The consumer economy is increasingly controlled by an oligopoly. Online marketplaces have shuttered brick and mortar retail stores to close in mass. Buyers in today’s consumer economy find cheaper and cheaper prices made available to the detriment of the traditional value chain. Traditionally, brands created unique and innovative products that distributed profit to multiple stakeholders through vertical layers of the economy. Brands sold to distributors. Distributors to wholesalers. Wholesalers to retailers. Retailers to end consumers. This value chain created wealth and jobs at each vertical layer. Today, this value chain has been disinter-mediated by the likes of a very few public companies - costing thousands of jobs.
Retail Barriers to Entry
Barriers to entry are high, limiting new merchants from entering the space. Expensive and fragmented systems are required to manage commissions, rewards, accounting, customer service, back office operations, and commerce - limiting the number of new merchants. The lack of market entrants further reduces sellers’ options and opportunities, allowing incumbent monoliths to corner the growing industry. Gemstra disrupts a social selling industry worth over $180 billion worldwide ($35 billion in the US alone). More than 120 million people in the world (20 million US) are involved in social selling. This number is growing between 7-10% annually and accelerating with global adoption of social media and expanding gig economy. Social selling presents the largest gig economy of the future and is likely to exceed $1 trillion worldwide in the next 10 years.
Social selling is dominated by giants like Amway ($8.8B), Avon ($5.7B), and Mary Kay ($3.5B). Sellers risk losing income they worked hard to earn should they seek mobility. The average Seller works 10-20 hours per month and earns between $250- $500. Earned income is generally added to help with the household budget. Today’s merchants have too much leverage and power in the relationship with sellers. The success of BOUTIQUES inspired Gemstra to build a broader solution to liberate social selling to the broader retail economy (worth over $24 trillion globally). ASTRA is a blockchain-integrated platform that serves as the technological infrastructure for social selling.
The Gemstra Solution
Related: Gemstra ICO Details and Timeline
Gemstra launched a proof-of-concept social selling marketplace called BOUTIQUES in July 2017 that improves the ability of the sellers to select the brands as well as the products they want to sell on the platform. BOUTIQUES quickly attracted 3000 sellers and 8 brands generating 7-figure annualized merchandise sales within 9 months of launch. The rapid growth of the boutiques proves that the retail brands will participate in selling through different channels including the social media and sellers will have the freedom to have their products sold on this platform. Gemstra will help the sellers to develop a separate and easy source for the merchants and trends to deploy a successful business model on the ASTRA platform in order to enable the services to be error-free over the long run. ASTRA promotes fair behavior and creates a trustless ecosystem for all actors in the social selling model.
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