Retail CIOs must balance security with innovation

CIO Magazine – Retail CIOs need to weigh IT governance against business innovation – not to mention customer, employee and executive education – if they want to deliver a seamless and secure omnichannel shopping experience. When Home Depot and Target experienced large-scale security breaches on payment systems in 2014, it hit those top retailers hard: Criminals stole millions of consumers’ debit and credit card data; the companies lost hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and lost sales; and their brand reputations suffered.

“As organizations continue to push for omnichannel capabilities, the CIO must be cognizant of how increases in data security may impact the ability to provide this type of functionality,” said Perry Kramer, vice president and practice lead, Boston Retail Partners. “A true unified commerce architecture, if implemented correctly, can actually serve as an enabler of both enhanced information security and a seamless shopping experience. “It can minimize customer datastores, control the flow of payment data through a single gateway, and provide a single version of the truth as it relates to business rules.”

Read full article: Retail CIOs must balance security with innovation

Get On Board with Mobile Payments

Tech4BusinessNow – There are mobile point-of-sale systems, mobile payment tools, even hybrid payment solutions. Here are some ideas for finding the best system for your SMB.

Retailers that thrive in today’s economy often share common attributes, such as inviting storefronts and friendly customer service. But there’s a technology tool that can play a quiet but big role behind the scenes in an SMB’s success: their payment system.

While there’s no “one size fits all” approach to payment solutions, retailers today can choose between a more traditional fixed point-of-sale (POS) system, a mobile payment system, or a hybrid solution that incorporates both types of technology. Not only can many of these solutions facilitate speedy and intuitive purchase transactions, but they’re also capable of tracking inventory and returns, providing up-to-date product information and customer purchasing history, bolstering security, and more.

Retailers are increasingly drawn to mobile payment systems, consultants say. “Almost every retailer is evaluating mobile payments now for one function or another, and the software vendors are all going there as well,” says Perry Kramer, vice president and practice lead for independent consulting firm Boston Retail Partners (BRP).

Read full article: Get On Board with Mobile Payments outperforms competitors with 70pc of revenue on mobile

Mobile Commerce Daily – Daily deal boutique site has seen sales stemming from mobile and handheld devices account for 70 percent of total revenue, following the June 2014 rollout of its iOS application.

The site, which primarily caters to women, deal enthusiasts and online shoppers, has found the right sales ingredient in the iOS app and recently released Android app. believes mobile offers a substantial advantage over competitors in the daily deal space, as many other sites do not offer responsive Web design or shopping apps.

This article includes comments from Ken Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners.

Read full article: outperforms competitors with 70pc of revenue on mobile

VIDEO: Will Apple Pay be the Winner in Mobile Payments?

Mobile payment technology is on a tear. With many new mobile payment options, what technology will win this race? Will Apple Pay be the winner?

According to the 2015 BRP POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey, 62% of retailers plan to accept Apple Pay within 3 years.

Watch this video blog post to hear about the potential for Apple Pay to do for mobile payments like what iTunes did for digital music.

Visit our BRP Videos page to watch videos on other topics.

As always, I appreciate you thoughts on this topic. Please enter your thoughts and comments below.


Seeking Retailers’ Opinions – BRP E-Commerce Benchmark Survey

Nearly all retailers have an e-commerce presence and consumers expect it. Consumers typically visit a retailer’s Website for product research and comparison before they ultimately make their purchase either online, in the store or on their phone. E-Commerce and m-commerce continues to be a high growth opportunity for retailers and we are keen to learn how retailers are approaching e-commerce in their organization.

Boston Retail Partners (BRP) is pleased to announce that our E-Commerce Benchmark Survey is now available and we need your help!

This survey seeks to understand retailers’ current e-commerce and digital commerce priorities and initiatives as the retail industry continues its transformation into the digital world. The survey is now open to all qualified retailers, please take a few moments and share your thoughts on this important topic.

This brief survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete and covers the following e-commerce topics:Suvey Checkboxes with Computer Mouse 01

  • E-Commerce priorities and initiatives
  • E-commerce technology
  • Website strategies
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Unified commerce capabilities
  • Mobile
  • Payments

Please share your opinions:

Our E-Commerce Benchmark Survey is open now so please take a few minutes and give us your thoughts today:


As a bonus, all qualified retailers completing the survey receive the survey report before it is released to the public and are eligible for a 30-minute complimentary post-survey briefing with Boston Retail Partners!

The results of the survey will be compiled and analyzed and we will release the final report in late August.

We appreciate your input!


Retailers must show value of in-store identification efforts, says BRP analyst

Mobile Commerce Daily – NEW YORK – A Boston Retail Partners analyst said at Mobile Commerce Daily’s Mobile Research Summit: Data & Insights 2015 that retailers’ goal in five years to be able to identify shoppers via smartphones when they walk in a store points to the need to engage consumers with offers and games that deliver a real-time experience.

The session, “How Mobile Technology is Transforming the Customer Experience,” examined the retailing industry’s evolution on mobile, referencing a BRP study which found that by 2020, 59 percent of retailers plan to be able to identify customers when they walk in a store via their smartphones. The results highlight the need for retailers to showcase special offers or games that show consumers the value of opting in to a mobile program.

This article includes comments and a video interview from Ryan Grogman, vice president, Boston Retail Partners.

Read full article and watch video: Retailers must show value of in-store identification efforts, says BRP analyst

With social media buy buttons taking off, retailers should dive in now

Mobile Commerce Daily – Social media buy buttons could be the next frontier of mobile commerce as they quickly gain momentum on various platforms, with savvy retailers likely to extend into numerous outlets to gain the most benefit.

Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat are generating widespread discussion regarding commerce in social media, as they introduce buy buttons and purchasing options for consumers to shop advertisers’ merchandise. It is probable that retailers will lean towards the one or two platforms that best reflect their brand, but it cannot hurt to spread into all channels, as this is an up-and-coming field.

This article includes several quotes from Ken Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners.

Read full article: With social media buy buttons taking off, retailers should dive in now

EMV: Separating Myth from Reality

EMV Credit CardEMV (EuropayMasterCard, and Visa) continues to grab more headlines as the October 2015 deadline looms for U.S. retailers. The most consistent thing across these articles is how inconsistent some of the “facts” are as it relates to EMV.  Depending on the personal perspective of who is writing the article, the goal may be to calm a retailer’s concerns and let them know they are not alone in delaying their EMV compliance, or it may be to alarm a retailer around the increased amount of fraudster attention they’ll be getting should they delay even a day further.

It’s time to start separating some of the EMV myths from the realities.

MYTH #1 – EMV Compliance is a Mandate

REALITY  There is no mandate for EMV compliance 

Unlike standards from the Payment Card Industry (PCI) around data security, there will be no set financial penalties for non-compliance. Instead, what will be happening is a shift in liability for fraudulent transactions. As of October 1, 2015, the liability for a fraudulent transaction will shift to the least secure link in the payment transaction. If a customer comes to a retail store with a chip-enabled credit card and that particular retailer does not utilize EMV-compliant payment terminals and POS software for processing, then the credit card issuers are no longer going to be on the hook for the resulting chargebacks stemming from a fraudulent card being used. Rather, that liability will be shifted to the acquiring bank. And then the bank will then pass the liability back onto the merchant.

MYTH #2 – As of October 1, 2015 ALL fraudulent transactions will be the responsibility of the retailer

REALITY  Retailer will not be held responsible for certain types of fraudulent transactions

Fraudulent transactions are essentially retail transactions which involve the use of a stolen or counterfeit credit card.  Retailer will NOT take on the liability of fraudulent transactions that involve:

  • Lost or stolen credit cards
  • Non chip-enabled cards (MSR cards)
  • Merchant gift cards or private label cards

Determining a retailer’s actual fraud exposure can be an inexact science. Simply obtaining a chargeback report from your bank may not provide the whole story. In addition to the information or guidance from your bank, be sure to consider seasonality, along with any other upcoming shifts in your business projections.

MYTH #3  All customers will have chip-enabled cards by October 1, 2015

REALITY  The latest estimates from the Payment Security Task Force indicate that only 63% of credit cards will be chip-enabled by October 1, 2015 

Acceptance of non-chipped cards, and the associated liability, will continue to function as they do today.

MYTH #4  Achieving EMV compliance is a predicable expense

REALITY  The costs to migrate existing systems and transaction flows in order to support chip-enabled cards will vary greatly across merchants

There are a variety of factors which determine the actual cost and timing of achieving EMV compliance: the retailer’s current existence of payment terminals (and their make/model), the application architecture of the POS application, the current switch and processor configuration, and the decision to incorporate end-to-end encryption and tokenization into the overall payment security implementation plan. There is also a significant backlog in vendor resource availability that needs to be taken into account.

The bottom line is that there is a lot of information circulating about EMV and with so many technology vendors and retailers scrambling to make sense of it all as they implement their own payment security designs, there is bound to be a lot of confusion and myths. For example, even in this article it was noted that the liability shift deadline for US retailers is October 1, 2015. Technically, that is not true for all retailers, as automated fuel dispensers at fuel stations, and other unattended devices, have until 2017 to obtain their compliance!

Take the time to understand the information that you get from your technology partners. If you haven’t done it already, I highly recommend you schedule a meeting ASAP with your payment processor or bank to understand the how the adoption of EMV will impact your business. The decision to implement EMV, and the planned timing, will vary from retailer to retailer. The best approach is to take the time to develop a specific strategy that makes sense for your organization.

I am interested in hearing your thoughts and perspectives on EMV. Please share your comments below.


Luxury Retail Outlook 2015

LUXURY DAILY – This special 43-page Luxury Memo report from Luxury Daily reporters from provides a bird’s-eye view of how luxury is expected to evolve this year.  The retail outlook report covers key luxury product lines such as apparel and accessories, automotive, food and beverage, fragrance, home furnishings, jewelry, and much more. The section on “retail” on pages 34-37 include insights from Ken Morris, Principal, Boston Retail Partners.

Read full report: Luxury Outlook 2015

Survey finds 350 Percent More Retailers To Adopt NFC Payments By October 2015

Integrated Solutions for Retailers – A new survey from Boston Retail Partners has found that the number of retailers who have adopted customer-facing mobile services to enhance the shopping experience will increase 300 percent over the next two years.

The virtual explosion of mobile device usage in the United States has had an indelible impact on how retailers do business and how consumers shop.

Read full article: Survey finds 350 Percent More Retailers To Adopt NFC Payments By October 2015