News Feature | January 15, 2014

Retail IT News For VARs — January 15, 2014

By Anna Rose Welch, associate editor

BSM-Security

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security issued a POS malware alert. Also in the news, surveys show mobile technology is retailers’ top priority, and a survey shows the majority of businesses experience significant technology failures, but most don’t quantify their impact.

Homeland Security Issues POS Malware Alert

The NACS reports that the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Computer Emergency Alert Team has issued a POS malware alert, following reports of various retailer security breaches. This alert provides several recommendations to ensure security is up to par. These recommendations include updating POS software applications, installing a firewall, using antivirus programs, and disallowing remote access to the POS network, among others.

Mobile Technology Is Retailers’ Top Priority

Infinite Peripherals recently released the results of its Payment Technology Trends Survey. According to the results, 67 percent of participants believe mobile technology innovation will be driving payment technology trends. In second place, with 38 percent of responders, is the risk of fraud/criminal payment activity, followed by 35 percent who believe customer preferences will drive retail priorities. Payment providers and payment legislation were in fourth and fifth place. Swipe payments via mobile POS devices are expected to dominate the payment market over the next three years. Only 17 percent of respondents plan to use swipe at register over the next year. 

Technology Failures Plague Global Businesses

According to a recent survey by Intellitrends and Compuware, more than half of global businesses have experienced a significant technology failure within the past year. In fact, nearly 81 percent of these businesses said that this same failure occurred more than once. While these technological failings can harm business, the survey also reveals that a very small number of businesses are equipped to assess these failures’ impacts on business. Only one-third regularly collects data and quantifies the impact of tech failures. The survey also discovered the three reasons companies don’t assess this data and some resolutions to “fix” these IT performance issues. 

“Hottest” Tech Investments For The New Year

Paula Rosenblum for Forbes has compiled a list of predictions on what will be “hot” in retail technology this year. She expects stores to explore using more kiosks, mobile registers, and fitting room technologies to improve customer experience in stores. Cross-channel order fulfillment, or omni-channel fulfillment, will also be big in order for stores to give customers what they want, regardless or where it is located. Big Data and predictive analytics as well as technology to provide promotional/end-of-season prices and to improve data security also made Rosenblum’s list.

Branded Apps Encourage Holiday Mobile Purchases

Baynote recently released the results of its 4th Annual Holiday Online Shopping Survey. The survey shows branded apps are encouraging more shoppers to turn to mobile phones while shopping, with 34 percent of shoppers using an app to make a purchase. The number of shoppers purchasing via apps has increased 48 percent from 2012. When using a website, 74 percent of customers said using onsite search is very or extremely important in order to find what they want online. Being sure to provide customers with inventory information online is also key, considering 64 percent researched products’ availability online before going into stores.

Retail IT Talking Points

MediaPost features an interview with Mark Larson, KPMG’s global head of retail, about the use of smartphones in retail stores. Larson discusses how retailers are changing in regards to technology, the biggest changes facing the industry, and some of the risks of using mobile in stores. 

Last week, a large number of retailers cut their earnings forecasts as holiday results came rolling in, The Chicago Tribune reports. As expected, steep discounts offered during the holidays took their toll on profits, even with retailers that saw increases in sales.

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