News Feature | October 2, 2013

Retail IT News For VARs — October 2, 2013

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By Anna Rose Welch, Editor, Biosimilar Development
Follow Me On Twitter @AnnaRoseWelch

Top Federal IT Initiatives Include Security, Disaster Recovery, Digitizing Records

This week, the demand for digital and mobile coupons is growing, shoppers anticipate switch to mobile POS, and battle is waging over apparel industry tariffs.

Digital/Mobile Coupons Market Growing

While print coupons are still the most used form of coupon, eMarketer expects that 96.6 million U.S. consumers will be using digital coupons by the end of this year. This figure is expected to top 100 million in 2014. Similarly, eMarketer estimates 40.8 million consumers will be using mobile coupons by the end of 2013, up from 31 million at the end of 2012.

Consumers Expect Switch To Mobile POS  

The I Love Velvet “Consumer Mobile Point of Sale Attitudes Report” reveals that 51 percent of Americans find the traditional cash register outdated, claiming it will be “gone soon.” In addition, 35 percent of consumers claimed they would shop at a store more often if it offered a mobile POS option. The report also states 26 percent of consumers report they feel more comfortable using mobile POS technologies in retail settings. However, while mobile POS is gaining traction, about 15 percent of consumers avoid mobile POS because they feel uneducated about how mobile POS technologies work.

Textile Vs. Apparel: Clothing Industry Battles Over Tariffs

According to POLITICO, representatives from apparel manufacturers and retailers have gathered on Capitol Hill to lobby Congress as U.S. negotiators address the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Currently, the clothing industry’s sides — textiles and apparel — are fighting over which Asian imports would no longer face tariffs and when those tariffs would be eliminated. Traditionally, trade pacts have specified that all parts of the clothing production process remain in countries party to the pacts. This specification has left the expensive fabric making process to the U.S. and the low wage production work to other countries. Should this specification be relaxed in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, U.S. textile businesses could be met with a large amount of Asian competition selling apparel into the U.S. without tariffs. Apparel lobbyists however, believe that eliminating tariffs for industry imports could encourage other countries to make concessions on other areas such as intellectual property rights.

App-Based Games Top Online Video Game Purchases

According to a press release by Worldpay, U.S. video gamers are more likely to purchase app-based games online above all other types of online games. Worldpay’s whitepaper, “Video Games Payment Preference,” reveals that 26 percent of 7,554 U.S. online video game consumers surveyed had purchased a gaming app online in the past year. Console games purchased online were the second most popular, with 24 percent of consumers having purchased one. While gaming apps are the most popular video game type in the U.S., the U.S. still trails South Korea (44 percent) and India (37 percent) in gaming app purchases. The whitepaper also states 65 percent of consumers claim that the closure of physical outlets is encouraging online gaming purchases. Additional topics covered in the whitepaper include time and place of purchase, purchase methods, and top frustrations for online gamers. The full whitepaper can be downloaded here

Teen-Focused Retailers Have Weak Back-To-School Season

The Los Angeles Times reports that teen-focused retailers like Abercrombie and Fitch, American Eagle Outfitters,, and Aeropostale, are struggling after a shaky back-to-school season. Analyst Howard Tubin claims that these retailers are a competitive and difficult subsector because of rapidly changing fashion trends and their “fickle customer base.” However, other analysts argue that teen-focused retailers have been affected by changing fashion tastes and the low hiring rate for teens, which is decreasing teens’ spending money.

Retail IT Talking Points

Paul Elliot in Businessweek elaborates on the four steps retailers must take to support the shift to omni-channel. These steps include establishing personal relationships with consumers, instituting loyalty efforts earlier to establish relationships with buyers and non-buyers alike, unifying fulfillment, and embracing showrooming.

Rick Curtis in The Drum argues that retailers are slow to fully embrace going mobile because they are concerned about several fundamental questions. Questions include: What is the purpose of going mobile? Will the returns be acceptable? And which, of the many new technologies, should be chosen? In addition, Curtis provides advice for retailers on how to make sure mobile is done right in their company. 

Kelly Stickle for Remodista interviews Lois Herzeca, a partner in the NY office of Gibson, Dunn, and Crutcher, about the importance of women in retail commerce. Herzeca discusses upcoming fashion/retail industry trends, issues impacting retail growth, the differences between male and female executives, and how women approach innovation.   

Note: Make sure you read Business Solutions’ editor-in-chief Mike Monocello and Hunter Allen’s article on evaluating a new vendor that includes a list of questions retail IT total solutions providers should use when evaluating new vendors/products for their portfolios. They remind POS VARs that they must see themselves as retail IT total solutions providers delivering other technologies that meet more of their customers’ needs.