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Prevention is Not the Security Panacea

BY CSA STAFF

A pound of prevention (which in this case means the use of chip-based payment cards, encryption of data stored in the enterprise, and restriction of third-party network access) is not a complete cure when it comes to improved data security for retailers, according to panelists at the recent CIO Symposium at the MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

One complicating issue is that the “cloud” is becoming a “fog” as the Internet of Things continues expanding the range of devices that are online with IP addresses, creating new security liabilities.

“IP addresses crop up in devices you don’t realize, and they’re not protected,” said Patrick Gilmore, CTO of data center provider Markley Group. “What if someone hacks your printer and reads every document your CIO ever printed, or posts them online?”

The odds of such occurrences are on the rise. Symantec data indicates there were 253 major data breaches in 2013, up 62% from 2012. Those breaches compromised 552 million user IDs. And increasingly, data breaches are committed by affiliated groups of global cybercriminals or even nation-states, noted Mark Morrison, senior VP and CISO of State Street Corporation.

“This is not your grandmother’s hacker,” Morrison said. “Nation-states are even including cyber-attacks in their war-planning efforts.”

Effective data-security strategies, panelists agreed, need to focus on detection and remediation as well as prevention. Regardless of how strong a firewall is, USB devices are easy to hide, and securing an operating system against downloading of data is extremely difficult and can permanently damage the OS.

“Data is ubiquitous and easy to transfer,” Gilmore said. “If your security plan is built on preventing data from ever getting on a USB, you’ve already lost.”

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Check This Out: Fast Retailing lets customers buy directly from ads

BY CSA STAFF

Fast Retailing Co.’s Comptoir des Cotonniers division has launched “Fast Shopping,” which allows European shoppers to purchase items in 20 seconds on their mobile devices via an application from Powa Technologies, London. Shoppers using the PowaTag app can scan items they see on ads in various places to make the purchase and with one click, complete the transaction and have the goods delivered to their home within 48 hours. Comptoir has placed some 10,000 ad supports for the new service, ranging from promotions on bus shelters to ads in fashion magazines and on cafe tables. About 30 SKUs are available in the first wave.

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Omnichannel Commerce — How it Really Works, Where it’s Going

BY CSA STAFF

Every few years, a new term enters the retail IT industry lexicon and takes firm root, even though nobody can provide an actual, definitive meaning. The latest phrase to capture the imagination of retail technology practitioners without a standard, widely accepted definition is “omnichannel commerce.” While it is generally understood that omnichannel commerce is the practice of serving customers across all available physical and digital channels, the details are still vague.

Lonnie Mayne, president of Salt Lake City-based InMoment, a cloud-based customer experience optimization platform provider that was formed from the merger of Mindshare Technologies and Empathica, recently shared some insights with Chain Store Age on the true meaning of omnichannel commerce. Mayne offered concise explanations of exactly how different channels fit in to the omnichannel paradigm and how retailers can most effectively engage with consumers using an omnichannel strategy.

A lot of industry experts talk about “omnichannel commerce” — what does this term actually mean?

Our clients are experiencing and talking about “omnichannel” in two ways. The first relates to the realities of how their customers are interacting with brands. Technology allows customers to research, window shop, get coupons, make purchases, ask questions, provide feedback and refer a friend, all without stepping one foot inside a store.

The second component of omnichannel is understanding and embracing all possible touchpoints as opportunities to connect with customers, and then developing comprehensive programs to ensure a positive and consistent customer experience across all channels.

How do the online and social channels fit into the omnichannel model?

Online and social channels allow customers access to your brand 24/7. These interactions can be direct: for example, online shopping or browsing your Facebook page for special offers. They can also be indirect, such as customers posting about your brand on their own social media pages. These round-the-clock conversations will happen, and it’s up to each brand to decide how to engage.

Successful brands will create policies and dedicate well-trained and trusted personnel who can nurture these relationships in a way that is consistent with their other experiences.

Where do mobile devices fit into the model?

Mobile devices provide interesting opportunities — and challenges. Consumers can be in-store and at the same time, check your competitors’ pricing. Technologies such as iBeacons, which use geo-location to identify and customize messages to individual consumers, are on the horizon. Smart brands will stay informed on the newest tools, and choose only the ones that best fit their individual situations.

Used wisely, these technologies have the potential to deepen relationships and dramatically increase loyalty. However, privacy issues, poorly supported solutions, and the question of how to serve the full range of customers, from the most loyal to the potential, equally well, all deserve close attention.

How about physical stores?

Personally, I love the convenience technology provides. But after more than 20 years of helping companies build people-centered organizations, I firmly believe that human interaction will never be replaced. Far from being diminished, the in-person experience will continue to become even more critical in both differentiating and reinforcing your brand promise.

What types of solutions does InMoment offer to help retailers effectively perform omnichannel commerce?

InMoment specializes in collecting experience data across all channels, surfacing insights, and then getting these insights to the right people at the right time. While simple scores and transactional data can tell you the “what” — for example, if a customer rated their experience a three out of 10 and spent $15.75 on their last visit; experience data tells you the “why” — such as if the clothing racks were unorganized and the dressing room was poorly lit, but the sales associate was friendly and really helpful.

These types of detailed insights gleaned from across the omnichannel environment can help you better understand the specific points at which the brand experience is consistently applied, and where you need to improve.

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