OPERATIONS

EMV Countdown

BY CSA STAFF

The EMV liability shift occurs Oct 2015 and the United States expects six million to eight million EMV cards to be deployed by the end of the year. Payment solutions giant Ingenico Group believes many merchants will not be ready. (Ingenico Group is an active member of both the Smart Card Alliance and the EMV Migration Forum, which are cross industry organizations focused on easing the U.S. EMV implementation.)

Based on his expertise in EMV transitions, Ingenico Group North America president Thierry Denis offers the following observations and advice:

• If Tier One merchants aren’t already well down the path of implementing EMV payment acceptance solutions, they are already behind. Of the very largest retailers, probably 80%-90% of them will be done with EMV conversions and production by the liability shift. If they don’t make the liability shift, they will be within a few months of it. On the other end of the range, small merchants who use their acquirer’s point-of-sale devices and preprogrammed devices, may be in a better position than the middle tier of merchants.

• The medium-sized merchants rely a lot on third-party system integrators who are not ready, for the most part. There are a lot of questions coming from them, there’s a lot of interest, but they’re not as far along as they really need to be. We think that they are going to be the long tail of this issue and they’re going to be the ones that will go into 2016, and start solving that issue and implementing EMV during 2016.

• Merchants who don’t transition to EMV are likely to be targeted by hackers. We’ve seen this in other countries. Hackers know which merchants still use magstripes, and we’ve seen hacks quickly migrate to those targets.

In fact, when countries implement EMV, there is a well-documented migration of credit card data theft toward countries (like the U.S.) that still use magstripe technology.

• Consumers are getting EMV cards in the mail now and will be looking to use these cards at the retailers they visit, as they know EMV cards are more secure. If merchants are not ready to accept them, they will appear behind the times and not taking security seriously enough for their customers.

• P2PE goes hand in hand with EMV at the point of acceptance. As Merchants are strategically planning they should look for a vendor who can support multiple offerings for their P2PE solution, so that the merchant can choose which works best for their business.

• Identify either a dedicated team or individual whose sole responsibility is EMV. Otherwise, merchants tend to lose focus. This is a complex transition, with a lot of moving parts. Someone needs to lead the charge, and that person needs to have executive-level backing in order to minimize red tape and get things done.

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OPERATIONS

Alibaba names new CEO

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Alibaba Group Holding Limited on Thursday announced that its CEO, Jonathan Lu, will step down and will be replaced by COO Daniel Zhang, effective May 10. Lu will remain on the company's board as vice chairman.

Zhang has been with the Chinese e-commerce giant for eight years and has served in a variety of top management positions. He was named COO in September 2013 and oversees operations of all Alibaba Group businesses in China and overseas. Zhang was a key architect of the company’s November 11 shopping event known in China as “Singles Day," which it claims is the world's largest online shopping event.

"I'm excited to take on this new challenge. It is an immense responsibility, and I'm grateful to every member of the Alibaba team for their commitment and dedication to excellence," Zhang said in a statement.

The change at the top occurs as the company deals with increased competition, slowing growth and increased criticism at home about its business practices.

As chief executive, Lu presided over the company's initial public offering in September, when it raised a record $25 billion. However, Alibaba has lost more than $70 billion in market value since November.

“I am grateful to Jonathan Lu for his excellent leadership and management over the past several years, and I look forward to his continued contribution as a key leader in helping Alibaba Group train and develop the next generation of leaders," executive chairman Jack Ma said in a statement.

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Loehmann’s taps e-commerce expert as brand looks to relaunch as online company

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Off-price retailer Loehmann's announced that Jeffrey Cripe is joining the Loehmann's advisory board, as the company builds its online marketplace. Founded in 1921, the company closed its brick-and-mortar stores after its bankruptcy in 2013. Now under new ownership, the brand is being expanded online.

Cripe, who manages e-commerce partnerships and business development at Christie's, has experience in ecommerce, branding, audience development, and strategic partnerships. The Loehmann's Advisory Board will work with the management team during its relaunch as an online retailer.

Cripe joined Christie's in February 2013 to help launch its ecommerce business, led by former founding members of Gilt Group. Prior to Christie’s, he worked at Birchbox. Founded in 2010, Birchbox pioneered the ecommerce subscription business model, recognizing an opportunity to deliver deluxe beauty and grooming samples monthly to men and women.

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