Keeping customer information safe is imperative to establishing customer trust and loyalty. Every day, retailers are tasked to keep all forms of shopper data — from credit card accounts to standard profiles such as full name, birthday, email address and social networking information — from third party access.
To enhance and safeguard customer trust and loyalty, Bob’s Stores keeps data security at the center of its business operations, according to Yaron Baitch, Technology Manager of Bob's Stores. However, as consumers continue to leverage more channels to browse and buy inventory, including online and via mobile devices, information safety has become increasingly complex for most retailers, including Bob’s Stores.
“Consumers now are browsing and buying in stores, as well as shopping online and via mobile devices,” Baitch said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “There are more avenues than ever for people to purchase our products from, but our shoppers also want to make sure their information is always safe.”
Bob’s Stores utilizes solutions and services from Veracode, an organization dedicated to software security testing and education, to ensure payment information and other customer data is protected. The merchant utilizes Veracode for three key functions, according to Baitch: software review, e-learning and analytics.
The thorough review of security software enables Baitch and his IT team to ensure that safe, invulnerable coding practices are implemented and applied. This is a “huge component,” Baitch said, “since custom, internally developed tools also sit on our registers. Those programs need to be just as secure as the transaction itself. Veracode gives us a fresh set of eyes by applying a strong set of industry safety standards that assure all of our software is up to par.”
On-demand access to more than 50 hours of secure training content also empowers IT employees to obtain more efficient and secure coding practices, according to Baitch. Bob’s Stores also uses the e-learning application as an incentive tool: Not only can Baitch track employees’ progress, which becomes a key factor in annual staff reviews, team members also are compensated for the amount of training they complete.
In the next year, Baitch and his team plan to increase their focus on reporting and analytics, allowing them to convey IT successes and progress to other areas of the organization, such as the C-suite. “Senior managers see IT as a cost center, not a profit protector,” Baitch said. “They don’t realize that if the IT systems are not secure, then the profit center — the physical and online stores — will struggle.”
Keeping customer data secure is a “24 x 7 operation,” Baitch added. “Our brand is defined by our customers: If customers don’t feel that their personal information is safe, the brand itself could fail.”
Data security has become even more vital as Bob’s Stores adopts an in-store mobility strategy, Baitch reported. The retailer currently is piloting iPads for employee-facing customer service and mobile POS, as well as self-serve kiosks. With this new technology in place, “customer data will continue to be our number one concern,” Baitch stated. “We don’t want to lose any of our customer trust and loyalty; When that’s lost, the business is lost.”
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