Point of Sale
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Innovations in technology are changing how companies do business, the latest breakthrough that furthered that notion is the mobile point of sale system, which poses benefits such as cost-efficiency, the ability to conduct inventory tracking and ease of use. A recent blog post for Resource Nation outlined a list of industries that have been changed by the cutting edge solution:
- Food trucks: The owners of these roaming food stand can’t afford to have large POS systems in their vehicles, and by having the ability to use smartphones or tablets to process credit or debit card payments, the truck owners can increase their revenues by being able to accept all forms of money.
- Restaurants: Many consumers are annoyed at the end of their meals when they have to wait around for the waiter/waitress to bring the check to the table so they can leave. With mobile POS comes tableside transactions that can make dinner move faster, enabling restaurants to feed more customers.
- Farmers market: For years, consumers have passed up farmers markets because they didn’t have any cash. By adopting mobile POS systems, farmers are able to generate much higher sales numbers.
Credit card readers are getting less of a workout in today’s retail stores, and more on ecommerce sites as some Americans continue to opt for the online shopping experience over traveling to stores and picking out their desired products.
A recent survey conducted by credit card comparison website CreditDonkey.com revealed some interesting statistics that reveal the mindset of many American shoppers. Roughly 41 percent of consumers have memorized the security code on the back of their credit cards, while only about one-quarter of respondents know their driver’s license number.
“The sign of a heavily used card nowadays is whether its owner knows the security code by heart,” said Charles Tran, founder of CreditDonkey.com. “After all, the main reason why anybody would need the code is to complete their purchase online. If you shop online frequently enough, soon enough you’ll discover you have memorized your security code as well.”
With ecommerce opportunities becoming the preferred means of shopping for some customers, retailers must continue to try to entice customers to come into their stores with money-saving deals and discounts that make the trip worth it.
Consumers have spoken, and they are showing that they want a point of sale system that they can interact with on ecommcerce sites, as well as in physical locations when they head out to their favorites stores. Retailers are hoping to improve the customer experience by changing many of the ways they are marketing and selling their goods, as well as moving to several digital processes. With Experian Marketing Services set to release its 2013 Digital Marketer Report, marketers will learn how to better meet the needs of their client base.
A multichannel approach is becoming a necessity
According to the research, 74 percent of marketers surveyed have either coordinated, or are in the process of coordinating, customer interactions on ecommerce sites, as well as in retail stores. Brands are going to need to cater to customers on many platforms to keep them loyal to the company. In some instances, those efforts won’t be enough, with showrooming forcing brick-and-mortar stores to either lower prices to drive customers away from online shopping opportunities or try new marketing tactics to get more people in the stores. Americans are continuing to look online for the best prices on the products they intend to purchase.
“The way consumers gain information from brands – the means by which they get it, even the ways in which they process it – is constantly evolving given the complexity of our multichannel world and evolving consumer behavior driven by economic variables,” said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research for Experian Marketing Services.
Retailers must learn to cater to ‘always on’ consumers
Smartphones, tablets and laptops give Americans the ability to constantly be online, and therefore, always be connected to their email, text messages and social media platforms. The survey revealed 59 percent of adults send and receive emails from at least two devices each week, while a similar survey from Experian showed 36 percent of U.S. organizations are using five or more channels to connect with their customer base.
“With the recent retail numbers coming out of January, retailers can anticipate consumer hesitation, making it imperative that marketers create integrated customer experiences and maximize digital marketing opportunities and return on investment,” said Tancer.
In fact, mobile marketing is beginning to gain traction with consumers, with the 2013 Digital Marketer Report showing nearly half of adults in the U.S. feel that a conversation over a text message is just as meaningful as talking on the phone. This provides another opportunity for marketers to reach potential customers at their convenience.
Retailers that have yet to explore the online realm may be soon losing out of many customers, thanks to the customer satisfaction provided by ecommerce and online sopping sites. According to recent research from the American Customer Satisfaction Index and customer experience analytics firm ForeSee, experiences with ecommerce websites are found to be more appealing to consumers than traveling to brick-and-mortar stores.
The annual E-Commerce Report measures customer satisfaction and found the average online retail aggregate posted a score of 82, while the brick-and-mortar retail trade sector achieved a score of 76.6. With consumers enjoying their experiences online shopping more than going into stores, retailers may see fewer transactions sliding through their credit card reader and POS stations.
“Just as we have seen in the public sector, consumers enjoy the convenience and power of ecommerce and online transactions,” said Claes Fornell, founder of ACSI and professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “Ecommerce is maturing, and even the smaller companies are improving, keeping up with or sometimes surpassing larger, more established companies.
Those retailers who have yet to give customers an opportunity to buy product online may want to begin implement an ecommerce strategy.
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