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On Monday, Shopin, a start-up that creates universal shopper profiles based on blockchain technology, got a boost, thanks to a new partnership with retail adviser Marvin Traub Associates.

“When the world of retail looks for innovation, they turn to Traub and its legacy of success in assisting retailers achieve growth objectives,” said Eran Eyal, Shopin’s chief executive officer. Eyal is looking to Traub to help spread the word about its main premise — to create decentralized shopping profiles that are controlled by users, without being warehoused in a single repository or controlled by any single company.

Blockchain solutions like Shopin, which uses the Ethereum decentralized system, aim to give consumers more control over their shopping and personal data. People can grant access to retailers so they can offer personal experiences from their web sites, apps and stores. “Our unique vision for how blockchain technology, A.I., and cryptocurrency can create a more sustainable global retail economy is exactly what the ever-changing retail sector needs,” said Eyal. “In today’s environment, shoppers should be in complete control of their personal purchase data to share with retailers for the most amazing and secure shopping experience possible.”

Traub is no stranger to blockchain, being an evangelist of the technology.  

“We have been following blockchain developments closely for some time, and the technology used as a distributed shopper profile has tremendous potential to optimize critical security issues within our industry, as well as significantly enhance the consumer experience,” said Traub ceo Mortimer Singer. “With the current issues surrounding the security of user data, we are pleased to partner with Shopin and its mission to create a retail environment that respects user privacy while at the same time empowers retailers to succeed.” 

Consumer data protection has been in the spotlight recently, following the revelation that data from as many as 87 million Facebook users may have been used by Cambridge Analytica in the 2016 presidential election. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress last week to answer questions regarding the unauthorized use of people’s personal information.

The start-up’s cryptocurrency-based model — which is immediately compliant with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation — incentivizes users to share personal shopping data with retailers, with rewards for permitting ad, content and loyalty experiences. 

Traub will support Shopin with market education and outreach to prospective retailers to join Shopin’s decentralized shopper network. When the time comes, it will have some fodder to give juice to those conversations: Over two 30-day pilot programs, in which participating retailers invited customers to create Shopin profiles, sign-ups numbered as much as 719,000, and represented a 2 percent growth in conversions and $14.7 million in sales. 

Shopin’s cred in the retail sector goes even further back than the Traub partnership. The company enlisted Michael Herman, former president of global sales at Elie Tahari, as chief revenue officer last winter, and its chief executive is also the cofounder and chairman of online luxury marketplace Orchard Mile. Senior associate Michael Boord will also join Shopin’s board of advisers.

“The utilization of blockchain technology will streamline critical aspects across a number of industries,” Boord said, “and Shopin’s application of blockchain will help retailers provide a better shopping experience to their shopper base through smarter product recommendations and reward incentives.”

“One of the many challenges facing retailers today is they don’t have the benefit of a deep understanding or a 360-view of their customer’s first-party purchasing behavior across all platforms,” said Herman, who has previously worked with Natori, Donna Karan, DKNY, Wacoal and Valentino. “This is a key solution that Shopin provides. No longer will the shopper have to go hunting for the products they desire — instead the products they love will find them.” 

Shopin recently firmed up its private and public presale, raising $40 million. The public sale continues until the end of April.

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