Executive ViewPoints

The retail industry is fortunate to include numerous executives with extensive experience — and they are willing to share their insights in the Retail TouchPoints ViewPoints section. These byline pieces focus on industry trends and do not include solution provider sales pitches. Many of the byline pieces receive the greatest number of clicks on the RTP site each year.

Fraud Report Reveals Importance Of ID Verification In Delivering A Seamless And Secure Customer Experience

With the rise of e-Commerce and prevalence of mobile devices, shopping has reached a new level of ease for consumers. Expectations for fast and easy experiences are higher today than they were just a few years ago, and while the growth of these convenient channels equals higher sales, it also opens the door for fraud. Most consumers are aware that data breaches and digital fraud are increasing at a rapid rate, and that their personal information is potentially already available on the dark web, yet their tolerance for adding friction to the authentication process for fraud prevention only goes so far: research from IDology’s Consumer Digital Identity Study showed that one in three consumers will abandon creating an account if the process is too cumbersome.

Should Online Retailers Blacklist Shoppers Who Return Too Much?

Today’s retail landscape is tough — and getting tougher. Businesses are under increasing pressure, from reduced margins to online competition, and now they’re facing another problem. I’m talking about “serial returners” — people who deliberately buy more items than they plan to keep and know they’ll return some of them later. This buying behavior is having a huge impact on UK retailers, one-third of themreport that they have seen an uplift in serial returners over the last year — with retailers of high end products seeing returns rates as high as 50% during holiday shopping periods. This rise is putting additional logistical pressure on retailers, and it is also contributing to a hefty annual £60bn returns bill for them.

PCI Isn’t Enough — How Retailers Can Truly Protect All Sensitive Data

When many of us think of sensitive data, we automatically think about credit card information. But what about all the rest? As recent data breaches taught us, hackers and bad actors can do quite a bit with other types of personal information, such as user names, passwords, addresses, phone numbers, birth dates and so on. As more retailers embark on a truly hybrid sales strategy that encompasses an online presence as well as a brick-and-mortar store, they find themselves with a wealth of sensitive information. So how can retailers keep that information safe? Payment Card Information (PCI) regulations cover credit card data during transactions, but do nothing to protect that information after a business has stored it in its IT systems. When PCI regulations were introduced, they were hailed as a great leap forward in ensuring that businesses maintained stringent levels of safety around payment cards. But since that time, we’ve seen an explosion in the online marketplace, which has made existing security regulations like PCI confusing to implement because they’re usually either limited or too broad.

Retailers Are Turning To Face Recognition To Thwart Growing Fraud And Shoplifting Threats

An increasingly large number of retailers are waking up to an unfortunate fact: despite loss prevention and asset protection professionals’ best efforts, organized retail crime and return fraud continue to rise. In order to combat these rising concerns, forward-thinking retailers have started employing facial recognition solutions to protect merchandise, employees and customers from threats. And while this technology is relatively new for retail, it just might prove to be the secret sauce for preventing shrink.

When New Technologies Like Augmented Reality Help You See Your Business Differently

New technologies and ideas are often met with equal parts excitement and skepticism, but more often than not, you’re only able to understand how truly game changing they were in hindsight. For instance, if Airbnb founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia came to you in 2007 with their idea, you could probably find a million ways to pick it apart. What do you mean people are just going to let strangers into their homes? What about liability? What if those “guests” are criminals? Knowing that others have faced skepticism for their ideas is cold comfort when you’re betting big on your own. After all, you don’t know how everything will turn out — will this technology truly disrupt your industry, or will it disappear faster than it came to market?

The New CX: How Technology Can Build Brand Loyalty For Retailers Of All Sizes

We all know that person who is impossible to shop for — the rare coin aficionado, the stamp collector, the vintage comic book junkie — the type of person who would scoff if they found a generic gift from a retail mega-brand under the tree — the type of person who wants their unique tastes and preferences reflected in a unique, personalized shopping experience. Of course, those of us who find ourselves shopping for these types of folks often find ourselves in an internal tug-of-war. We want to find the best, most unique gifts possible that even our pickiest, most opinionated friends and family members will love — but, at the same time, we want a streamlined, efficient, end-to-end shopping experience that fits seamlessly into our on-the-go lifestyles.

Turning Retailers’ Cybersecurity Strategy Inside Out

Cybersecurity professionals across industries are responsible for three distinct areas: 1) data confidentiality (ensuring privacy); 2) data integrity (ensuring accuracy); and 3) network/service/application availability (ensuring uptime). Since the advent of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) a decade ago, the retail industry has maintained a singular focus on confidentiality — more specifically, protecting customers’ credit card data. Retailers have devoted significant time, resources and budget to protecting their point of sale terminals, preventing data breaches and demonstrating PCI compliance. And as a result of their prioritization of payment security, coupled with the emergence of security technologies such as EMV chips, the risk of credit card theft has declined significantly over the past few years.

How The IoT Will Transform The Holiday Shopping Experience

Despite the emergence of new cloud, AI, IoT and other advanced technologies, Santa continues to deliver presents the old-fashioned way — on a flying sled pulled by reindeer. Yet these technologies have transformed holiday shopping experiences. From online “Wish Lists”, to in-store review and price checking on mobile devices, to last-minute delivery or in-store pickup of online orders, today’s holiday shopping experience is a lot different than it was 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. Today, Amazon, Walmart and other retailers that anticipated how these technologies might change holiday shopping are reaping the benefits, while many of those that were caught flat-footed by these changes are racing to catch up, if they have not fallen by the wayside like Toys ‘R’ Us and Sears. Given this, retailers today should be asking themselves how one of today’s most disruptive emerging technologies — the IoT — might transform holiday shopping in the future. If they can do this, these retailers can get a head start in using IoT technologies to offer better holiday shopping experiences to their customers, rather than find themselves trying to catch up with competitors in the future.

The Role Of Customization In Retail: Meeting Ever-Changing Demands With Unique Experiences

Shopping has changed. Solely meeting consumers with a traditional brick-and-mortar experience is a surefire way to become a victim of the retail apocalypse, and there are certainly enough tragic examples on record — from Toys ’R’ Us to Blockbuster Video — to prove the point. Whether surfing online from the convenience of their own smartphone or desktop, or actually stepping inside a physical location, potential purchasers are almost as interested in customized, unique experiences as the products or services they’re shopping for themselves. From interactive in-store demos to automated and personalized thank-you notes, the new retail ecosystem offers more opportunities to connect with target audiences than ever before, and those who take advantage are those that will most likely survive.

Digital Apps Bridge The Gap Between Online And In-Store Consumer Behaviors

Since the rise of e-Commerce 20 years ago, retailers have expected a breadth of customer-specific insights giving them a holistic view of the customer’s interests and purchase intent. This data surge born out of online shopping was promised to enable retailers to deliver smarter and more relevant brand experiences to consumers. However, flash forward to today, and 94% of all retail purchases are still taking place at physical stores, meaning brands are working with considerably more unknowns than knowns. Although consumers are interacting with retailers across digital platforms like social and mobile, when the majority of purchases still take place in-store, it’s difficult for retailers to track which digital touch points led to that final in-store purchase.

Localizing Product Assortments Is A Key Step In Mastering Global Markets

Thanks to the power of the Internet and the increasing ease of market expansion, retailers are proactively connecting with global customers now more than ever. But these shoppers increasingly expect to research products and make transactions in their preferred languages. Equally important, they expect to discover and buy products that are relevant to them, their cultural norms and their geographic locations.

Why Brands Need To Be Selective When Choosing Retail Partners

At a time when online shopping is at its peak and Amazon is the dominant name in retail, traditional retailers like Walmart are pulling out all the stops to up-level their e-Commerce channels, brand reputation and customer loyalty. This year, Walmart launched an online outdoor-specific “store” on that featured high-end outdoor brands already sold through Moosejaw, a small outdoor retailer Walmart bought in 2017.

Earning The Loyalty Of Millennials And Gen Z

Younger consumers, which can be segmented as Gen Z (8 to 20 years old), Young Millennials (21 to 28) and Older Millennials (29 to 36), represent the largest generation in the market today, as well as the first to grow up in an always-connected world. That means they have come of age — or are coming of age — at a time of unprecedented choice and convenience, creating a view of brand loyalty that is more complex and fragile than previous generations.

Customer Experience Is The New Black…Again

If you attend enough industry events and conferences, it’s not hard to figure out that customer experience is very much in vogue today. The trigger lines are statements like: “We put the customer at the center of everything we do…” or “We are moving the customer to the center of the enterprise…” or “Customer centricity is critical to the success of our operation…” Clearly, the idea of customer experience is not new — we’ve been talking about it for more than a decade — so what’s going on? Why do so many brands still get it wrong? Augie Ray, research director at Gartner, put it simply in a recent interview with Forbes. “The fact that so many organizations understand the importance of CX to the brand, but are unable to deliver outcomes that meet or exceed customer expectations is indicative of the growing need for fresh approaches to delivering more positive outcomes for customers.” It starts with a foundation in customer satisfaction.

The ‘Art’ And ‘Science’ Of GDPR Consent For Retailers

You’ve seen it before, the long form you must sign before participating in a potentially dangerous activity, the checkbox at the bottom of an end user agreement before you can use a new piece of software, the numerous documents that are part of every major financial purchase. These arduous processes are developed by companies in response to a regulation, an issue or advice from a lawyer. Not surprisingly, organizations are responding similarly to growing regulatory concerns such as GDPR, ePrivacy and CCPA. In hopes of addressing the new regulations quickly and efficiently, enterprises err on the “science” side of consent collection while ignoring the “art” of consent collection. This is an important distinction because customer consent is the key that unlocks customer conversation and insights that drive a more meaningful exchange.
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