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Security Steps to Take in the Holiday Season – and Beyond

Retail companies face a landscape filled with growing and increasingly complex threats. And the financial impact of these breaches is soaring.

There are obvious financial incentives for attacking retailers because they typically don’t spend as much on security as financial institutions or government organizations, so they’ve become easy targets in recent years. According to Gartner, retailers spend about four percent of their IT budgets on cybersecurity, while financial services and health organizations spend 5.5% and 5.6% respectively. This is critical as the number of shoppers on Black Friday and throughout the holiday season continues to grow through different omnichannel opportunities. We have to be concerned and diligent because:

  • Financial organizations spent as much as $2,500 per employee on cybersecurity in 2014, while retailers only spent about $400 per employee.
  • AppRiver Global Security Report shows that 10 of the top 20 data breaches in 2015 were retailers.
  • According to research conducted by the Ponemon Institute in partnership with IBM, the average cost for each lost or stolen record has also increased. According to the study, the cost per record increased by more than 9%, from $136 per record in 2013, to $145 per record in 2014; and those numbers are still higher in the U.S., where the average cost for each lost or stolen record is $201.

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3 Ways Santa’s Store Helpers are Making Shopping Easier this Holiday Season

Holiday shopping isn’t like it used to be. Retail sales associates – a.k.a Santa’s helpers – are taking on more than just ushering shoppers into fitting rooms and helping them check out. Today, their role more resembles that of a concierge.

Here are three ways the role of the sales associate is changing:

#1: The sales associate is now your product and inventory expert.

It’s shocking to think that today only 30% of employee time is spent on customer service. To allow sales associates to spend more time with customers and provide a better shopper experience, stores are asking associates to evolve from clerk to expert. In this new role, associates are providing more value to customers by saving them time and helping them make better decisions.

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Take the Chaos Out of Holiday Shopping and Increase Sales By 50%

‘Tis the season for bold and forward-thinking retailers to try new things! Excitement is building as many innovative retailers focus on areas to make the holiday shopping experience better for their customers.

Enhancing Retail Mobile Apps

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Some retailers are using mobile apps to help customers spend less time gathering deals and waiting in line, and more on finding the gifts their friends and family want:

  • Target makes it easy for parents to play Santa by enhancing their kids’ wish list app. This app includes new holiday games and a kid-friendly search function to add products in a “letter to Santa.” Parents then log into adult mode and respond to the letter, buy the presents directly, and share the list with relatives.
  • Kohl’s mobile app lets shoppers gather all their deals in one place by scanning gift cards, Kohl’s Cash, and Yes2You loyalty rewards into a mobile wallet. Customers also enjoy accelerated checkout in stores using Apple Pay.
  • Walmart’s mobile app lets customers build holiday wish lists by scanning items while shopping in stores, which can then be accessed by friends and family members using the app’s search feature. The app also directs consumers who order presents online to pickup locations in the store.

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#CiscoChat Recap: Where Shopping Experience Meets the New Digital Customer

In my first #CiscoChat I hosted together with Anabelle Pinto, we were joined by Gaurav Pant and Sahir Anand from EKN Research to share their perspective and dig deeper into additional findings from Cisco and IDC. We started by defining who the digital consumer is, what type of services they’re looking for and what shoppers want and expect, all while providing the security they need.

Here are a few highlights from the #CiscoChat:

Who is today’s digital shopper?

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It’s Time for Dinner: Improving the Quality of Our Food with the Internet of Everything

It’s almost the holiday season and it’s time for your customers to host that special dinner party, where they can make memories and share stories with loved ones. What if they could also share the story of where that holiday meal came from?

This is now possible using the power of the Internet of Everything (IoE). The ability to monitor and assure food quality, safety, and provenance is probably one of the fastest-emerging applications of IoE – and the fastest-growing differentiator for grocers. With IoE, even the minute details of products can be tracked from source to shelf.  Providing access to data across the entire agricultural food chain is sometimes now referred to as the “Internet of Food.”

Your party host can share with guests where the wheat was raised to produce the pasta, describe exactly where and how the olive oil was pressed, serve a salad that was bought at guaranteed optimal ripeness, and enjoy a glass of wine from the region of France visited by the host on his last trip to Europe.

Today, your customers are closer than ever to getting this extreme level of detail:

The pasta brand Barilla is already making this a reality. They have placed QR codes on select boxes of pasta and sauces. This code connects customers to a website that tells the story of the farms where the wheat was grown, the co-ops and factories where it was processed, and how much water and carbon dioxide were involved in production. To learn more about how Barilla did it, please read the press release.

Sensors also give retailers the ability to identify and monitor the freshest, healthiest produce. This is done using sensors that monitor the temperature and humidity of your products. You can measure concentrations of gases and even use a pocket-sized spectrum analyzer like the SCiO to determine chemical composition. Based on levels of ripeness, retailers can even develop dynamic pricing and promotional campaigns to react to changes in demand or ripening speed.

Through the Internet of Everything (IoE), retailers can break through information silos across supply chains and give customers transparency into the journey of their food, from field to fork. To see how other retailers are embracing digital transformation, see our customer stories.

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