New Acct automatically upvoting that post, and following the curation-trail of that whale account, and therefore inflating the bloody hell out of each transaction, institute an excruciatingly granular method of dividing the payout between SP and SBD... and you'd be whittling away at the Stake via the 'death-by-a-thousand-tiny-cuts' method.

But..it could, theoretically, be only a house-acct (within all of the EvilCrimmi™ franchises which finally complete the purge of Hot Topic stores throughout every mall in America) which individually serves as a currency exchange (POS) in an of itself.

I think the crux of this would be an in-house (franchise) established method of delegating the payout back to both the specific purchaser's account, but to ALL of the franchise's/umbrellas investors (every purchaser who held a franchise-aligned [IE: on the curation trail] acct.

This swiftly gets into an area of scalability and tax-liability which is far beyond my understanding.. So glad the gods trade in salt rather than fiat currency... lol.

Well, it's a bit beyond my capacity to understand, but I can see how it has a lot of potential if the details can be worked out.
The blockchain could hold all the sales records, thus helping the honesty of both the seller and the buyer.

this really hits home for me because i own quite a few off chain businesses. and would love to accept steem directly.

the issue is for me creating recurring subscriptions which i don’t think is possible yet. but looking at things like steempay is a great option with potential for what i wanna do.

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It's not too hard to do... honestly... we got enough talent on STEEM to make this a reality.

Ooh, I like your thinking!

From the consumer's point of view you need to make the process similar to thinks that they are familiar with.

For Brick and Mortar stores the familiar concept is a rewards card. Almost every chain store uses rewards cards. I think you could make it so that the process of signing up for a rewards card will create a new Steem account or connect to an existing one. The user can use a credit card to make purchases like normal, but the reviews and rewards points would all be on the Steem blockchain. Of course, the rewards would be in the form of STEEM and SBD, which would mean that people would become accustomed to spending STEEM and SBD for goods.

The other familiar process is signing up on a vendor's website to make an account before you make a purchase. Someday, maybe, signing up for a Steem account will be as quick and painless as registering an email address with a new online vendor. It should be pretty easy to use the blockchain for doing rewards transactions, rebates, and promotional stuff like that.

But what about the vendor's business? Where is the benefit for them? They will still need to buy POS hardware and it will still need to have reliable network connectivity, won't it? The vendor doesn't care too much about the transaction costs, they just pass that on to the customer. What they want is a low-effort POS system that is 100% reliable.

Businesses built with the sole purpose of harvesting the rewards pool clearly detract from the platform.

You hit on a great point. A business model isn't enhancing steem, then it is a negative business model.

I think the real value of STEEM is the low transaction cost. Businesses that transact sales for goods and services on STEEM have to hold some STEEM to engage in the business.

Since most of the people using SteemIt are interested in social media and web development, I figured that the advertising market is the lowest laying fruit for Steem.

I've been trying to sell ad space for STEEM . If I could find people interested in online ads, then I could pull Google Adsense ads from my site.

I think this is great for the upcoming digital tsunami that will come to online payments in general and would love to see how this is taken to the next level for sure. As I read it, I also think how this could also become a sort of loyalty system for businesses. So, as you get a free STEEM account for a purchase, you can also get upvotes for reviews but also for future purchases. Buyers can then use STEEM/SBD earned for future purchases which provide a sort of discount for buying the product. I think there is a great opportunity here somewhere. Look forward to seeing where it could go and how it can be supported by the community, including myself.

I think this idea of "Steem Back Rewards" is a great idea man. I think the mos difficult hurdle with any "program" like this is explaining how the system works to the consumer and them being fearful of it being a scam.

very true... that being said, Uber currently is selling Uber bucks at a discount to be used with their services. It's somewhat similar... Hence why using the gift card analogy would work best.

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Honestly, I think its a pretty good idea (from the merchant's point of view) but what about the buyer...
...especially those that don't understand the blockchain, they would want to see other merchants using this system where they can buy other stuff using steem else they would feel like you are offering them something that can only be used in your shop.
All am saying is that for this to work we need a community of merchants to flood the markets/streets so that buyers can see other alternatives to use steem.
-Just my two cents-

I wonder about something. How granular do we want to make SMTs?

If we want them to be as much granular as possible, and potentially any business of any size should be a great candidate for one, then why not create a SMT for the t-shirt store too?

This way the brand is separate, in a way the value of the token fluctuates independently of STEEM, but at the same time all SMTs are linked to STEEM, so it should reflect in the value of STEEM. Reward pool itself is for the store business use only.

It has its risks, because unless you have a great business model and customers, this can go south easier than under the STEEM umbrella.

I may be wishful thinking, but if enough small businesses will be interested to have their own SMTs, pressure of the market will at least make STEEM suitable for more direct pairs with fiat.

I personally love your POS solution. But I am a bit worried about legal issues wherever it would be implemented (and it won't just apply one law, but it depends on location of the POS). Why do you think Coinbase is extending region by region, and sometimes country by country?

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