OPERATIONS

Top four items on retail tech wish list

BY Marianne Wilson

Self-checkout technology tops the list of items that IT professionals would like to see in use over the next year, according to a poll by CompCom.

“It’s perhaps not surprising to see self-checkout rise to the top in the poll, since paying for purchases is probably the least pleasurable part of the shopping experience, and making the process as quick and easy as possible is increasingly important to retailers," said Tom Alvey, senior VP, retail solutions group at CompuCom.

Respondents to the CompuCom poll were asked, “Which new retail technology would you most like to see in use in the next year?” Here is how their answers broke down:

• Self-checkout technology – 43%

• Interactive/personalized signage and displays – 21%

• Interactive fitting rooms – 19%

• Shopping from new screens – 17%

"As we talk to retail clients about the ‘store of the future,’ customization and speed emerge as key themes," added Alvey. "And self-checkout equipment emerged as an important enabling technology – along with technologies such as mobile payments, digital coupons and signage, self-service kiosks and more – which aligns with these poll results."

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Beauty brand streamlines B2B gift card program

BY By Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Sephora is all about offering top-notch service to its customers — even its business partners.

According to the Incentive Research Foundation and Incentive Gift Card Council, business-to-business (B2B) gifting is becoming more prevalent across U.S. companies, as they spend $22.7 billion per year on gift cards. Sephora’s new partnership will enable the company to claim a bigger portion of this market share.

By adding a platform from Velocity B2B, a division of CashStar, Sephora is taking steps to more easily integrate a complex B2B gift card program into its brand. The new platform will help the company grow its B2B gift card sales quickly, securely and cost-efficiently, while maintaining oversight and brand control.

Velocity B2B will manage the programs for Sephora, making it easier for the brand to broaden the scope of its B2B gift card operations. Behind-the-scenes, the platform will streamline how business partners order Sephora gift cards, as well as assist Sephora in better managing accounts, and expanding its reach to new corporate customers.

The digital platform also shortens the timeline needed to launch new programs and add new B2B partners. Additionally, the infrastructure reduces some of the burden on its adjunct support teams like finance, legal and customer care, freeing them up to focus on developing and growing other parts of the gift card business, according to Sephora.

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Target makes history with data breach settlement

BY By Marianne Wilson

Target Corp. has resolved its 2013 data breach with a deal that represents the largest multi-state data breach settlement in history.

The retailer agreed to pay a total of $18.5 million to settle the case. The money will go to 47 states and the District of Columbia, with California receiving the largest share of the settlement, more than $1.4 million.

The agreement also requires Target to develop, implement and maintain a comprehensive information security program aimed at encrypting and securing customer data. The retailer has already implemented these measures.

The massive breach occurred in late 2013, between November 27 and December 15. It affected more than 41 million customer payment card accounts and exposed contact information for more than 60 million customers.

In addition to causing Target to overhaul its security measures, the breach is largely seen as one of the elements that led to the exit of Gregg Steinhafel, Target's then-CEO and chairman, who resigned in May 2014.

“We’re pleased to bring this issue to a resolution for everyone involved,” stated Target spokeswoman Jenna Reck. "The costs associated with this settlement are already reflected in the data breach liability reserves that Target has previously recognized and disclosed.”

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