With today’s digitization across nearly every industry, consumers are expecting more and more when it comes to their shopping experience. They’re looking for personalized experiences, quick customer service, and a seamless transition between in-store and online. The upcoming year will push the envelope as retailers are looking to deliver on these expectations by making brick-and-mortar stores more digital and connected while offering online shoppers a simulated in-store experience. While these interconnected experiences might seem great at the outset, retailers are opening themselves up to new security risks, especially as we get further into 2019. As convenience technologies evolve, the industry should be aware of more risks to consumers and retailers.
Next-Gen Retail Posing Major Risks
The next generation of retailers in cashier-less environments is already starting to take hold. Consumers no longer have to wait in lines and their payments are automatically processed. Yet, while a cashier-less marketplace seems like the ideal option for people who want a convenient shopping experience, it comes with legitimate security concerns. Increased convenience is directly proportional to increased security risks.
As more and more consumers connect to complimentary in-store Wi-Fi, the possibility of hackers wreaking havoc on a retailer's network increases. The connected customer is also susceptible to an infinite amount of personal data risk as data now living with retailers includes tracking of a shopper’s every move. Retailers will need to ask themselves if an exceptional customer experience is worth the cost of a data breach or, more importantly, can the exceptional customer experience now include data safety?
Successful Customer Experience Requires Security
When it comes to retail, the customer experience used to be solely about convenience. Now with these increased risks, however, security is taking center stage where retailers need to ensure a seamless customer experience that includes zero interruptions from identity theft or credit card fraud. Proactively baking in security best practices (as opposed to using security reactively) will ensure that customers have a positive experience. This will also result in true benefits for retailers, which can in turn avoid the cost it takes to recover from a data breach.
In fact, according to our 2018 Data Threat Report, half of companies reported a data breach this past year. Retailers need to pay close attention to anyone and anything that might connect to their network for nefarious reasons. In 2019, retailers need to first and foremost prioritize protecting customer data and credit card/payment information. What’s more, they need to dig deeper by adopting additional security measures that protect this critical information from IoT devices. To truly protect consumer and company data at all costs, retailers need to employ important security measures, like encryption, at every touchpoint throughout the entire supply chain, point of purchase and final delivery destination.
Charles Goldberg is the senior director of product marketing and analyst relations at Thales eSecurity, a leader in advanced data security solutions and services.
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