It's impossible to underestimate the need for brands to connect with the customer more personally and intimately. Most customers expect products and services tailored to their specific stories and needs. According to a study from McKinsey, "Next in Personalization 2021 Report," 71% of customers expect personalization, and 76% get frustrated when they do not find it. An emotional connection with customers is no longer a nice-to-have. 61% of customers expect organizations to celebrate their milestones.
There is a significant reward for a company that can personalize products and services. According to the same study, today's fastest-growing companies derive 40% of their revenues from personalization.
Although widespread, traditional loyalty programs are no longer the key to customers' hearts. Under 50% of Americans eligible for loyalty programs participate in them. Customers complain about managing them through different sites, and most do not collect rewards earned through classic loyalty points.
The pandemic has accelerated the rate of change in commerce, with 70% of customers experimenting with new shopping behaviors. There is an opportunity for disruptive competitors to capture the market by finding new ways to engage with customers and keeping them loyal.
"Tokens are valuable, representative, distinct, digital, and authentic assets," according to the Blockchain Research Institute. It's important to underline that tokens are not cryptocurrencies. Tokens are records of ownership on a distributed ledger and virtually embody the business value of any human activities.
Although they come from a pretty humble origin in gaming, tokens are reaching a tipping point where they're poised to disrupt the relationship between brands and customers.
For over a century, psychologists and behavioral scientists have studied token reinforcement, a significant concept underlying the token economy. The implications of tokens for consumer behavior are becoming more evident today, with prominent brands like Nike, Tiffany, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, and Louis Vuitton creating their tokens and adding more big brands every day.
Tokens are becoming a significant body of knowledge. Every introduction to blockchain will tell you about fungible and non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. Fungible tokens are classes of items that are exchangeable one with another, like loyalty points. Non-fungible tokens, on the other hand, are classes of items that are unique and individually recognizable, like a product with its serial number.
Tokens classification can go far beyond fungibility. The Token Taxonomy Framework (TTF) by InterWork Alliance does an excellent job of establishing a rich token classification based on a small number of basic types (fungible/non-fungible, fractional/whole, hybrid, singleton) and a large number of behaviors and properties.
Beyond tokens, another critical concept of tokenization is the wallet. The purpose of a wallet is to store the keys representing the identity of the customer or the organization. We can have both enterprise wallets owned by organizations and customer wallets owned by individual customers. While enterprise wallets safeguard the keys of the organization on which employees have signature rights, customer wallets allow users to own assets by enabling them to sign with the keys in the wallet.
Customer wallets are the key to customer centricity, as the customer will own and initiate all token related activities from a single point of control. The interplay between customers' wallets and enterprise wallets is at the heart of token-based business models.
It’s also important to mention that tokens avoid many integration challenges as the customer acts as the orchestrator of all the interactions through the distributed ledger.
Use case description
In this use case, we will see how ServiceNow helps organizations create and distribute their tokens. We will also see how ServiceNow can provide both enterprise wallets to allow the organization to manage the token lifecycle and integrate with customers' wallets to manage and present their tokens.
In the use case, we will see the customer journey of a user Alice who has bought a pair of running shoes from FastShoes. After her purchase, Alice can redeem an NFT from the FastShoes Customer Service portal, a digital twin of her product. The digital twin helps Alice validate the authenticity and the provenance of the product by knowing the item's manufacturer and its scores in terms of sustainability and workers' conditions.
By owning this first NFT, Alice can subscribe to an exciting challenge by FastShoes. If she can complete the SuperMarathon ending within the first 500 positions, she will receive two tickets for the concert of her favorite band, the StillWater, and meet the rock band at the show. Alice accepts the challenge. She trains very hard for the marathon, and on the event day, she arrives at the 250th position. The SuperMarathon organization also distributes an NFT representing Alice's accomplishment, which she receives and stores very proudly in her wallet.
To redeem the two tickets from StillWater, for her and her friend Bob, she connects her wallet to the StillWater website (also implemented with ServiceNow technology). She can cryptographically present the NFT from FastShoes, representing the product, and the NFT from SuperMarathon, representing her accomplishment. Stillwater can then recognize her and issue the two tickets for the concert, this time in the form of a fungible token.
It's crucial to recognize that in the journey we're describing, tokens are both inputs and outputs to business processes.
Even more importantly, the specific use case described can be generalized to different organizations and industries, where tokens represent other products, accomplishments, accreditations, and affiliations.
This use case highlights some significant capabilities of ServiceNow Token Workflows to manage the customer journey and establish a personal relationship between the brand and the customer:
- Establish trust in product history and provenance
- Create a bi-directional relationship between customers and brands
- Connect to customer moments that matter to build engagement and loyalty
- Unlock access to personalized benefits, discounts, limited editions
- Build more customer moments that matter
How it is implemented
In this demo, we're using a single ServiceNow instance, holding the keys for all the enterprise participants:
- the manufacturer BestProducer,
- the brand FastShoes,
- the marathon organizer SuperMarathon,
- the ticket reseller for StillWater.
The ServiceNow instance is integrated with the Hedera DLT, through the ServiceNow Hedera Connector, and to the customer wallet HashPack, through the HashConnect libraries.
The demo also uses NFT Storage to immutably store the NFTs' payloads on IPFS (InterPlanetary FileSystem).
Although we've favored the simplicity of having all participants in the same ServiceNow environment, it's essential to recognize that each enterprise participant may have its own ServiceNow instance without disrupting the demo flow.
Also, a party could play a role in the business process without owning a ServiceNow instance by directly calling into the ServiceNow Hedera Connector API.
Tokens represent a new avenue for customer engagement and loyalty, which can largely influence how customers interact with brands.
Organizations can broadly adopt the token paradigm, through the Now Platform, across different industries and products.
We have shown how the Now Platform can consistently orchestrate tokens through workflows, making ServiceNow the ideal environment to manage tokens at scale.
A key aspect of managing tokens is to make them not live in isolation but as part of existing business processes, which customers already govern on ServiceNow.
Token Workflows allow brands to create collaborative business models where multiple organizations can be part of the same ecosystem and collectively create customer value. This collaboration can include enterprises, sports teams and associations, public personalities, artists, and influencers.