The winter of 2014 brought record cold and snow throughout North America and its impact on business and consumer spending were widespread and significant. How impactful was it? Well, for the S&P 500 companies, the word “weather” was mentioned in almost 200 earnings calls from January through March, which is a 81% increase compared to last year.
Modern retailers operate in an omnichannel, “pull” environment where constantly connected consumers decide what products they want, when and where they want them, what they want to pay, and search for the retailer who best meets their demands.
American shoppers are in a sea of sticker shock. Rising retail prices are dominating store shelves and in turn, are hurting consumers’ wallets. Food prices have been hit especially hard — skyrocketing by more than 4% in February alone, which represents the biggest jump in more than two years.
The recent cyber attacks on Target, Neiman Marcus and Michaels Stores had an immediate and profound impact on sales, as well as a widespread and ongoing ripple effect on consumer confidence in the safety of credit-card information at point-of-sale terminals.
High-quality products at competitive prices, promotional offers and exceptional customer service are likely among the top priorities for any retailer or restaurateur. What is not typically on the list is utilizing company resources to defend against premises liability claims.
Ever since the major retailer breaches last year, outsiders have been pointing fingers at the victim merchants demanding to know how something like this could happen. But cyber risk in the payment card industry is a problem greater than any one company.
Today, consumers have more information sources to help them make purchasing decisions. Smartphones, tablets, social media and the Internet — combined with traditional shopping channels like magazines and direct mail — means that deal-finding and comparison-shopping methods are almost always at consumers’ fingertips.