Barcode, Auto-ID, Point of Sale and RFID articles from Barcode Discount
Grocery chains, drug stores and other food retailers in New York City may soon have to hide their tobacco products.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg – who recently attempted to halt large sugary drink consumption in the city – announced the proposition of another health law that could affect stores’ product displays.
Under the terms of the Tobacco Product Display Restriction bill, businesses that sell tobacco products like cigarettes would have to take them off store shelves and keep them in a place that is not visible to shoppers, except during purchase and restocking.
“Such displays suggest that smoking is a normal activity,” Bloomberg said, according to Washington Post. “And they invite young people to experiment with tobacco.”
Tobacco stores would be an exception to the ban.
If the bill passes, food sellers and other companies that carry tobacco items will have to determine the most effective way to store and sell them. Because these products will no longer be out in the open, some company managers may find it more difficult to effectively track and manage stock. Businesses may consider relying on an inventory management system and barcode scanners to insure products orders and sales are properly overseen.
The holidays are always a great time for retailers to roll out new products and show off their new point of sale systems because consumers are looking to continue their celebrations. St. Patrick’s Day is no different, and a recent survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF) revealed total spending for the holiday is expected to approach nearly $5 billion.
Retailers must ensure they have plenty of festive attire in stock with the survey showing the average person will spend nearly $35 on green clothing, decor and spirits. A well managed inventory system is the perfect tool to ensure everything is in stock to meet customer expectations.
“St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect reminder that spring is right around the corner, and given the type of winter many Americans have had, it’s safe to say consumers are ready to shake off their winter blues with a little green,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF. “Budget-conscious shoppers will look for promotions ahead of time hoping to kill two birds with one stone, shopping for Easter gifts while picking out shamrock-themed decorations.”
U.S. News & World Report noted holiday budgets will become a little bit larger, especially for consumers who are looking to enjoy themselves by indulging in a few cocktails or a nice meal. Businesses of all kinds must be prepared for the added sales potential created by St. Patrick’s Day.
Consumers are relying more and more on their mobile devices to enhance their shopping experiences. By using their smartphones to research products when they are in stores, take advantage of location-based and as a barcode scanner, many customers are finding ways to find the products they are seeking from retailers for the prices they want.
Mobile searches generating real-time results
Retailers need to understand that mobile devices are changing how people are shopping, and they need to make sure their sites are optimized for quick smartphone and tablet access. A recent survey conducted by Google and Nielsen revealed roughly 75 percent of mobile searches caused customers to interact with a business. Thirty-six percent of customers said they continued to research a brand, 25 percent looked at the company’s website they were searching for and 17 percent visited a store.
“[W]hen people use mobile search to help make a decision, they’re more likely to convert,” Ben Chung, a member of the mobile ads marketing department at Google, wrote for the company’s official blog. “So it’s important for marketers to be present during those searches while also creating ads and experiences that are relevant to this immediacy.”
When mobile searches happen, customers want to quickly find what they are looking for and either make a purchase or see the products they are searching for up-close. Fifty-five percent of conversions happen within an hour of the search, making it even more important for retailers to amp up their online presence.
Shoppers are not just searching in stores
Smartphones and tablets with a data package give consumers the ability to search from their devices from anywhere. making it easy to fire up Google and do some research on the brands they are interested in. While shopping queries are two times more likely to happen in stores, 17 percent of respondents said they search for information about companies while they are on the go.
“People turn to mobile devices throughout the day to find information because of its speed and convenience, with 77 percent of mobile searches happening at home or at work,” Chung wrote. “What does this mean for marketers? Mobile is always-on for consumers, so marketers should make sure their mobile search strategies are reaching people in these different customer contexts.”
The days of the traditional point of sale system are coming to an end, as both retailers and consumers are seeking more intelligent POS checkout technology. However, a recent article for Engineering and Technology magazine said any improvement will not come without the risk of a cyberattack.
Failing to protect innovative point of sale systems could lead to compromised credit, debit and gift cards, creating unhappy customers, which is exactly what happened to Subway from 2008-2011 when it implemented its new point of sale system, said the magazine.
“Retail cybercrime is the crime of the future,” Dave Marcus, director of security and communications at McAfee, told the magazine. “Instead of coming in with guns and robbing the till, criminals can target businesses, root them from across the planet, and steal digitally.”
Combating cybercrime isn’t easy for today’s retailers, but a report from Deloitte talked about how developing a threat intelligence plan could help the company defend against hacking incidents that have yet to happen. The report recommends that IT staff and senior board members must work together on the creation of such an initiative.
Ecommerce, innovative point of sale systems and international expansion have made it difficult for brick-and-mortar retailers throughout the United States to hit their sales targets in the past years. However, a recent report from professional services firm BDO revealed 30 percent of domestic chief financial officers said U.S. expansion will be their primary method to achieve growth in the new year.
The survey found 32 percent of respondents said advertising and promotions will be their biggest investment in 2013, while 26 said they will spend the most on remodeling some of their stores. A recent Forbes article discussed how a multidimensional approach will often be the best way firms can cater to customers. The use of online resources, as well as improving offerings at physical stores could improve relationships with customers.
“The opportunities abroad and online are clear, but retail executives still believe that U.S. stores are a core part of the business,” said Ted Vaughan, partner in the retail and consumer products practice at BDO USA. “In addition to investing in existing stores, we’re also seeing several online brands introduce storefronts for the first time as they look to appeal to shoppers who want to see and try on merchandise in person.”
Mobile shopping has dramatically grow in popularity in recent years, thanks to the added capabilities of mobile devices. Now, college students have joined the trend showing that they enjoy digital transactions directly from their smartphones.
According to a recent report from Study Breaks magazine and Campus2Careers, 76 percent of student respondents use their mobile devices to find deals/coupons, while 46 percent said they use their gadgets as a barcode scanner to read QR codes.
“What this all means is that, like it or not, mobile devices are an extension of college students – a practical limb – and it’s crucial that businesses take advantage of this,” according to a statement from Study Breaks. “To do this, a business should develop mobile marketing tactics and a mobile site to increase interactivity and reach potential college students at any time via the one form of media that they never put down: their mobile device.”
Forty percent of respondents said they use prefer using mobile optimized sites and 93 percent said they use smartphones and tablets to search for business information. Retailers that fail to create mobile commerce opportunities could be missing out on monetizing a major portion of their customer base.
With mobile point of sale systems becoming more commonplace at today’s retailers, it is imperative to invest in the proper security infrastructure that can serve as a defense against a potential data breach. Failing to protect employee devices could lead to lost business and customer information that can be potential debilitating for the firm.
BYOD policies must be protected
New research from provider of integrated cybercrime prevention solutions ThreatMetrix revealed roughly one-quarter of retail and financial services firms give employees the option to use their personal devices for work purposes, while only 15 percent have a formal policy in place for how staff members are able to use such gadgets that hold both corporate and consumer information. An eWeek article that covered the study pointed to the fact that retail businesses also need to protect their own technology and must limit the capabilities that employees have on using work-issued smartphones, tablets and laptops.
“While BYOD often enables a more efficient and productive workplace, businesses cannot ignore the additional risk of unknown devices connecting to corporate networks,” said Andreas Baumhof, chief technology officer at ThreatMetrix. “As BYOD becomes commonplace across industries, a layered security approach, including device identification and malware protection is crucial to protect corporate and customer data.”
Security measures need by many firms
Seventy percent of employees are accessing corporate email on their personal devices and 53 percent are logging onto the the company website with such gadgets. These actions, and more sophisticated tasks carried out by the workforce, must be protected from from computer hackers and cybercriminals. A security infrastructure needs to be in place before employees are even granted access on their smartphone, tablets and laptops, giving retail firms the ability to ensure the safety of personal and corporate data.
“Retail and financial service organizations need preventative measures in place to protect both corporate and employee-owned devices from today’s highly sophisticated cybercrime threats,” Baumhof said. “Ensuring that every device can be safely used in the workplace is a challenge for which few organizations are prepared.”
The research also showed 97 percent of responding companies use desktop computers, while 85 percent give employees access to laptops, which proves new innovations are not the only technologies that companies need to keep safe from data breaches.
Brick-and-mortar retailers that have begun rolling out their new ecommerce sites need to enlist in the proper security defenses against cyberattacks. Recent research conducted for The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company revealed 53 percent of all respondents have experienced multiple data breaches, potentially putting information gathered from the company’s credit card reader or payment terminal in jeopardy.
A data breach can be extremely costly to a company, according to a recent article for Business News Daily. Many small retailers don’t have roughly $200,000 needed to recover from hacking incidents, which is why the firm should take the necessary precautions to help defend the company against any potential cybercrimes.
“Smaller companies are targeted by data thieves, but they often don’t know how to respond when sensitive information they keep on customers and employees is lost or stolen,” said Eric Cernak, vice president for Hartford Steam Boiler. “Failing to act in a timely and effective way can harm the reputation of businesses and even risk legal penalties in many states.”
A poor reputation for security can be devastating to a retailer. However, only 33 percent of survey respondents notified members of their client base when a data breach occurred when nearly all states in the United States require firms to report when they experience a data breach.
Having an ecommerce site up and running is something many retailers are trying to do to maximize sales. Giving customers the ability to buy online will not only add revenue to the firm, but also add some stability to inventory management. One way retailers are improving the online experience for consumers is by adding advanced site search strategies, according to recent research from SLI Systems and FitForCommerce.
Multichannel Merchant said re-platforming the company website for ecommerce could affect the amount of business brought in by the company and have a negative impact on the bottom line, which is why firms must have a strong ecommerce site to capitalize on the growing amount of online shoppers.
“We avoided spending a huge amount of time and money to enable a mobile experience,” said Victor Castro, vice president of ecommerce at Vermont Teddy Bear. “We had a mobile site up within a week by leveraging our search solution.”
Navigation, search, merchandising, landing pages, and SEO efforts can all be enhanced by adding site search to the functionality of the company website, creating new opportunities for customer to interact with the firm.
Today’s consumers are more intrigued by point of sale systems than the ability of retailers to offer them same-day delivery. According to a recent survey conducted by The Boston Consulting Group, 74 percent of 1,500 U.S. consumers said free delivery would improve their online shopping experience, while just 9 percent could by wooed by same-day delivery.
The world of ecommerce has grown, and Reuters reported smaller retailers are trying to look for any way to put themselves in competition with large competition, including Wal-Mart, Amazon and Nordstrom. By offering same-day delivery, they may be able to fill a need that other businesses cannot.
“Same-day delivery will be a niche service in the near future,” said Rob Souza, a partner at BCG. “Retailers may choose to offer it to build customer loyalty, enhance brand awareness, or keep up with the competition. But it is unlikely to generate significant revenues for either retailers or carriers.”
Same-day delivery may be attractive to affluent, younger urban-dwellers with the report revealing some 18-34 year olds are willing to pay up to $10 to get the products they ordered on the same day companies received their information.
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