NRF keynote: Traditional mall is dead
New York — In a hugely attended address kicking off the National Retail Federation’s 2014 “Big Show” at Javits Center in New York City, shopping center developer Rick Caruso challenged attendees – most of them retailers from the technology side of their companies – to remember the “human” side of retail.
“We are all a part of the rebirth of brick-and-mortar retail,” said Caruso, founder and CEO of the privately held Caruso Affiliated, which owns and operates two shopping centers in the top 15 in the world in sales per square foot (The Grove in Los Angeles and The Americana at Brand in Glendale, Calif.). “We need to focus on what is, and always has been, most essential to retail success: creating a magical and memorable experience.”
Caruso, in the Big Show opening keynote, “Reimagining Main Street — How Brick and Mortar Retail Will Thrive in the 21st Century,” predicted the demise of the typical 1970s shopping mall, saying that it has “outlived its usefulness.” He said he foresees a continuing return to street-front retail, to mixed-use projects that incorporate residential components, and to centers and stores that create an emotional and personal connection.
Caruso was quick to point out that today’s digital explosion does not mean death for brick-and-mortar. Face-to-face interactions with brands, the social aspect of shopping and the physical presence of retail goods, he said, will continue to fill basic human needs and drive people to brick-and-mortar establishments.
Caruso’s address was followed by a panel discussion around how brick-and-mortar retail will thrive in the 21st century. Moderated by CNBC Power Lunch co-host Sue Herrera, the panel featured Nordstrom president Blake Nordstrom, founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes Candace Nelson, fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff, along with Caruso.
Cybera deploys payment solution to 20K retailers
New York – Network and application security services provider Cybera, Inc. has reached 20,000 deployments of its payment application defined network (ADN) solution. An AND is an enterprise data network using virtual network and security components to provide a dedicated logical network for each application, with customized security and network policies to meet the requirements of that specific application.
Cybera ONE’s ADN solution provides customizable and specific security features that address precise application needs in several retail arenas, including POS, loyalty programs and payment processing. The solution securely enables any POS vendor to remotely support and repair a system via high-speed broadband and completely segregates loyalty traffic from payment traffic, ensuring complete customer-data security.
Cybera ONE’s Payment Processing ADN is a PCI-DSS compliant environment, providing a dedicated logical network that fully segments the cardholder data environment (CDE) from all other applications and devices.
“Our ADN platforms offer the core attributes of security, reliability, segmentation and consolidation,” said Cliff Duffey, president and CEO of Cybera. “There is simply nothing else available on the market today for small to large, multi-site enterprise customers providing such a robust application-security system [and delivering the significant capital cost savings that come with this model].”
How mobile POS is transforming retail
Mobile point of sale (mPOS) technology promises to continue to transform the customer’s shopping experience in 2014 and beyond. Gartner forecasts an mPOS market valued at $617 billion with 448 million users by the end of 2016, representing 42% annual growth.
Retail is one of several sectors poised to benefit from mPOS. With that in mind, here are five trends that every retailer needs to be aware of in the space.
Mobile POS moves up market: While most technology disruptions are initially adopted by large companies and then trickle down, mPOS started at the micro-merchant level and is now moving up market. Why? Because early mPOS tools — rudimentary readers that plugged into phones, with no software integration to back-end systems — are not enterprise class. They don’t have the security, integration, reporting or support that a Tier 1 retailer requires, and they often force merchants to use a particular credit card processor. That will change in 2014, however, as vendors launch enterprise-ready mPOS solutions. ROAM is already working with several Tier 1 retailers, including a major home improvement chain, on an m-commerce solution that combines scheduling, in-home service delivery inventory and mobile payment acceptance to extend the capabilities of the retailer’s fixed payment terminals into employees’ service trucks and customers’ homes. Integrated with back-end inventory and ERP systems, this is not your micro-merchant’s mPOS system.
Tablets become the mobile POS device of choice for retail: Tier 1 retailers such as Nordstrom Rack have equipped each employee with an iPhone to enable on-the-spot checkout. Increasingly, however, we are seeing Tier 1 retailers gravitate to tablets, which have larger screens for featuring products and capturing signatures, are more difficult to pilfer and are typically faster and more powerful than mobile phones. ROAM’s parent company Ingenico is working with Apple stores in Europe to equip associates with iPad-based mPOS solutions for line busting and customer service.
Mobile wallet and mobile POS integration becomes the norm: Many people — even in the financial services industry — see mobile wallet and mobile POS integration as an either/or scenario. The fact is mobile wallets and mobile POS systems can be easily integrated for secure mobile-to-mobile transactions. The ideal scenario is one in which retailers can accept mobile wallet payments on a mobile POS device. Mobile wallet payments should be viewed as just another currency, and should be accepted at both fixed POS stations and mobile POS ones. Based on our discussions with retailers, we think this will be the norm by late 2014. Interestingly, many plan to accept these alternative forms of currency on their mPOS systems first because it’s so much easier to push out updated software in that environment, and only hard-code acceptance into fixed stations once the market shakes out and clear winners of the mobile wallet arms race emerge.
Apps integrating payment-processing capabilities: Another area that many pundits see as ‘either/or’ are mobile payment apps and mobile POS. Again, we believe the power lies in the integration of the two, and we are actively working with several app developers who want to do just that. Think about how ecommerce solutions evolved: from point solutions (e.g., shopping cart tools) to integrated solutions (e.g., Akamai), an evolution that took about three years. In this scenario, mobile app developers are going to play a much bigger role in 2014, as companies require customized solutions that are part of a much broader m-commerce application encompassing storefront creation, inventory tracking, mobile payments, delivery tracking and more. Ogone is one vendor already doing interesting work in this area. It’s working with MasterCard to develop and launch MasterPass, a digital platform that simplifies online purchases made from connected devices including PCs, touchpads and smartphones.
Alternative forms of payment will begin to take hold: We are already seeing iTunes being used as an alternative form of payment in some countries, and expect to see more of the same from companies such as Google, Facebook, PayPal and Amazon. Even Bitcoin seems to be gaining some traction: Tesla buyers can now pay using Bitcoin, and apartment rental site RentHop now accepts Bitcoin for apartment rental advertising. Other areas to watch are gift-card payments via mobile, and loyalty programs that allow customers to apply points as payment via mobile. All of these alternatives are to the detriment of cash, by the way, and retailers who have not yet explored how they might accept these new currency forms had better figure it out quickly.
Alternative authentication methods will emerge: Apple’s new Touch ID, which uses your fingerprint as a passcode, has put biometrics in the spotlight. Other new authentication methods include PIN on mobile and dual authentication. It’s a constant race to stay one step ahead of the hackers. These new options need to be incorporated into mPOS and m-commerce platforms, so it’s a space worth watching. Eventually, PCI may require companies to implement one or more of these methods in order to remain compliant.
mPOS technology is evolving faster than any other technology I’ve seen in my 30 years working in the payments industry. Let’s catch up one year from now to see if our predictions were on target.
Ken Paull is CEO of ROAM, a mobile POS solutions provider company that is part of Ingenico.