Retail TouchPoints - Your Source For The Latest Retail News And Trends - Retail TouchPoints - Retail TouchPoints Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:05:26 -0400 RTP en-gb Amazon Launches Flex For On-Demand Delivery Amazon Launches Flex For On-Demand Delivery

Amazon is officially competing against delivery services such as Postmates and Instacart with the launch of Flex, an on-demand delivery service using everyday drivers to deliver packages.

As part of the rollout, Amazon is advertising that crowdsourced workers can make $18 to $25 per hour by delivering packages using their own vehicle. These couriers can use the Amazon Flex mobile app to help route their deliveries.

{loadposition GIAA}Participating drivers must have their own vehicle and a valid driver’s license, be over the age of 21, pass a background check and own an Android smartphone.

Flex couriers will solely focus on delivering packages for Amazon Prime Now, the marketplace’s one-hour delivery service. Couriers may be able to deliver other types of Amazon orders in the future, according to the company web site.

The courier can sign up for a specific delivery block so they can pick up and deliver items within a local radius. Participants can choose available shifts in two-, four- and eight-hour blocks of time, or set availability for up to 12 hours per day in the future.

Amazon Flex is currently available in Seattle. The service will expand to numerous U.S. markets in the future, including New York, Baltimore, Miami, Dallas, Austin, Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta and Portland.

With Flex, Amazon will be able to oversee not only the online purchase but the shipping and delivery processes from beginning to end.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Tue, 06 Oct 2015 16:10:12 -0400
Five Practical Security And Risk Management Tips For Retailers

Kenya husband- Retail marketingAccording to a recent report, retail is among the top five industries suffering the most from data breaches, with POS intrusions accounting for one in four breaches observed last year. Not surprising given the fact that retail systems hold extremely valuable customer information, making them an attractive target for hackers.

With the recent surge in high profile data breaches, retailers are acutely aware of the need to safeguard against a possible security breach. However, the reality is that in today’s hyper-connected age, it is increasingly difficult to stay a step ahead of every security threat. It can be difficult not only to know exactly where to focus efforts for the best result, but also to justify the associated ROI. There are, however, practical steps that retailers can take to improve their security measures so they are armed with practical solutions that enable them to be better prepared and ready to act before a threat arises.

How Can Retailers Respond To Increasingly Sophisticated Hackers And Attacks?

The complexity of retailer environments can make it difficult to defend from intruders. As theretailpaymentecosystem continues to evolve, so too do the methods adopted by cybercriminals.More than ever before, retailers must be proactive and diligent in staying up to date with the right security practices. In the simplest terms, protection will require a mix of the right technology, planning, and training.Keeping pace with the changingretailenvironment,retailersmust ultimately promote a strong infrastructure, a secure POS system, an in-depth IT strategy, and properly train employees to minimize data breach risks.

Before employing new security practices, however, it’s important for retailers to determine what actions are most appropriate for their particular organization based on the data they house. They must ensure they are keeping consistent inventory of the data they collect, store, and transmit as well as the existing technologies in place managing that data. By following the five practical measures outlined below, retailers can identify potential security gaps and common points of entry, track how data is moved, who has access to it, and learn how to keep it secure, both physically and electronically.

1. Maintain current software with consistent patching. It can be a daunting task to routinely update software across the entire retail IT environment, but doing so will significantly decrease exposure to a breach that might allow malware to find its way onto retailer systems. Patch management allows retailers to address the security vulnerabilities that software vendors fix to make systems harder to compromise. As the use of cloud computing continues to grow, the number of devices and computing assets connected online will multiply, increasing the need for more frequent patching across more devices. Although deploying patches and updates across different locations and systems takes time, such actions drastically improve security.

2. Enable secure remote access to retail systems. Retailers must enable remote access to their retail environment to maintain their POS and other systems. However, intruders who manage to gain access to legitimate users’ logon credentials can covertly access sensitive systems in a way that’s not always easy to uncover. It’s important that retailers not only look out for unusual access patterns, but also enable two-factor authentication for accessing retail networks. Retailers can also use application and system logs, for example, to spot anomalies in how legitimate users access systems, so they can detect when administrative access is being misused by attackers.

3. Update network firewall practices. Retailers have been deploying network firewalls for years, but today, that’s not enough. Many firewall configurations only focus on restricting access from the Internet, ignoring ways attackers can move information internally from one network to another and take stolen data out. Implementing firewalls to segment the retail environment into multiple networks based on each network’s security requirements and the type of data they process will restrict how these internal “subnets” can talk to each other and make it harder for an attacker to get into another network. Using firewalls to then restrict outbound access from the retail environment will help provide the added protection needed in today’s retail landscape.

4. Apply additional layers of endpoint security. While antivirus is considered a foundational element to securing endpoints in retail environments, organizations should look to application whitelisting — a method used to prevent unauthorized programs from running — to strengthen malware defenses. Whitelisting locks downs the point-of-sale (POS) endpoint environment by only allowing those applications that retailers approve to run on the device. Antivirus and application whitelisting create a layered security approach to protect the POS environment and are critical elements to help prevent any intentional or unintentional changes to the system that might cause damage.

5. Keep staff informed of safe practices. An endpoint device or PC can be easily unintentionally put at risk by unknowing employees surfing the Internet and coming across an infected website or opening a malicious email. Once an adversary has gained access through this gateway, they can easily spread beyond it and gain access across a retailer’s POS environment from the corporate network. As a result, it’s important to train staff on best practices and protocols for maximum security prevention. This also highlights the importance of network segmentation and consistent software patching of corporate systems to counter any threats that result indirectly from employee behavior.



KenyaHusbandis the Retail Services marketing lead for NCR Corporation.Sheis a marketing leader who believes in walking up the down escalator, going beyond conventional thinking and seeing beyond the current circumstance.Husbandenjoys infusing new thinking into her strategies as she relentlessly strives to curate brand and content experiences that truly matter to the audiences she serves. To learn more about NCR Retail Deployment and integration capabilities please visitNCR Retail Deployment Services.


]]> (Kenya Husband, NCR) Executive ViewPoints Tue, 06 Oct 2015 11:35:55 -0400
Consumer Goods Intelligence Suite Helps Gauge And Bolster Consumer Loyalty Consumer Goods Intelligence Suite Helps Gauge And Bolster Consumer Loyalty

AS ConsumerGoods ImageRetailers and CPG brands need to better understand the consumer if they want to engage them at every touch point of their journey. In learning more about consumers, these companies can gain a more complete perspective on industrywide trends, so as to manufacture and release better products.

The Consumer Goods Intelligence Suite solution from Vision Critical allows brands to anticipate customer preferences, forecast trends to improve products and understand new purchasing behaviors influenced by native ads, social media and review web sites.

The suite enables CPG companies to build a two-way dialogue with customers through an opt-in online community. With the suite, retailers and CPGs can build detailed member profiles of their customers to keep tabs on attitudes and behaviors. Users can analyze and report on member feedback to determine the level of brand loyalty among individual consumers.

Gaining insight from consumers can enable brands to validate product concepts and iterate development of new ideas, while at the same time potentially reducing costs and minimizing risks.

The solution also offers a customer intelligence library pre-programmed with activities designed to address the most common CPG challenges.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Solution Spotlight Tue, 06 Oct 2015 10:15:23 -0400
Mobility DNA Suite Streamlines Mobile Activity Mobility DNA Suite Streamlines Mobile Activity

AS MobilityDNA ImageManaging mobile solutions can be a daunting task for retailers, especially when they are just beginning to adapt to mobile practices. Beginners in the space are advised to streamline their mobile solutions to keep workers productive and consumers satisfied.

Zebra Technologies has introduced the Mobility DNA suite of enterprise mobility software solutions to make business processes more efficient for mobile workers and channel partners. The suite includes a collection of applications, app development tools and administration utilities enabling businesses to maximize ROI on mobile deployments, all while minimizing complexity, risk and capital expenses.

Enterprise applications included in Mobility DNA include AppGallery, SmartDEX, TekSpeech Pro and Workforce connect Push-To-Talk Pro, while additional utilities include SimulScan, Swipe Assist, ShareCradle and All-Touch Terminal Emulation. App development tools such as RhoMobile, Mobility Extensions (Mx) and EMDK for Android are included to give users the easy handling of consumer smartphone platforms, without sacrificing the critical data functionality of enterprise solutions.

Zebra has also introduced two Android mobile computers: the TC75 and TC55 to help businesses accelerate the adoption of their mobility solutions, improve productivity and operational agility, and unlock enterprise asset intelligence.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Solution Spotlight Tue, 06 Oct 2015 10:09:03 -0400
Thought Leaders Unveil Top Strategies Through #RSPS15 Web Series Thought Leaders Unveil Top Strategies Through #RSPS15 Web Series

As the holidays get closer, retailers know they must execute their plans flawlessly throughout all channels if they hope to reach their internal goals and meet high customer expectations.

To gain insights on how to optimize planning and execution going forward, more than 1,100 registrants attended the Retail TouchPoints Retail Strategy & Planning Series from Sept. 21-25, 2015. #RSPS15 included nine webinars that shared tactical tips, insights, metrics and trend data necessary for retailers as they build out their strategies for 2016.

{loadposition GIAA}Presenters from companies such as StubHub, Forrester, Cisco and RetailNext offered their perspectives and real world examples to reinforce the strategies they have deployed through both e-Commerce sites and stores. Topics discussed include:

  • Which in-store mobility strategies succeed and fail, and why;

  • How to use analytics to improve the modern shopping journey;

  • How to drive new consumers through referral marketing; and

  • The metrics to help forecast revenue, retention goals and the overall success of technology investments.



Preventing Online Shopping Cart Abandonment

During the holiday season, retailers need to optimize their online shopping carts so consumers will be more likely to complete their purchases. In a webinar, titled: Revenue Rescue: Saving Sales When Shoppers Stray, Jim Davidson, Head of Research at Bronto Software, provided insight into how retailers can streamline their checkout processes.

The average retail web site has 5.45 pages between the shopping cart and order confirmation, according to Bronto research. Davidson advises retailers to simplify these pages by working with their e-Commerce providers and stepping through their own checkout procedures just as if they were a customer.

The good news when it comes to cart abandonment is that more retailers are sending cart reminders in 2015. In fact, 41% have sent at least one cart reminder email this year, more than tripling the 13% total in 2013.

“Don’t fear product and cart reminders,” Davidson said. “They’ve become a lot easier to manage. You get a lot of control as far as testing and optimizing the content.”

Keeping E-Commerce Customers Top Of Mind

Although in the past customers gained information on potential purchases primarily from the brand, e-Commerce channels provide shoppers with access to a wealth of information to help them in their shopping needs. This means the brand is no longer the product authority; it is now just one piece of the information pie. For retailers, this means that the brand experience they work hard to cultivate is no longer completely under their control. However, retailers still can provide value to their customers and enhance the shopping experience.

The first step is to understand how the customer funnel has changed. "We've seen some dramatic shifts in terms of the way consumers are navigating through the traditional idea of the purchasing funnel," said Mike Hay, Senior Director of Strategic Marketing Intelligence at ROI•DNA. "A number of things have happened over the past couple of years that have changed the dynamic of the funnel. Customers are now traveling down a much more complex path."

The best e-Commerce sites combine analytics with design to provide an exceptional shopping experience that addresses the parameters of these new funnels. During the session, titled: Creating A Customer-Centric Web Site, thought leaders from ROI•DNA and Symantec discussed ways retailers can design e-Commerce sites that are optimized for the customer experience.

StubHub Defends Itself Against Malicious Online Bots

There is a growing “bot problem” impacting e-Commerce businesses today. These “bots” are automated web scrapers that exist solely to scrape online prices, gather product data and monitor inventory and customer behavior. Often, competing retailers are the ones deploying the bots to gain an advantage through data collection. Additionally, hackers can use bots for various forms of fraud and theft.

As much as 60% of e-Commerce traffic can actually be attributed to these “bad bots,” according to Rami Essaid, CEO and Co-Founder of Distil Networks.

During the session titled: StubHub's Field Guide To Preventing Competitor Price Scraping, Unwanted Transactions, Brute Force Attacks, And Click Fraud, Marty Boos, Senior Director of Technology Operations at StubHub, explained how the retailer experienced similar challenges in trying to fend off these malicious scrapers before turning to Distil Networks to assist them in alleviating the problem. With the solution, StubHub has reduced competitive data mining, increased SEO rankings and cut page views in half without impacting its human users. This gave the StubHub team a more accurate sense of how many visitors are entering its site.

Drive New Consumers Via Referral Marketing

Referral marketing programs are a great way for a brand to not only acquire new customers but also to reward existing customers. “The best referral programs are the ones that drive the most revenue and reward both the friend and the advocate when the friend purchases or converts,” said Jen Gray,Director of Marketing at Extole.

During the webinar, titled: Build Referrals for Holiday Season And Beyond, Gray highlighted a referral program use case from e-Commerce retailer The retailer gave Gray the option to refer the web site to a friend after she purchased a tote bag off the site, offering a $15 discount on her next purchase of $75 or more. To implement this program, Kipling uses an API from Extole that enables promotion, sharing, tracking and reporting functions.

Yvahn Martin, Sr. Manager of Digital Marketing at, shared her thoughts on several practices the retailer has used to bolster the program, including:

  • Adding an overlay call-to-action on the site;

  • Adding promotions in transactional emails;

  • Adding product sharing; and

  • Turning its best advocates into “super advocates” for better offers.

Boost Performance By Applying Product Intelligence

Although nearly all retailers have already planned their assortment for the 2015 holiday season, they still need to sell it. The session, titled: Leverage Product Intelligence To Improve Category Performance This Holiday Season, explored the motivating factors that contribute to a shopper's purchase and how retailers can apply this knowledge to lift category performance.

For example, while e-Commerce provides customers with many options and opportunities, it also can create shopper stress. Retailers could boost sales by simply making it easier for customers to find the products they are seeking.

"There are opportunities to reduce shoppers' stress and uncertainty by guiding them a bit more," said Sucharita Mulpuru, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. "It's more than just offering every single SKU of a particular item, but also guiding them toward better items that could solve pertinent needs that they have."



Using Data To Build A Better Customer Experience

Although analytics are not limited to e-Commerce channels, many retailers find it more difficult to collect, measure and analyze in-store shopper behaviors. The truth is that today's retail landscape provides unprecedented opportunities to detect, connect and engage customers in the store. By applying in-store metrics such as traffic data, retailers can improve store operations and boost sales, creating an overall positive impact on the in-store experience.

"The retail store you know today will be transformed," said Keith Swenson, VP of Research and Development at Fujitsu North America, during the session titled: Use In-Store Location Data To Create A Better Customer Experience And More Sales. "Analytics used to be mostly manual and periodic. Instead, imagine that your business analytics was always on and immediately available with the information you need...Shopping, then, in the coming decade could be transformed into something we barely recognize today."

Why 60% Of Retailers Still Don’t Use Mobile

While mobile technology continues to grow in both capabilities and usage, retailers are still lagging behind when it comes to adoption. In fact, a Retail TouchPoints survey indicates that 60% of retailers still aren’t using mobile as part of their strategies.

During the session, titled: Mobile In the Workplace: What Are You So Afraid Of?, David Schrader, Director of Product Development at Empower Software Solutions, dove into some common reasons why retailers still hesitate to use mobile.

Associates being (or even seeming to be) distracted while on the job is the number one fear retailers have in implementing mobile campaigns. Additional fears included device damage, data security and legal concerns.

For the 40% of retailers that are using mobile, their biggest reasons for implementing these solutions are the ability of associates to see product pricing and information, and to have access to coupons and promotions a consumer may expect to be validated.

While there continue to be industrywide concerns, 65% of retail employees do believe they could better service customers if they were mobile-empowered, according to Schrader.

Using Analytics To Guide The Shopper Journey

The shopper journey is complex. By identifying its stages, retailers can address shopper needs specific to their location on the purchasing path. During the session, titled: Optimizing The Shopper Journey: Best Practices For In-Store Analytics, Tom Martell, Director of Advanced Analytics at RetailNext, broke the shopper journey down into four manageable stages:

  1. Outside the store;

  2. At the door;

  3. Inside the store; and

  4. Post-visit engagement.

By interacting with potential customers and guiding them through the shopping journey, retailers can directly address shopper needs and win sales and loyalty. Advanced analytics provides the key to unlock the value of this information.

"To compete today, retailers have their work cut out for them in order to best understand as many touchpoints as possible," said Martell. "We believe that for retailers to stay competitive in today's market place, a comprehensive focus on in-store analytics that touches every store in some way is critical."

Connect Store Assets To Gain Unique Insights

A holistic approach to store assets provides retailers with opportunities to collect and act upon valuable insights. The Internet of Everything (IoE) will serve as the catalyst to combine these assets and collect actionable data that retailers can use to boost operational efficiencies. For example, using cameras to measure traffic in specific areas of the store could provide indicators as to when the shopper plans to check out.

During the final #RSPS15 session, titled: Why You Need Sensor Fusion In Your 2016 Retail Analytics Strategy, Shaun Kirby, CTO, Cisco Consulting Services discussed how advances in indoor location technologies, video analytics and sensor fusion can disrupt the current retail landscape.

"The business value of these accelerated trends is staggering," said Kirby. "Over $19 trillion is expected to add to net present value over the next ten years. While much of the emphasis to date has been on the value of connecting things, we believe the full potential will come from three elements: Data, process and people."

]]> (The RTP Editorial Team) Omnichannel / Cross-Channel Strategies Tue, 06 Oct 2015 09:49:00 -0400
80% Of Consumers Are Willing To Share Basic Info For Better Experiences 80% Of Consumers Are Willing To Share Basic Info For Better Experiences

AR Aimia ImageRetailers and brands looking to learn more about their customers are in luck: More than 80% of consumers are willing to share their name, email address and nationality with companies, according to research from Aimia. More than 70% also are willing to share their date of birth, hobbies and occupation with brands.

When it comes to customer loyalty, consumers increasingly understand that sharing more data leads to more relevant rewards and experiences. Even as data breaches have become more commonplace in the retail industry, younger consumers are still confident about sharing their personal data with brands, especially as compared to their elders. In the U.S., 62% of Millennials and Generation Z consumers are willing to share this information, significantly higher than the 41% rate among Baby Boomers.

{loadposition GIAA}On a global scale, consumers appear less concerned about their data privacy than they were a year ago, with 42% expressing worry in 2015, compared to 48% in 2014.

To conduct the 2015 Global Loyalty Lens Report, Aimia surveyed more than 20,000 consumers in 11 countries to find out which brands are successfully capturing loyal consumers, and where they are falling short. The research uncovers consumers’ views on brands’ collection of their personal data, marketers’ efforts to personalize offers and messages and the state of customer loyalty today. At least 85% of the global respondents are part of one customer loyalty program in 2015.

Consumers from “disruptor nations” such as Brazil, India and the UAE are actually more open to sharing online purchase data (56%) than their “leader nation” counterparts (39%), who are more cautious about revealing specific identifiers. By the same token, 66% of respondents in disruptor nations are willing to share their mobile phone number, compared to only 37% of consumers in leader nations.

After gathering data from the consumer, marketers are doing well when it comes to delivering personalized, relevant messages. Three countries — Brazil, India and the U.S. — consistently rated communications as “very relevant,” selecting a nine or a ten on a ten-point scale.

Click here to access the report.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Trend Watch Tue, 06 Oct 2015 09:40:08 -0400
American Apparel Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy; Stores To Remain Open American Apparel Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy; Stores To Remain Open

After months of declining financial stability and an ongoing legal tussle with former CEO and Founder Dov Charney, American Apparel has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware. The filing is awaiting court approval.

In accordance with the filing, American Apparel has reached a restructuring support agreement with 95% of its secured lenders to implement an internal financial restructuring plan. The retailer will reduce debt and interest payments through a process known as a debt-for-equity conversion, where bondholders swap their debt for shares in the company. To help fund the restructuring, lenders will provide a $90 million bankruptcy loan, in addition to $70 million in new capital.

{loadposition GIAA}With the restructuring, American Apparel will reduce its $300 million debt to no more than $135 million, and its annual interest expense will be cut by $20 million.

The reorganization will enable American Apparel to keep its remaining 130 U.S. stores open for business, while its factories will continue to remain operational, according to a company statement. No layoffs were announced in the filing.

The retailer’s international operations are unaffected by the restructuring, which American Apparel expects to complete within six months.

In August, American Apparel had reported that Q2 2015 sales fell 17.2%, continuing a downward trend for the retailer that hasn’t had an annual profit since 2009. The New York Stock Exchange warned American Apparel that the company was at risk of being delisted from the exchange, with the retailer’s shares closing at just 11.2 cents on Oct. 2.

Upon firing Charney for alleged misconduct in December 2014, the retailer hired Paula Schneider as CEO to helm the retailer’s massive turnaround effort.

“This restructuring will enable American Apparel to become a stronger, more vibrant company,” Schneider said in a statement. “By improving our financial footing, we will be able to refocus our business efforts on the execution of our turnaround strategy as we look to create new and relevant products, launch new design and merchandising initiatives, invest in new stores, grow our e-commerce business, and create captivating new marketing campaigns that will help drive our business forward."

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Financial News Mon, 05 Oct 2015 09:57:04 -0400
Country Club Prep Augments Brand Lifestyle With User-Generated Content Country Club Prep Augments Brand Lifestyle With User-Generated Content

Khaki pants, pastel colors, vibrant patterns, collared shirts and cable knit sweaters. These all are the staples to an optimal preppy outfit, and they are the core foundation of the Country Club Prep business.

As a lifestyle brand designed to represent the preppy lifestyle, Country Club Prep relies on social media to curate lifestyle content and lead generation strategies, according to Matt Watson, Co-Founder of Country Club Prep. “For the most part, we rely on social media to create the appropriate image and environment — the context for the lifestyle that our clothing promotes. We do not leverage social media as frequently for revenue generation or product placement, as engagement tends to suffer.”

And although detailed product images for brands like Birkenstock, Lilly Pulitzer and Southern Proper help inspire online shoppers and drive sales, Country Club Prep relies more on user-generated content to show consumers how products are worn by everyday people. Using Pixlee, the retailer can leverage user-generated content in multiple areas of the e-Commerce site.

{loadposition GIAA}A key area of the Country Club Prep site is “Preppies In The Wild,” which is a digital album where “one might find hundreds of pictures of user-submitted photos of customers wearing their favorite new Country Club Prep gear,” Watson said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “In addition, we include user-generated photos from some of our best brands on the brands' collection pages, and even on many of the individual products.”

Showing happy customers wearing Country Club Prep apparel “provides an element of authenticity to the product and lifestyle that helps lift conversions and corroborate our brand message,” Watson explained. To participate, consumers can upload photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #PrepInABox. Team members then sift through photos and includes them in relevant web site albums. In addition to sifting through entire albums, consumers also have the option of logging in to their social accounts and personalizing their albums and searching for friends.

The Pixlee platform integrates with Country Club Prep’s Shopify-run e-Commerce site and allows the retailer to more seamlessly link user-generated photos to specific products. With this new functionality, consumers sifting through Instagram can click on a designated link and shop through a feed of photos from the social network. 

Moving forward, Country Club Prep plans to get more aggressive with its user-generated content strategy, Watson explained. “Eventually, we would like to include all of the social media content available for the top 20% of our brands on our website, both on the brand biography pages and on the product detail pages.”

]]> (Alicia Fiorletta) Retail Success Stories Mon, 05 Oct 2015 10:41:05 -0400
EMV Liability Shift Deadline Arrives. Are Retailers Ready? EMV Liability Shift Deadline Arrives. Are Retailers Ready?

NB EMV 092215October 1 has finally arrived, and retailers that have not updated their payment terminals to meet Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) standards are now liable for some fraudulent payment activities — shifting the responsibility away from banks and credit card providers. Have retailers planned effectively and implemented the required new technologies in stores? Perhaps even more critically, are consumers equipped and informed about the new standards and payment procedures?

Retailers across all categories are spending close to $8 billion to complete the necessary upgrades that enable their point-of-sale (POS) terminals to accept EMV payments, according to the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). The organization also expects that most large retailers will complete the POS upgrades this fall to accommodate the liability shift.

{loadposition GIAA}Despite these efforts, others in the payments industry point to retailers as a weak link in the overall move to EMV.

“Issuers have largely gotten the cards into consumers’ hands, but merchants have not activated terminals or completed migration for chip,” said Randy Vanderhoof, Executive Director of the Smart Card Alliance, in an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune. “As we get closer to the deadline, there’s going to be a significant ramp up of merchants that are going to enable chip ... and a significant flood of chip-on-chip transactions. If there are any unforeseen problems with cards, merchant terminals or consumers [in understanding how chip cards work], they will be exaggerated by the sheer volume of transactions that will be hitting the market at the same time.”

Although EMV payments will certainly present a learning curve for both stores and shoppers, RILA recently raised its own questions concerning whether financial institutions were doing their part to comply with the liability shift. The trade group points to the most recent data disclosure from VISA, which shows that as of July just 18% of the 720 million debit and credit cards issued by VISA to consumers contained an embedded chip.

Other recent surveys show similar, though higher, levels of compliance from financial institutions. Leading up to the liability shift deadline, 41% of consumers reported that they had received a new chip-enabled card from their bank or credit card provider, according to EMV Readiness Survey, which polled 1,000 adults in the U.S.

"Retailers are making a multi-billion dollar investment to protect customers and reduce credit card fraud," said Brian Dodge, EVP, RILA. "Unfortunately, the claims being presented by the financial services industry represent an attempt to mislead reporters and consumers rather than provide the facts surrounding the upcoming October 1st liability shift."

Is EMV Worth The Spend?

The October 1 deadline also represented a significant time and cost commitment. Costs to upgrade terminals can run between $200 to $1,000 per device and implementation, from start to finish, can last as long as 20 months. Facing these significant requirements and unwilling to add major upgrade costs to their budget, some retailers, especially SMBs, are letting the deadline pass without making any upgrades and instead deciding to roll the dice on being responsible for fraud losses.

“There’s a lot of urgency around the EMV transition in retail, but retailers need to remember that EMV compliance doesn’t provide total security protection and it isn’t a regulatory mandate," said Jerry Rightmer, EVP and Chief Product And Strategy Officer, Starmount, a commerce platform provider. "Like any business decision, EMV compliance is a question of the tradeoff between cost and benefit: if fraudulent transactions aren’t a major cost to you now, you may be better off hanging tight on an EMV upgrade until you are ready to make a full in-store system replacement."

For example, UK-based retailers that faced their own EMV deadline used that opportunity to add next-generation POS and in-store systems that supported features such as omnichannel selling, inventory visibility and customer engagement.

"The primary focus then became not just about the EMV compliance, but about adding advanced capabilities to help drive higher sales across channels while limiting the cost of fraud," said Rightmer.

Where Will Criminals Hit Next?

Complying with the EMV standards could lessen the possibility of the well-publicized black eyes that recent data breaches gave U.S.-based retailers. However, EMV is not a shield that protects all retailers from every attack. For example, online transactions will still include card account numbers and track data that attackers can use — leading them to move towards card-not-present (CNP) transactions, such as online shopping.

"Online merchants need to worry about nefarious activity as criminals shift their focus to CNP transactions due to the tightening-up of fraud protection at most physical retailers," said Frederick Felman, CMO, Recurly, an enterprise-class subscription billing platform.

U.S.-based retailers can look to other countries, such as Canada and the UK, to find best practice tips and clues to where criminals will strike next. Studies from Europe and Canada show that U.S. retailers that have completed in-store compliance requirements should now shift their focus to e-Commerce.

"For merchants and acquirers that are ready, it means a significant improvement in the security of in-person transactions," said Franklin Tallah, Managing Principal, Compliance and Governance, Verizon Enterprise Solutions "Specifically, attackers will have a much tougher time making counterfeit payment cards."

]]> (Rob Fee) POS / Payments / EMV Thu, 01 Oct 2015 15:39:53 -0400
Hudson’s Bay Cuts 265 Jobs Hudson’s Bay Cuts 265 Jobs

hudsonsbayHudson’s Bay Company (HBC) is cutting 265 jobs in its corporate offices in Toronto and New York as part of a company-wide realignment. The changes are designed to enable HBC to invest in areas of the business offering the most significant ROI potential, according to a company statement.

The job cuts will not affect any sales associates who work in Hudson’s Bay, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue or Sakes Off 5th stores, according to a company spokesperson. Instead, the reductions will primarily take effect in corporate departments such as accounting, finance and IT. Some positions were cut immediately, while others will be phased out over time.

{loadposition GIAA}HBC expects the cuts to save the company $75 million in 2016, but anticipates to incur a loss of approximately $20 million in Q3 2015.

To help facilitate more effective business processes, HBC is consolidating store operations to one common platform across company banners, under the leadership of newly hired executives Janet Schalk, Chief Information Officer, and Dion Rooney, Executive VP of HBC Digital. Schalk joined Hudson’s Bay from Kohl’s in August 2015.

As a result of its $2.9 billion acquisition of Saks, Inc. in 2013 and a year-over-year sales growth of 254%, HBC was named the fastest-growing retailer in the U.S. in 2014 by STORES Magazine. The company recently furthered its expansion, closing its $2.8 billion acquisition of German retailer Galeria Kaufhof on Sept. 30.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Thu, 01 Oct 2015 12:20:03 -0400