Nov 09 2015

The Importance of Security in Omnichannel Retailing

Data breaches put brand reputations on the line, which makes security a top priority for retailers gathering customer information.

Uniting an ever-growing number of channels, devices and players, omnichannel retailing opens the door to powerful new possibilities. It also exposes businesses to unwanted visitors and threats.

More than a quarter of companies surveyed by the Ponemon Institute in 2014 reported a significant digital security breach in the prior 12 months, at an average cost of $5.9 million. In addition, Ponemon found that customers were more likely to terminate their relationship with a company that had suffered a data breach.

The potential brand damage from such incidents raises the stakes even higher. To be successful, especially in the omnichannel age, retailers must build strong relationships with consumers. Retailers want shoppers to trust them, and that trust can go a long way in terms of collecting data about consumers and using it to increase sales. Through loyalty programs, businesses have a captive audience whom they can market to as well as poll about new products and services. Happy customers are also one of the best ways to spread the word about a favorite brand.

That’s all at risk when customers lose trust in companies. Retail IT leaders grasp the seriousness of the problem. Almost all (97 percent) ranked security as their top priority for 2015, according to a December 2014 survey by Forrester Research and the National Retail Federation. This doesn’t mean that they’re backing off from omnichannel initiatives, however. In fact, more than three-quarters of respondents identified it as their second priority for the year. The trick is balancing those priorities — protecting the business while innovating.

The challenges and the stakes associated with securing data are too high for many businesses to address alone. A trusted partner can perform a security risk assessment for retailers, test their networks and help them create a customized risk management plan.

To learn more about how stores can use omnichannel customer data, read the white paper “Creating the Omnichannel Retail Experience.”


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