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Nothing is untouchable, not even technology and e-commerce giant Amazon. With the recent news of the hack on its third-party vendors, retailers are reminded to reinforce security software to avoid a breach of their own.

As focus has shifted to the consumer’s needs and expectations, it’s also imperative for businesses to implement necessary safety measures when deploying new software. Industry experts say there’s nothing more damaging to brand loyalty than shoppers having their identity stolen. Interactions Marketing’s report, “Retail Perceptions: The Next Generation of Retail” touched on just how much Generation Z shoppers are turned off by security breaches. “Fifty-nine percent avoid shopping at retailers that have been [affected] by security breaches and 78 percent of [the shoppers] trust [retailers] to keep their personal information safe,” the report said.

A recent white paper released by Symantec, “Internet Security Threat” detailed the state of threats across industries such as health care, retail and wholesale, among others. The report said that while the amount of hacks, specifically sphere-phishing on enterprise-level companies has declined — down to 35 percent in 2015 from 50 percent in 2011 — it has increased for small businesses. During the same period, the number of security breaches grew from 18 percent in 2011 to 43 percent in 2015.

This isn’t to say that enterprises are off the hacking hook. “Cyber attackers are playing the long game against large companies, but all businesses of all sizes are vulnerable to targeted attacks. In fact, the number of spear-phishing campaigns targeting employees increased 55 percent in 2015,” the report said.

And while many businesses are exploring and deploying new solutions to enhance consumer experiences, back-end functionality needs to match the level of front-end investments. According to Symantec’s research, the retail trade category suffered from 30 incidents in 2015 that resulted in six million identities exposed.

The upside: Developments such as EMV chips in credit cards has reduced the frequency in which data breaches occur. “Following numerous large-scale data breaches in recent years and increasing rates of credit card fraud, credit card issuers in the U.S. are migrating to this technology in a bid to reduce the impact of such fraud,” the report said.

This isn’t a catchall for security breaches — companies such as Amazon’s Marketplace that store large amounts of identity information are prime targets for hack attempts. This poses a complexity for retailers looking to enlarge their digital footprint: Consumers expect a unified shopping experience, which includes saved personal data. But the most data stored, the higher the risk for a comprehensive hack.

Companies such as Clover, Applicure and Global-E are aiming to minimize risk for retailers while bolstering sales. And while these will help reduce external hacks, internal breaches can be the most deadly. As retailers re-examine platforms, holistic safety solutions need to be considered in tandem with additional data analysis offerings.

More on Retail Solutions from WWD:

Executives Fatally Out of Touch With Consumer Priorities

Merchants Aren’t Prepared to Deal with Modern Consumers

Ralph Lauren Taps Salesforce in Digital Push

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