As the holiday shopping season kick into high gear, new technologies cybersecurity threats are impacting retail operations for both online and brick-and-mortar stores. With retailers growing increasingly reliant on the internet to complete sales, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in cybersecurity. Read on as we detail some of the key changes expected for 2018 and beyond.
Mobile solutions for sales associates.
The retail sector’s number one investment will likely be the store associate, specifically focusing on how to transform them into a beacon of knowledge and the primary relationship builder with customers, according to Bill Zujewski, executive vice president of marketing at Tulip Retail, a mobile platform.
There are retail stores already investing in mobile technology that gives employees access to product inventory and details, but sales associates need more than just that. They need the ability to exceed customers expectations. Zujewski said, “When a customer comes into the store, sales associates will be notified and ready with product offerings based on valuable data they have at their fingertips including the customer’s recent purchases, loyalty rewards level, online browsing history, activity log and shopping preferences.”
New ways to checkout.
Checkout methods are getting quicker thanks to advances in both barcodes and scanning products. Since most people today are carrying mobile phones or tablets, checkouts can also be made via mobile device. You may have already shopped at a store that offers this alternative to computer or cash register. “Sam’s Club already offers in-aisle checkout, while Amazon gained attention for its vision of grocery shopping sans checkout lines, so anticipate that other grocers and retailers will seek shortcuts for shoppers that they hope will breed brand loyalty. We expect retailers and brands to lead the way with enhanced product packaging and other options for easy checkout,” according to Tony Rodriguez, CTO of digital identification solutions provider Digimarc.
These advancements in technology mean retailers will need to be increasingly aware of the need for up-to-date cybersecurity protections. Today, the retail sector has been placed on the frontline of the cybersecurity battle and has had to bear the weight of having to protect not just its own data, but that of its customers as well. Naturally, there’s often a lack of customer confidence following a cyber attack. This can be quite damaging to a retailer’s brand value, financial reputation and also the bottom line, according to IT Pro Portal.
With that in mind, the retail sector is currently experiencing a growing number of cyber attacks. New research from Zynstra has found that retailers are currently being hit by a cyber attack twice a week, on average. One in six sellers say they now experience a cyber attack or attempted cyber attack every day. Sixty-five percent of respondents in the sports and outdoor sector said they see a threat once a week, as did 49 percent of fashion retailers and 40 percent of department stores.
The Zynstra research highlights the fact that the retail industry still has work to do in mitigating the risk of cyber attacks. Only 55 percent of retailers currently apply security upgrades and patches across their branch network weekly. IT Pro Portal says that prevention is always better than a cure. Instead of waiting for a breach to happen, retailers should ensure that their systems are fully patched and up-to-date in order to be fully prepared.
If you are interested in patch management and cybersecurity for your retail business, learn about our managed services.