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Monday, 28 September 2015

Omni-channel Technology Solutions for your Retail Business

Retail has been transformed by technology - driving greater personalization for consumers, more conversions for retailers, and more traffic on multiple retail channels. Omni-channel retailing has become the norm in the industry and customers expect access to retail brands through multiple channels, at their convenience. Omni-channel retail adaptation continues to grow further as customers embrace emerging technology and its multiple access points. Your omni-channel presence and perceptivity, and not just your product, makes or breaks your brand image today.

Customers expect a uniform and meaningful experience across all retail channels and instant connectivity to retail brands regardless of how and when they connect with the physical stores. They expect retailers to know what they want and how they like to make their purchases. Shopper expectations identified in an recent IBM survey showed 59 percent of shoppers want retailers to demonstrate that they “understand” them, 64 percent expect retailers to know what products they like, 61 percent want retailers to know the types of offers they prefer, and 59 percent want retailers to tell them when frequently purchased items are going on sale. Further, 54 percent said they expect retailers to know if they are new or returning customers, and 53 percent want retailers to maintain a cross-channel history of all purchases so they can receive personalized offers.

Thus, the need of the hour for retailers is to get closer to the customers through all channels, offline and online. Retailers need to drive traffic to the brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce platforms simultaneously. Marketing campaigns must be aligned to the right retail channel with the right message at the right time and right price. Customer data can be used to provide predictive analytics for a strong promotions foundation. Incorporating integrated technology allows enterprises to explore successful offerings that link online and physical shopping. 

Retail solutions such as the ETP V5 are fundamentally integrated with omni-channel capabilities that simplify business processes and offer retailers the power to create highly targeted, immensely effective and easily measurable marketing promotions; thus, allowing retailers to determine their return on investment (ROI) and improve their bottom line.

ETP V5 Retail Software Solutions comprise of the omni-channel store solutions, omni-channel promotions planning, omni-channel merchandise planning and omni-channel business analytics.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Point-of-sale Security - how to avert retail cyber attacks

retail POS security

As point-of-sale systems adopt new-age retail POS software, retailers will have to brace themselves with the security threats that may come with it. Devices that handle credit and debit card information are at a constant threat from cybercriminals who want to steal such data.

New and emerging retail POS and retail CRM technologies are enabling retailers to exceed customer expectations. The customers in turn demand greater convenience and value. Greater convenience comes through greater connectivity between retailers and customers across multiple touchpoints be it channels, locations or devices. And such gratifying levels of connectivity offer convenience not only to consumers, but also to cybercriminals.

Lately, connected point-of-sale (POS) systems are being highly targeted by cybercriminals and specially-designed viruses for such purposes are further indication that all kinds of connected devices may be susceptible to attack now.

For more than 80,000 customers around the US who bought a $5 footlong sandwich at Subway, the second largest fast food chain with over 32,000 outlets in 90 different countries, it was a ticket to having their credit card data stolen by a band of Romanian hackers who later pled guilty to having stolen payment card data from the point-of-sale (POS) systems of hundreds of businesses, including more than 150 Subway restaurant franchises and at least 50 other retailers, using 'sniffing' software to make illicit charges. And those retailers made it possible by practically leaving their transaction information freely open to the Internet, letting the hackers ring up over $3 million, as mentioned in this article.

The cyber attacks on US retail giants Target, Neiman Marcus and Michaels Stores - which involved malware on POS systems - had a profound impact on sales and consumer confidence in the safety of credit-card information at retail POS terminals. Potential hauls for successful cybercriminals provide plenty of motivation to target POS.

"Retail cybercrime is the crime of the future," says Dave Marcus, director of security and communications at security software firm McAfee. "Instead of coming in with guns and robbing the till, criminals can target businesses, root them from across the planet, and steal digitally."

As retail businesses adopt more omni-channel retailing methods such as e-commerce, m-commerce, social selling, and mobile payments, standard online and mobile payment frauds also pose a problem, exposing confidential information and credit card data of the customers. This means that retailers could soon find themselves being attacked both online and on the high street.

Despite this worrying trend, by translating the same principles of security from the real world to the POS network, a security defence strategy can be put in place to prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to your sensitive, valuable data.

The ‘POS’tulates to be followed to avert cyber security attacks on retail POS system are:

• Create a response plan that will potentially address the incident of a cyber-attack. Test the execution of this response system on a periodic basis.

• Perform a thorough audit of data that is sensitive and confidential to keep a record of their storage locations on the network as well as their instances and volumes. This gives an understanding of where the valuable information is available.

• Get rid of any unauthorized instances of the sensitive data based on the company’s information governance policies, so that the exposure of such data is minimized.

• Create and regularly update standards of normal activity for each of their endpoints.

• Employ specialists who deal with information security to proactively fish out anomalies in real-time reports that are generated. These should be considered as signs indicating that the network’s security has been compromised and the attackers have access to the data.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Are you working on your customer experience shelf life?

Retail Software Solutions

The advent of modern technology has added a new dimension to the way retail businesses operate. There has been a significant shift from product or operation based retailing to a more customer centric one. Focus on customer experience has become the new norm and the prime necessity for every retail business for sustenance and growth. This is a new challenge for retailers – to constantly meet expectations and thus sustain the customer experience ‘shelf life’.

Customers today, have the power of choice - a widespread range of products and alternatives, an unending list of retailers and multiple channels to shop from - they can choose from and use several permutations and combinations, thus forcing the imperative need for retailers to constantly deliver the best customer experience throughout the retail customer journey.

Every product has a shelf life, some last long and some don’t. So also, the customer experience has a shelf life; but unlike products, retailers can work towards extending its length and retaining it. To do this, retailers need to quickly adapt to latest industry trends. They must enhance their business models by allowing infusion of emerging technologies in their operations. Below are a few tips on how this could be done:

-         having omni-channel capabilities for ensuring overall presence
-         using mobile POS counters for quick customer service
-         acquiring and using customer feedback to enhance the shopping experience
-         employing effective CRM solutions to foster brand loyalty
-         planning and executing customer centric marketing and promotions campaigns
-         using the right tools for merchandise and inventory management
-         engaging with the customers using social media and other channels
-         capturing, analyzing and integrating real-time business data to

In this dynamic, technology influenced and highly competitive retail environment, it is essential for retail businesses to stand out and surpass the competition in delivering and sustaining customer experience thereby, working towards longer customer experience shelf lives. This will enable retailers to not only retain existing customers, but also acquire more by virtue of goodwill fostered amongst the current ones.