Secure Your Data, Before It Becomes Front Page News
In 2014 we saw many retailers suffer at the hands of hacker’s intent on stealing customer credit card details and personal information. With Target, Michaels, Neiman Marcus, Albertsons & SuperValu, all getting plenty of coverage in the press, resulting in significant financial loss and impacting consumer confidence. Retailers, including JC Penney and Wal-Mart, now list data security as a new risk factor in their annual filings.
Insiders, particularly current or former employees, are cited as a source of security incidents by most Retail & Consumer respondents. PWC
Despite the headlines and damage to reputation retailers still struggle to understand how their data is collected, stored, and used. While a lot of time and money is invested protecting the perimeter on the assumption that higher walls and wider moats will keep intruders out. But what if the intruder is already on the inside?
Last week AT&T paid a $25 million civil penalty assessed by the FFC – for call center employees in Mexico, Colombia and the Philippines accessing personally identifiable information from some 280,000 customer accounts without authorization.
A recent Ponemon study showed that 57 percent of IT practitioners do not know where all the sensitive or confidential data exists within their organizations
As retailers increasingly modernize legacy applications, consolidate systems, digitize the business and outsource IT projects to serve customer s more efficiently and create a great customer experience they are exposed to the ever increasing threat of data breaches. Increased threats and complex IT environments make it difficult for retailers to protect sensitive data especially from the inside, from those authorized to view confidential data.
“Not knowing the location of sensitive or confidential data keeps most respondents up at
night and represents a significant security risk.”
As you look across the IT landscape where are the potential areas of exposure from the inside?
- Test/Reporting Copies: Many copies of production (often full) used for test, training, and analytical purposes
- Development and Support: DBA’s, IT have unlimited access to sensitives data. Many use SQR reporting, Toad, SQL plus to bypass existing security
- Outsourcing: Outsourcers have access to sensitive data in non-production and production systems. Are your contracts stipulating sensitive data is not allowed offshore
- Authorized Users: Store associates, contact center employees are required to view account details in order to answer customer queries or resolve questions and disputes. Commercial off-the-shelf applications not designed to deploy restrictions by data element.
There are many facets to a successful risk mitigation strategy. One way to is to discover and permanently mask confidential and sensitive data from non-production environments, such as test and development environments. Another is to dynamically mask data stored in production systems to provide more tightly controlled access, and give control of this function to the business users who understand the nature and context of the data.
Why now stop by our Booth #S2626 at RSA Conference 2015 where we will showcase Secure@Source, the industry’s first Data Security Intelligence software, which discovers, analyzes and visualizes data relationships, proliferation and sensitivity. Secure@Source monitors data risks and vulnerabilities to protect organizations from external breaches and insider abuse. If you cannot attend you can learn more about Informatica’s Data Security and Privacy solutions here.
For anything on Retail Security, here is the key @INFARetail
Shoppers want and expect a consistent experience regardless of the sales channel they choice. They also expect an ever increasing assortment of products with detailed descriptions and will go were their needs are met.
39% of US online adults cite that they would consider buying from an online retailer they had never previously purchased from if the retailer offered detailed product information. Forrester
I was recently looking to purchase a new bike and came across the following two descriptions for the same bike at different online retailers;
Retailer 1: “With sturdy 700c wheels the Specialized Crosstrail Disk is where the street meets the trail. With the efficiency of a road bike and the versatility of a mountain bike this is a hybrid that is ready for adventure.
The sturdy but light A1 aluminum frame offers a comfortable, well balanced ride and has lugs ready to take mudguards and/or rack. Bumps on rough tracks are smoothed out by the suspension fork which can also be locked out, for efficiency, on smooth roads.
Hydraulic disk brakes offer efficient reliable performance in all weather conditions giving you the confidence to ride all year round. The triple chain set combined with a 9 speed cassette gives a very wide range of gears so you can take on all terrain; from steep country lanes to fast city streets.”
Further tabs on reviews, technical specs, etc.
Retailer 2: Specialized Crosstrail Disc 2015. Your Price: €690.00 (with redirect to Specialized website)
Which retailer would you contact first?
Deliver trusted, consistent and rich product data were, and when it is needed in the right format.
As your business expands across all sales channels e.g. in-store, kiosk, you may have multiple e-commerce sites, full price, discount and clearance or sales via third party site like Amazon, Facebook, etc. or add a contact center to take telephone orders. Add in, an ever growing assortment and increased number of suppliers, with recent EU legislation on product labeling (no. 1169) adding another dimension for retailers and consumer goods manufactures to adhere to, the task of managing product data becomes very complex and onerous.
Managing thousands of products with multiple attributes in Excel or home grown tools is no longer feasible. And with business users e.g. marketers, merchandizer now making the decision on Product Information Management tools, they are looking for the same ease of use they experience in Excel. But before deciding on or implementing a product information management tool you need ask yourself;
- What does good product information look like for your business?
- What do you want your product information to achieve?
- How does your organization synthesize this information?
- What product data should be highlighted in each channel?
- How are your competitors presenting product data?
- Where is yours currently underperforming?
Once you have answered the above you need some guiding principles for great product data that will ensure your PIM implementation will deliver the benefits you expected. These include;
Think ‘customer experience’ – Product information isn’t a by-product of selling. It’s an essential service, for your customers and for other users of product data. Customer experience pivots around product information
Up to standard – Treat product data with the same care and diligence as the product itself.
It goes without saying that it needs to meet: The category-specific industry standards (like ETIM or Eclass for electronic products or GDSN/GS1 for consumer packaged goods). The legal requirements for compliance (e.g., for organic food or pharmaceuticals)
Customer-centric – Great product information answers every question your customers will ever ask. Don’t forget that this includes internal customers – like shipping or fulfillment – who often need very specific information (e.g., in the U.S., compliance laws for certain products can vary significantly between states).
Join us at Informatica World 2015 to hear from your peers and Informatica experts on how to get the best from your Product Information Management.
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80% of companies surveyed said that they offer superior customer service, but only 8% of their customers agreed with them. (Source: Bain & Company)
With numbers like that there is plenty of room to improve. But improve what?
Traditionally retailers have measured themselves against year over year increase in sales for like-stores, increased margins and lower operating costs. But, retailing has changed, customers can interact and transact with you across multiple touch points along their path to purchase and beyond. Poor performance at any one of these interaction points could lose you a customer and damage your brand.
A better measure is to calculate the customer experience across the omni-channel landscape. This will provide better insight into how you are attracting and retaining customers, and how well you are serving them. However, many retailers lack the technology and processes to deliver on a plan to improve the omni-channel customer experience.
Once you have decided to do something, what are you going to measure? Is it time spent on website versus sales? Speed to resolve problems in contact center versus number of repeat transactions from customer? Number of touch points before purchase? But what about the softer measures like how well your staff interact with customers in-store or social channels? How many “Pins” you have, or how do you assign value to them?
Organizations need to account for (CHURN, ATTRITION, LOYALTY and LIFETIME VALUE) to be able to evaluate their performance from a holistic view of their customer, not just in the confines of their own operational silo.
In an up and coming webinar Arkady Kleyner, from Intricity will break apart key components of the Omni-Channel Customer Experience calculation. Additionally, Arkady will identify the upstream components that keep this measure accurate and current.
Attend this webinar to learn:
- The foundational calculations of Omni-Channel Customer Experience
- Common customizations to fit different scenarios
- Upstream components to keep the calculation current and accurate
- Register here to receive a calendar invitation with the webinar details.
- Join us for a 1 hour webinar and Q/A session. The event will occur March 19th at 2:00PM EST.
On our recent webinar with Omer Minkara from Aberdeen Group , we learnt that“94% of companies are not satisfied with their use of customer data”, yet retailers still want more data to gain valuable customer insights to drive improvements in the shopper experience. But the top challenge they face when managing customer data as part of their business activities is the quality of the data. Data-Driven retailers are characterized by their ability to balance quantity and quality of data effectively.
Shoppers expect consistency in their interactions with you, whether it’s the same price across channels, accurate shipping information or when they are calling a contact center. However, one of the top frustrations for consumers is the need to provide the same information over and over as they interact with the retailer. This data is already captured in multiple systems but is not connected or clean. Fragmented views of customer data across multiple systems makes it harder to personalize shopper interaction and enhance the overall customer experience.
Bring your data management to today’s omni-channel world
By standardizing customer data across the organization and having a centralized repository of product and service information available to all customer facing roles, data- driven retailers have enjoyed increased margins, higher returns on marketing investments, shorter delivery times and improved time to market for products and services.
Data-driven retailers are not just meeting customer expectations, they are exceeding them.
In my next blog I will look at some of the questions we did not get to answer during this session. In the meantime, why not register for our next webinar “Calculating Omni-Channel Customer Experience – March 19 Webinar” with Arkady Kleyner, Solution Architect, Intricity.
Don’t to follow us on twitter @INFARetail.
As Valentine’s Day approaches and retailers & restaurants prepare to sell millions of cards, teddy bears, bottles of champagne and for the lucky few, some expensive jewels, I started to think about my love affair with data and the many ups and downs we had over the years!
Our first date together was arranged by a third party and everything I was told was from their perspective. I had many questions; could I trust data, was I getting the complete picture from the third party, would we be compatible and ultimately “fit for purpose” or would data break my heart!
As we shared information we were both apprehensive, not everything was fitting together, there were gaps in data’s story, and I just could not make an informed decision, this lead to mistrust between the two of us. I stated to ask other friends and associates for their information and tried to reconcile with my view of data. I wanted it to work but what could I do?
A close friend, Stewart, recommended I get some professional advice to help with my issues with data and pointed me towards Doctor Rob, one of the leading authorities on data, specialising in data governance.
The first bit of advice Doctor Rob gave me was; it should never have been about data, the dream must be about your long term goals together, your commitment to get it right, your interactions with others in your circle of friends and dependents.
The second piece of advice was to decide what roles and responsibilities each of us would take on in the relationship. Evaluate if we have the right skills or do we need external support or training to succeed.
While we are still on our journey together data and I are now in a long term committed relationship and look forward to many years on Cloud 9.
Now all I have to decide is will I go to Tiffany’s or Claire’s for that piece of jewellery!
With CES and the NRF Big Show just over and many exhibitors talking about the “Internet of Things” below I take a quick look at what is happening for retailers with the “Internet of Things”.
Consumer demand is driving the adoption of IoT as they embrace the new technology to improve health (Garmin Vívoactive), energy savings (NEST), safety (BeClose) and a better overall experience including shopping (beacons?). However, getting the balance between privacy, intrusion and relevance can be tricky for both the retailer and shopper.
While shoppers are willing to give up some level of privacy in return for personalization, I am not convinced most are ready of what the “Internet of Things” brings. I recently purchased a smart TV and was surprised when I was asked to accept terms and conditions before using, what are they capturing, how will it be used, will I see any benefits? Retailers need to demonstrate value and trust to the consumer.
While RFID has been around for many years the next wave of intelligent “things” bring both opportunities and challenges. Retailers need to decide which ones truly enhance the shopping experience.
“Psst! It’s Me, the Mannequin. This Would Look Great on You.” (Rachel Abrams, NY Times)
Smart Dummies (mannequins) – Last year House of Fraser started rolling out beacon-enabled mannequins to engage directly with shoppers and passers-by. Shoppers within a 50-metre range will receive information from the mannequins, which may include details about the clothes on display, with links to make a purchase from a website, or details of where the outfit can be found in the store. The next step could link customer preferences, profile and past purchases and suggest matching accessories, check customers size availability or monitor how long they browsed and offer a digital coupon.
Connected Hangers – While you browse through the racks, real-time reviews are displayed on the hanger, size availability or images & videos displayed on screens showing the garment in use. Retailers can capture how popular an item is but never purchased. Taking the clothes and hanger try on could provide personalized recommendation on shoes and accessories.
Personalized Mirrors – I recently read an article in Time (Dec 29th) about Rebecca Minkoff’s new store in Manhattan, where they installed a giant mirrored panel showing images of models walking down the runway. The panel acts as a mirror and touchscreen, where shoppers can order up a personalized fitting room, offering style tips based on their selection. This is connected to a mobile app that saves their browsing history and style preferences for their next visit. When a customer is ready to purchase a sales assistant takes payment on an iPad.
In future blog I will discuss how location based services are machine-to-machine technologies are impacting retailers and consumers.
With so many devices connected and larger volumes of data captured this raises concerns around data privacy and security. In the past year we have seen too many stores on data breaches and retailers. While shoppers are prepared to share more information for relevance they expect you to keep it safe and secure. Retailers must have a solid data governance framework and process in place or risk losing the trust and loyalty of their customers.
Sensor Driven Analytics
The Internet of Things presents retailers with a wonderfully opportunity to understand and engage the customer like never before. However, retailers need to manage the explosion of data available through smarter devices to gain insight into shopper behaviours and preferences and turn into a more rewarding experience for the consumer.
However, before loading an analytics engine they need to ensure the data is clean, connected and safe. Without this any decisions made are flawed and will impact their brand and ultimately the bottom line.
62% of global consumers switched service providers due to poor customer service experiences (Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey)
Issues with keeping everyone happy have been around since the beginning of trade and as trading has evolved, the underlying rule remains the same – keep the customers happy! Retailers who move beyond just selling to the customer and focus on creating the shopping experience customers want will see higher retention rates and increased spend per shopper.
Other factors like good quality of the products and competitive pricing play a huge role as well but taking care of the consumer is even more important. At the end of the day, shoppers have more options and opportunities to purchase from your competitors.
While multi-channel commerce has gown, many people are shopping not because they really need the products but because they like the experience of shopping. The better the experience is (which includes an amazing customer service) the more likely it is that the customer will come back and make a purchase in store or online. However, if they run into issues with the retailer, not only will they complain and never come back but they will tell their friends, damaging your brand and hurting the bottom line.
News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience. (Help Scout)
Today retailers realize the importance of great customer service and that’s why they train their staff to be friendly and helpful to the customers at all times. Studies have shown that people are reacting very positively to this kind of treatment and not only are they more willing to spend more money but also remain a customer a long a time.
People want to be treated right but they also want to feel important. That’s why retail businesses nowadays go an extra step and use technology and access more data like past purchases, preferences and trends to enhance the customer experience. Even if a customer had a bad experience smart retailers are leveraging customer insights to turn any bad situation around fast. Customer service representatives can responsive to any situation with all the information they need in real time or a highly personalize offer can be delivered to their smartphone.
A 5% increase in customer retention produces more than a 25% increase in profit. (Bain & Co.)
Retailers also have access to different social channels where they can influence and respond to what their customers are saying about their services and products and can use this instant feedback to make changes quickly and precisely.
In today’s world retail businesses have a great advantage compared to the ones that were operating even 5-10 years ago and if they are prompt in addressing concerns they can minimize the negative affect on their operations very easily. Each satisfied customer is not only going to spend money but they are going to advocate for the retailer which is a very powerful thing in business in the long run.
That’s why today successful retail businesses are turning data into insight to make sure that any problems and concerns are addressed promptly and efficiently, and deliver the experience customers desire.
Maybe the problem lies in the widespread confusion about omni- vs. multi-channel initiatives. An omni-channel system takes a connected approach to multiple channels, seamlessly integrating customer activities into a single conversation, even when the customer decides, for whatever reason, to switch channel. In omni-channel retailing, the customer can select and change channels in any way that suits them – and the retailer can respond instantly to deliver the experience that the customer needs. Each time the customer interacts with the brand, they generate data that the retailer can use to better anticipate and serve the customer during the next conversation.
So, if omni-channel initiatives are so powerful, why are retailers not taking the next step?
In a multi-channel system, a retailer grows from a single channel to multiple channels with each channel essentially operating as a separate business unit. Each has its own pricing, promotions, inventories, and back office systems. The omni-channel system integrates all of these channels and their accumulated data into one cohesive view of the business and customer. But many retailers wrongly believe that their organizational structure and systems don’t lend themselves to the new environment.
Many feel that a fundamental redesign of the corporate retail organization – from a single P&L regardless of channel, to “rip and replace” of IT systems – would need to occur at the most basic levels. And many organizations are unsure if the extra time, money and risk to reorganize is worth the advantages promised by an omni-channel strategy. In short, many retailers have adopted a wait-and-see stance before they invest.
However, these retailers can take comfort and guidance from the conclusions of the IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Retail 2015 Predictions conference. Based on a survey of top retailers, the conference predicts that “In 2015, CIOs will invest in omni-channel integration technologies as a top priority to support growth in the omni-channel shopper sales premium of 30%.“
The Future is Now
When retailers invest in omni-channel integration, they essentially design an entirely new supply chain of unified capabilities that can simultaneously handle the demands of their “brick and mortar” stores, their ecommerce sites, and any other channel that they have in place. The retailers that have already done so are already seeing the benefits:
- Corporations that have invested in omni-channel services are already witnessing an average of 30% increase in sales.
- The IT departments of these corporations are spending far less time performing the redundant or duplicate tasks required by a multi-channel system.
- Both structured and unstructured data are more successfully and easily integrated across the company than with a multichannel operation.
- IT departments can retire older technologies that are no longer performing at their previous levels of efficiency.
- Consumer impacts on individual channels can now be identified almost immediately and the channels adjusted accordingly.
While many businesses may be cautious about taking the next step, the shopping characteristics of today’s consumer are rapidly changing. Customers are moving into an omni-channel world, whether the retailer is ready or not. This means that the business might be forced to play catch-up to their customers, and perhaps sooner than they might like. Omni-channel initiatives simply reflect, improve and realize the value of this customer behavior. Omni-channel initiatives are about making the individual consumer the main focal point of the business model.
As retailers move from looking in the rear view mirror (what happened) to the road ahead (what will happen) they have turned to Big Data and Analytics for answers. While, Big Data holds great promise for retailers, many are skeptical. Retailers are already drinking from the data fire hose, whether its transaction data, recording every product sold to every customer across all channels or research data, covering detailed consumer profiles or web log and social data. The questions retailers are asking; will the investment drive more revenues, increase customer loyalty and create a more rewarding customer experience? Will I gain a deeper insight into customer transactions and interactions across the organization? Can we use existing resources and infrastructure?
The answer is Yes, Big Data presents the opportunity to better analyse everything from customer shopping behaviors at each stage of purchase journey, to inventory planning to delivering relevant and personalized offers. By analyzing how shoppers found your products, how long they spend browsing product pages and which products they added to their basket provides greater insight into what decision process they went through before purchase and helps retailers quickly identify cross sell and up-sell opportunities in real-time. In addition, combining transaction data and what your customers are saying on social channels (ratings, likes, dislikes, what’s trending etc.) can feed into the decisions you make on placing the right product, in the right store at the right price and ultimately deliver very personalize and contextual offers to the customers.
Data Driven Decisions Getting value from Big Data
Turning Big Data into actionable insight is not just about dumping data in to a “Data Lake” and pointing an analytics tool at it and saying job done! Retailers need to take a number of steps to profit from Big Data and Analytics.
- Firstly, you need to gather data from all available sources in batch or real-time, from internal and external, and from an ever increasing number of devices (beacons, mobile devices). Once you have gathered the data, it needs to be connected, validated, cleansed and a governance process put in place before integrating with analytic tools and systems.
- Secondly, put clean and trusted data in the hands of data scientists who can distill the relevant from irrelevant and formulate commercial insights that the business can action and profit from it.
- Lastly, plan and organize for success. IT and business need to align behind the same agenda, regularly reviewing business priorities and adjusting as needed. Maximize existing scare IT resources by leveraging existing technologies, Cloud platforms and forming alliances with 3rd party vendors to fill skills gap. Secure quick wins for your Big Data initiatives; maybe start with integrating historical transaction data with real-time purchase data to make personalized offers at point of sale. Look outside your organization and to other industries like retail banking or telecommunications and learn from their successes and failures.
With the right approach, Big Data will deliver the return on investment for retailers.