Vivien Zhang explains how, in the rapidly evolving landscape of retail, emerging technologies are driving transformative changes in consumer behaviour and industry practices.

SOLAIRE, a pioneering retail tech company, is harnessing the power of Web3 technology to reshape the retail experience for both brands/retailers and consumers. In this article, Vivien Zhang – the mastermind behind SOLAIRE.- explores the journey, the vision, and impact the platform will have on the retail industry.

From Fashion to Web3

Vivien Zhang is an industry veteran with fifteen years of experience in luxury fashion. Witnessing the transformative influence of social media and the creator economy in the retail sector, she recognised the immense potential of Web3 technology. Inspired by the concept of a “Consumer Wallet,” SOLAIRE aims to leverage blockchain as a shared public database to address challenges such as traceability, transparency, trust, and interoperability in the retail industry.

Empowering brands and consumers

SOLAIRE’s innovative approach is reshaping the retail landscape for both brands/retailers and consumers. By utilising the Consumer Wallet, brands and retailers can seamlessly bundle merchandise, experiences, and content, creating comprehensive customer profiles and fostering meaningful engagement. It does this without crypto (wallet) or crypto, hence no change in customer behaviour. The platform also enables circularity by making resale more transparent and accessible, providing additional revenue streams for brands. With its modular, plug-and-play white-label APIs, SOLAIRE offers a user-friendly and customised solution to meet the unique needs of different industries, including fashion, art, sports, and entertainment.

Overcoming challenges

The development of SOLAIRE has not been without its challenges. One major hurdle has been the misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding Web3 and NFTs (non-fungible tokens). To address this, SOLAIRE has taken an advisory role, offering hands-on training and education to clients and consumers. By effectively articulating the value and practical use cases of Web3 technology, the company aims to overcome scepticism and broaden adoption.

Another challenge that SOLAIRE has had to overcome is how they differentiate themselves from other Web3 tech companies that offer IOT solutions. It does this by highlighting their innovation with their non-custodial consumer wallet that can be easily created for each customer, and hence, becoming the customer’s ID- to buy, store, manage and resell all connected products right on the blockchain.

Envisioning the future

Expanding into sports, entertainment, and art, the company aims to offer a seamless platform for creators to deliver their products and services via blockchain. Consumers will have a secure and convenient on-chain space within the Consumer Wallet to store, engage with, and trade their valuable possessions. This user-centric approach is poised to revolutionise retail by empowering consumers and transforming their behaviours, while providing perpetual royalty collection for creators.

Advice for aspiring female innovators

As a woman in tech, Vivien offers valuable advice for those looking to develop ideas or products with these three key points:

  • Embracing the unknown without fear is ‘paramount.’
  • Taking action, learning from mistakes, and continuously seeking knowledge will gradually uncover the path to success.
  • Seeking advice and assistance from others is also crucial, as collaboration and support can open doors to opportunities that might otherwise remain undiscovered.

It is apparent that SOLAIRE’s pioneering use of Web3 technology is revolutionising the retail industry by addressing long-standing challenges and empowering both brands/retailers and consumers. Vivien Zhang is clearly shaping a future for women in tech, where seamless engagement, transparency, and circularity are the pillars of retail. As a second cohort of ‘Women of the Future, a book published annually highlighting women in emerging tech, Vivien looks to further contribute to ‘women in tech’ via events, podcasts and nurturing the next generation to drive innovation.

As the retail landscape continues to evolve, Vivien and SOLAIRE is at the forefront, ushering a new era of retail – one that is powered by Web3 technology.

SOLAIRE is deemed to be ‘one of the start-ups to change the landscape of retail’, as it is one of the cohorts, of the highly selective Farfetch/Outlier Ventures Dream Assembly Accelerator.