Industry Insights

If you’re looking for experts’ perspectives on the retail environment or a detailed look at the latest retail industry trends, check out the Retail TouchPoints Industry Insights section. Topics cover the gamut from Omnichannel and Mobile to Shopper Engagement and Retail CRM. These articles can help round out a complete look at specific retail segments or the industry as a whole.

Verizon Data Breach Study: 5 Steps To Mitigate Risk

They say there is nothing new under the sun, and with respect to data breach incidents, the saying is mostly true. In fact, the most successful data breach methods from last year are still among the key methods being used this year. But there are several steps retailers can take to avoid data breaches, or at the very least mitigate their impact.1 VerizonDBIR cover

Retail TouchPoints spoke to Chris Novak, Director of Investigative Response, Verizon Enterprise Solutions and author of the Verizon Data Breach Study, who revealed that a retailer's greatest asset is its employees. In fact, the simple act of communication with, and among, store associates about the appropriate response to a data breach can be what separates a retailer from the potential loss of millions of dollars — not to mention long-term damage to the company's reputation. It's also vital to close security gaps quickly once they are discovered, given that 90% of vulnerabilities exploited by criminals are at least one year old.

Verizon’s ninth annual Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) provides an in-depth look at the cybersecurity landscape, drawn from more than 100,000 security incidents worldwide in 2015, with key findings that include: 

  • 97% of breaches featuring stolen credentials leveraged legitimate partner access;
  • 90% of vulnerabilities that are exploited are over one year old;
  • 70% of payment card skimming incidents can be blamed on criminal organizations; and
  • 63% of confirmed data breaches involved weak, default or stolen passwords.

Hackers Moving Faster

Financial firms were hit with the most data breaches last year, with some 795 breaches, followed by the accommodation/hotel sector (282), information sector (194), public sector (193), retail (137), and health care (115). 


Does End Of Victoria's Secret Catalog Signal Print Marketing's Demise?

Unwanted catalogs have been the bane of homeowners (and postal carriers) for many years. Heavy, bulky reams of paper that are typically tossed in the trash within minutes of arrival. But the Victoria’s Secret catalog somehow managed to survive the trash bin — until now.1 catalog

L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, recently announced it would create three business units: Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, Pink and Victoria’s Secret Beauty. The goal is to focus on core brands and digital advertisements. Missing from the company’s plan: the iconic catalog.

The retailer spends over $100 million a year sending out between 250 million to 300 million copies across the globe, according to estimates from MarketWatch. If the demise of the catalog is true, it would become just another piece of print lore and another nail in the paper-based industry’s coffin. In addition to their costs, it's more difficult for brands to target paper catalogs to specific customer groups or individuals, compared to digital forms of marketing and communications.


Retail Spy Case Accuses Modell’s CEO Of Posing As Dick’s Exec

Modells CEO
In retail’s own version of “spygate,” Dick’s Sporting Goods has filed a complaint in a New Jersey court claiming that Mitchell Modell, CEO of Modell’s Sporting Goods, posed as a Dick’s executive to gain access to confidential business information.

According to an article on,the complaint alleges that Modell visited a Dick’s store in Princeton, New Jersey, and pretended he was a Dick’s executive waiting to meet with the company's CEO Edward Stack.


Flash Sales And Daily Deals: A Passing Fad?

FEAT Flash Sale 030414 FVFlash sale and daily deals retailers, such as Gilt Groupe and Rue La La, shook up the traditional commerce model when they first broke into the retail scene in the late 2000’s.

Since then, the flash sale space has been in a constant state of change. While new eTailers seem to be emerging on almost a daily basis, others are shutting down, or being acquired by their larger counterparts. Others, however, are growing consistently and even going public.

For example, Zulily, the flash sale site geared towards mothers and children, made headlines in November 2013 after taking the company public. The site has shared success since the launch of its IPO, posting a Q4 2013 profit of $4.5 million and a full year net income of $12.9 million. Gilt Groupe is expected to be the next in line, with Bloomberg reporting that the eTailer has selected Goldman Sachs to manage its IPO.


Retailers Increase Spending On Product Listing Ads By 300%

PLAGoogle’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are playing a major role in the company’s “pay-to-play” ad format. Over the past year, PLAs have soared in popularity due to their expansion to smartphones and new customer-facing featPures. Because consumers are using PLAs more frequently, retail advertisers have increased spending on the PLA channel by approximately 300%, according to research from Marin Software.

In addition to growth in overall PLA spending, the share of spend on PLAs increased from 12% to 15% throughout the year. By December 2013, retailers were allocating 23% of their paid search budget toward PLAs, a 92% increase over January 2013.


In-Store, Customer-Facing Technology Is Most Important To Retailers


Retailers stated that in-store, customer-facing technology is “most important” to their organizations, followed by real-time retail and unified commerce. These and other findings were revealed in the 15th Annual POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey, issued January 2014 by Boston Retail Partners.

With customer experience as the driver, customer-facing technology is critical for enabling consumers to tailor their own shopping experiences, the report indicated. Unified commerce is the means to meeting customers' needs and providing the expected overall customer experience, and real-time retail is the key to making that happen.


E-Commerce Law Expert “Unsure” If Bitcoins Will Become Mainstream

In January 2014, Overstock Chairman and CEO Patrick M. Byrne announced that the retailer would accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. Since then, retail experts have been researching the digital currency, and contemplating its role as a payment option for consumers in the future.

There are a number of security and legal implications retailers must understand before making a decision about Bitcoin acceptance. In the below Q&A, Jeffrey Neuburger, Co-Head of the Technology, Media and Communications Group for international law firm Proskauer, shares details regarding these implications and discusses developments in the Bitcoin world.

As an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law, Neuburger teaches e-Commerce law and lectures extensively on a wide range of issues, including emerging technology developments, intellectual property, outsourcing, privacy and data security. He is co-author of two books: Doing Business On The Internet and Emerging Technologies And The Law.


Holiday Results Call Price-Matching Policies Into Question


During the 2013 holiday season, retailers relied on time-sensitive deals, flash sales, door-busters and price-matching policies to drive sales.

Faced with a condensed holiday season and increasingly price-savvy consumers, leading retailers, including Best Buy and Target, promised to not only offer the hottest gifts at the lowest price, but to honor lower prices and discounts offered by competitors.

But what impact did highly competitive pricing and promotions strategies have on the bottom line?


Consistency, Personalization Valued Most Among Consumers



Whether consumers plan to purchase items online or in a physical store, they value consistency across all channels, according to a survey from Infosys.

Almost three quarters (72%) of respondents said consistency across online and physical stores was important; and 77% said they valued consistency across different physical branches. The study, titled: Rethinking Retail, spotlighted consumer perspectives regarding the omnichannel retail experience via a survey of 1,000 shoppers. Infosys also surveyed 50 U.S. retailers to understand how their organizations were keeping pace with consumer demands.


How Cloud Adoption Can Recharge Small Businesses

The IT landscape continues to change in the retail industry. As a result, smaller companies are looking for ways to add value to their IT departments and empower them to improve the customer experience and boost overall revenue.

In a recent webinar, titled: Leveling The Playing Field: The Benefits Of Cloud For Small To Midsize Retailers, executives from EarthLink Business discussed how cloud adoption can lead to success for SMBs.


Mobile Tops List Of Payment Technology Investments


As news of retail security breaches continues to capture headlines, mobile technologies are driving retail payment priorities, with risk of fraud and criminal activity a distant second.

The majority (67%) of respondents to a recent survey from Infinite Peripherals said mobile technology innovation is their top priority, followed by risk of deceptive payment activity, at 38%. Another 35% of respondents confirmed that customer preferences would drive their priorities, above the influence of payment providers (29%) or payment legislation (16%).

The survey, titled: The Infinite Peripherals 2014 Payment Technology Trends Survey, was conducted to help glean insight on current payment trends and investments. More than 6,000 respondents, including online and in-store retailers, app developers, mobile device manufacturers and resellers across the U.S., participated in the survey.


Financial Analysts Share Insights On Recent Data Security Breaches

Executives at Target and Neiman Marcus are reeling from breaks in data security systems that compromised millions of customers’ credit and debit card records. Now Michaels Stores is investigating a possible breach of payment network data. The U.S.


 Federal Bureau of Investigation has reviewed 20 incidents over the past year similar to these recent security violations, according to Reuters, and has warned retailers to expect more attacks.

Retail TouchPoints unveiled exclusive insights specifically on the Target and Neiman Marcus breaches, based on Q&A interviews with two financial market experts:

  • Rick Oglesby, Senior Analyst, Aite Group, a consulting firm specializing in the payments industry, and
  • Chris Wang, Owner and Portfolio Manager, Runnymede Capital Management.

Trend Watch: Data Security And Its Impact On Retail Innovation In 2014

data_securityData security has now risen to the top of the heap of conversations in and around the retail industry.

Undoubtedly, security breaches were not the planned topic of discussion for most retailers and solution providers during the 2014 NRF Big Show, but there was no way to avoid the topic.

Target, Neiman Marcus, and Michaels all have had customer data compromised within the past three months — and there are more to come, as warned by the FBI and all industry experts interviewed for this report.


Consumers Willing To Trade Data For A More Personalized Retail Experience


Ongoing technological innovation is increasing customer expectations, and as a result they command exemplary service and more relevant experiences across all channels.

As a result, consumers are more willing to share personal information if they receive customized offers and messages in return, according to research from IBM. Through a survey of 30,554 consumers in 16 countries, the company studied overall response to SoLoMo communication — or Social handle, Location and Mobile number.


Recap Of The 2014 NRF Big Show: Editorial Perspectives, News & Sessions

Recap Video Day 2

This year Retail TouchPoints sent its largest team ever to the NRF Big Show. Yet, no matter how many people we have roaming the exhibit hall, attending sessions, and conducting interviews with retailers and solution providers, it seems like we could always use a few more hands on deck. But, with two new members of the editorial staff joining the fray this year, we were able to put together an impressive amount of comprehensive coverage.

This NRF follow-up report includes three sections:

  1. Editorial perspectives from four Retail TouchPoints editors;
  2. Session recaps; and
  3. News briefs from before, during and after the event.
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