Blog: Hot Topics at ‘The Big Show’ 2015
Coming off a strong holiday season, retailers have their sights set on data security and the shopping experience.
A 4 percent increase in holiday sales and high retailer confidence for the coming year set a positive tone for the National Retail Federation’s 2015 Big Show in New York City earlier this month. Transformation is driving an omnichannel retail focus, which is a significant change from topics discussed at the show just three years ago. As retailers consider strategies to engage their consumers across channels, there is great concern over high-profile data breaches and restoring consumer trust, while also adapting to a shifting payments landscape—EMV, Apple Pay and mobile, etc.
The retailers I talked with at the Big Show—and continue to talk with every day—are asking:
- What should be my payment and data security strategy?
- How can I prioritize my technology investments?
- What can I do to address shoppers’ nervousness regarding the privacy of their personal information when using their credit and debit cards?
The payments industry had a clear message at the conference: We can help!
The chief underlying concern among 25,000-plus attendees of retailers and industry providers was how to protect their businesses from data thieves. As shoppers tend to refrain from shopping in stores that fail to protect their personal and financial data, it’s critical that retailers address this growing issue of data breaches.
According to Paul Kleinschnitz, SVP of cybersecurity solutions at First Data, you can never fully stop a breach. “You will be breached,” he said during a panel on cybersecurity and risk management. “The goal is to manage your response to a breach, something that still isn’t happening as frequently as it should,” Kleinschnitz said.
To protect their shoppers and their businesses, retailers need a multifaceted approach to fighting fraud and eliminating access to information that would be of use by a data thief. Top of the agenda is enabling end-to-end encryption, tokenization and EMV, panelists agreed. Retailers are concerned with how security and new form factors, such as EMV-enabled cards and NFC-enabled smartphone solutions, will change the payments process and affect the store associate’s interaction with shoppers. If not managed effectively, these changes could slow down the tender process. Following the significant investments that will go into being EMV- and mobile-ready leading into the critical holiday 2015 months, slowing retailers’ ability to conduct business and the risk of turning away frustrated shoppers is unacceptable.
Providing Greater Security and Value
Given those concerns, the payment industry must be able to answer the retailer’s question: What is the real value to the store and the shopper?
The good news is the answer is clear. With the implementation of new technologies and processes, shoppers (with just a little help from the retailer) will be able to conduct transactions safely in the store or online. With the ability to securely make purchases with a card or their mobile devices, shifts in business processes also will lead to shorter transaction times and an excited shopper—who will show loyalty to retailers that elevate the shopping experience—and permit them to close the sale whenever and however a consumer desires.
Jerry McNerney is vice president for First Data for global, strategic and national accounts. Before joining First Data, he held leadership roles in marketing, mobile computing product management, strategy and business development and industry markets at Motorola and the former Symbol Technologies. He was also an industry analyst with AMR Research, now part of the Gartner Group. Jerry can be reached at Gerald.McNerney@FirstData.com
In Blogs & Viewpoints, prepaid and emerging payments professionals share their perspectives on the industry. Paybefore endeavors to present many points of view to offer readers new insights and information. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Paybefore.