OPERATIONS

Report: Consumers creeped out by POS prompts

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dallas – A majority of consumers find point-of-sale (POS) prompts, such as discount alerts on their mobile devices an invasion of their privacy. According to a recent website poll from CompuCom, respondents were asked, “Do you find point-of-sale technology prompts, such as a customized alert for discounts upon entering a store”: 63% said it is Big Brother-ish/intrusive while 37% said it is helpful and cool.

The poll collected 307 responses from IT professionals across multiple industries from Nov. 16, 2013 through Dec. 17, 2013.

“Consumers need to remember that they are in control when it comes to POS technology and that it can be a benefit, not a nuisance, if they know how to use it and decide to what extent they’ll ‘let it in,’” said John Little, VP and general manager of retail sales, service sales management, CompuCom. “For retailers, there are smart ways to take advantage of the technology, by striking a balance and not overburdening consumers, respecting their preferences and letting them opt in to alerts. As security issues around POS are addressed, retailers and consumers will continue to adopt the technology in greater numbers and with greater levels of comfort.”

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OPERATIONS

Report: Target data breach impacts customer service response times

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – There were increases in total time to live agent, a metric that measures how long it takes o reach a human customer service representative, including time spent navigating interactive voice response systems (IVRs), during the initial aftermath of the December 2013 Target data breach.

Data from StellaService shows that on Dec. 15, the last day of the breach according to Target, total time to a live agent roughly quadrupled, from four minutes and 29 seconds to 16 minutes and 51 seconds. While the breach was not publicly disclosed until Dec, 18, this spike may have been due to affected customers calling with inquiries.

That figure actually dropped to seven minutes and nine seconds on Dec. 18, the day the story first broke publicly, although the average time to live agent for mass merchandise retailers that day was only two minutes and 41 seconds. StellaService analysts could not get through to a live agent again until Dec. 27, when the average time was six minutes and 18 seconds. There was another large spike to 14 minutes and 27 seconds on Dec. 30, the last day tracked by StellaService analysts, which may have been due to the issue with Target gift cards not working properly.

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FINANCE

Sears forecasts Q4 loss of $250 million-$360 million as holiday sales fall

BY Dan Berthiaume

Hoffman Estates, Ill. – Sears Holdings Corp. forecast a fourth-quarter loss and reported declining sales during the crucial holiday period.

The retailer said it expects a net loss of between $250 million and $360 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, compared to a net loss of $460 million a year earlier. Same-store sales dropped 5.7% in the quarter through Jan. 6 at Kmart, and 9.2% at U.S. Sears stores , resulting in a for a companywide decline of 7.4%. Both brands reported weaker consumer electronic sales, while Sears domestic stores’ also reported lower tools and home appliance sales, while Kmart was stung by falling demand for grocery, household products and toys.

In a blog post, CEO Eddie Lampert said the results "are not nearly what we want them to be."

"They also overshadow all of the work that’s being done by our associates, our vendors and the other businesses we work with, along with everyone who is developing better ways for us to serve our members," he added.

Lampert went on to say that the company is continuing to invest in new technology that will allow customers to shop in new ways, such as through their smart phones

In one possible piece of good news, Sears reported it is seeing continued increases in its Shop Your Way (SYW) member engagement metrics with 69% of sales in the nine-week period ended Jan. 4, 2014 derived from members as compared to 58% last year. For the holiday period Sears spent $69 million more on SYW points expense, compared to the same period the previous year.

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J.Shaughness says:
Jan-13-2014 05:18 pm

Sears & KMart
Two once great retailers continue their slide into oblivion.

J.Shaughness says:
Jan-13-2014 05:18 pm

Two once great retailers continue their slide into oblivion.

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