Last week in New York, retail organizations from around the world came together for the latest National Retail Federation's Big Show Conference and EXPO. This year, over 30,000 attendees and 500 exhibiting companies came out to talk about the past, present and future of the retail industry. Unsurprisingly, there were several topics of discussion at this year's event that were on the minds of every merchant at the end of 2013.
Here is a round-up of the main hot topics that were discussed during on the EXPO floor and during the presentations.
At the top of the list was security. The massive Target breach that impacted nearly 110 million consumers was still fresh on the minds of all merchants, especially as news was still breaking about who was behind it.
"Breaches are unfortunate but we're not entirely surprised," Mallory Duncan, the general counsel of the NRF, told Reuters. "The technology that exists in cards out there is 20th-century technology and we've got 21st-century hackers."
With e-commerce and mobile devices becoming a more popular option for consumers, many businesses are rushing to have something available to meet this demand. By doing this, however, organizations are not able to fully test and evaluate the solution. This leads to vulnerabilities which hackers are able to take advantage of to get into a business's system and gain access to customer, company and payment data.
Big data and analytics
Many organizations were talking about the way they have been able to find and deploy solutions to gather and analyze all forms of data. With more processes going digital and the rise of social media, many businesses are creating piles of data quicker and more effectively than ever before.
Several companies displayed new services and ways that they have been able to incorporate these solutions into POS software solutions. This allows organization decision makers to gain a more complete picture of their business to make better decisions that meet their specific challenges more successfully.
There were few solutions that have come on more quickly than mobile devices. Not only do companies need to consider the fact that consumers are making more purchases through mobile platforms, smartphones and tablets can be connect with a cloud-based POS system to become a tool for sales associates on the floor.
"The true power of the mobile POS will come when it becomes an extension of the global retail supply chain, rather than being deployed as an extension of the store cash register," Verlin Youd, regional director, Americas at attune, said in the press release. "By leveraging the mobile POS to connect what happens on the store floor to developments downstream at the factory or farm level – where products are sourced and manufactured – retailers with physical storefronts will have an opportunity to differentiate their services in a highly competitive market."
It seems clear that the traditional landscape of retail is changing and organizations need to start getting on board or run the risk of falling behind the competitors that do. By partnering with a retail solution provider that understands the evolving marketplace, any organization can start taking steps toward implementing these new innovations