Location-Sensing Helps Retailers Pinpoint 'Power Hours' for Shopper Activity

Retailers are now able to track exactly where shoppers navigate within their stores using in-store activity caught on video. This data is also helping retailers identify what ShopperTrak calls "power hours."

New Opportunities In Open Data

Not all data that's valuable is internal and proprietary. New initiatives by governments including the United States and Mexico are opening the spigots of readily usable public data.

New sources of open data could help unlock $3 trillion to $5 trillion in economic value annually across several sectors including retail, on a global level, according to new research from the McKinsey Global Institute, the McKinsey Center for Government, and McKinsey's Business Technology Office.

Security Update: Once More Into the Breach

As retail security breaches continue to top the news cycle, Target (NYSE: TGT) gets a request from Congress, Neiman Marcus takes its place in the hot seat, NRF calls for stricter standards and FierceRetailIT talks to a security expert.

Get Ready For the Big IT Spend

Retailers are investing in IT like never before as priorities shift and systems integration becomes the key to omnichannel success.

Welcome to FierceRetailIT

I am pleased to announce that StorefrontBacktalk has officially been re-launched as FierceRetailIT. It has been a year since StorefrontBacktalk became a member of the FierceMarkets family. Over the course of the past 12 months, we have continued to deliver the breaking retail IT news stories, analysis, and opinion pieces you've come to expect from the StorefrontBacktalk brand.

Target Now Says 70 Million People Affected by Breach

It turns out that Target's data breach is even more massive than the company originally thought. 

Holiday Desktop Sales Soar; M-Commerce is the Future

While desktop computer purchases accounted for the majority of e-commerce purchases this holiday season, the growth of m-commerce during the season was undeniable.

In fact, annual m-commerce sales are expected to reach $707 billion by 2018, representing 30 percent of all e-commerce, according to a new report. The projected growth of the market is not surprising to those of us following m-commerce's developments in the past year alone. 

Hot New CES Technologies That Will Impact Retail

While many of the nouveau creations presented at the world's largest consumer electronics show seem unrealistic, some of them help shape how consumers use technology for years to come. In fact, some of this year's introductions will help facilitate m-commerce and e-commerce sales in the near future. 

Safeway, Giant Eagle Beam Up iBeacon To 150 Stores

The future of mobile is here, or at least available to grocery shoppers as Safeway and Giant Eagle roll out Apple's iBeacon, the location-sensing technology that connects to shoppers iOS devices and sends product suggestions and messages while inside the store.

Developed by InMarket, iBeacon mobile shopping is now available in more than 150 U.S. supermarkets in Seattle, San Francisco and Cleveland, with additional retailers and markets launching in the coming months.

The micro-location technology uses a low-energy Bluetooth signal to enable mobile app experiences with higher accuracy than GPS. Transmitters are placed throughout the store and shoppers who have downloaded the app are detected when they enter. Shoppers who opt-in can be reminded of items a spouse just placed on their shared list, earn loyalty rewards, or be directed to a custom special offer.

How Retailers Are Preventing Card Breaches

While retailers of all types must be diligent in preventing debit and credit card fraud, many small to medium-sized merchants will likely not face the same type of breach as Target experienced in the December heist of 40 million shoppers' credit and debit card data. 

How Target Card Fraud is Impacting Shoppers

Some of the millions of unlucky shoppers who happened to use their credit and debit cards during Target’s (NYSE: TGT) now infamous card heist are still feeling the repercussions of the massive problem.

From before Thanksgiving through December 15, shoppers in Target’s U.S. stores were subject to card hacking that compromised 40 million credit and debit card accounts. Target and investigators are still not saying how the massive, nationwide theft occurred.

Coming Soon: StorefrontBacktalk to Become FierceRetailIT

Dear Readers,

Happy New Year! As we kick off 2014, I am pleased to be making an exciting announcement about the future of StorefrontBacktalk.

It has been a year since StorefrontBacktalk became a member of the FierceMarkets family. Over the course of the past 12 months, we have continued to deliver the breaking retail IT news stories, analysis, and opinion pieces you’ve come to expect from the StorefrontBacktalk brand.

Should Amazon Take Over its Delivery?

After United Parcel Service’s delivery fiasco over Christmas, reporters are speculating that Amazon may fire the delivery service in the future.

A portion of online shoppers across the U.S. said their packages were not delivered by Christmas, even though they ordered their gifts by the dates that Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), (NYSE: WMT), and other retailers said they needed to order by to have them shipped in time. Some retailers promised Christmas delivery for shoppers who ordered as late as 11 p.m. on December 23.

Overstock, Other Retailers Accept Bitcoin

In the latest show of support for Bitcoin, (NASDAQ: OSTK) said in late December that it would start accepting bitcoins for payment in June. And some small brick-and-mortar retailers across the U.S. are already accepting the digital currency., the largest retailer to throw its weight behind Bitcoin, is reviewing several third-party firms that facilitate Bitcoin transactions, The New York Times reported.

In a commodity system fraught with fraud and ever-changing value, we are surprised to see major retailers jumping on board with bitcoins. Bitcoins can be purchased and exchanged for standard currency, such as dollars, Euros and yen, at bitcoin exchanges. In mid-November, the value of Bitcoins jumped to $900.98 for a single bitcoin and then the value fell just as quickly as it rose.

Card Signals Jammed in Latest Retail Theft Scheme

The FBI is warning retailers about a recent rash of credit card fraud that involves jamming retailer’s satellite signals with – you may want to sit down for this one – simple aluminum foil.

When card systems are down, thieves have been able to purchase cigarettes and high value electronics without paying for them. “If you’re a small business owner, you need to be aware if your credit card system is down and someone is purchasing something, you need to make sure that it’s really down and it’s not something that’s blocking your system,” FBI Supervisory Special Agent Vicki Anderson said on the podcast, “FBI This Week”.

Target Facing Public Relations Nightmare After Breach

As a longtime retail reporter and advocate, I feel sorry for Target (NYSE: TGT), the subject of perhaps the biggest card heist in U.S. history linked to one retailer.

As a consumer who used my debit card at Target during the doomed November 27 – December 15 time period, I certainly wish my card data had been better protected.

From a retailer’s point-of-view, however, Target is just as much a victim as its shoppers. Week after week, reports on the fact that credit and debit card thieves have become much more sophisticated in their skimming and electronic theft methods. They are simply outwitting retailers’ systems and their employees.

Last-Minute Shoppers Continue to Spend Online

As of December 9, 32 million Americans had not even started their Christmas shopping. That is an overwhelming number of people who are desperately looking for last-minute deals online, trying to avoid the crowded stores.

In fact, a recent National Retail Federation (NRF) survey, conducted by Prosper Insight & Analytics, found that 49.9 percent of shoppers plan to do the rest of their shopping online, the highest percentage in the survey’s 11-year history.

Already, holiday e-commerce spending has set records, topping $19.2 billion as of December 17, a 20.6 percent increase over the same period last year, according to comScore.

Counterfeit Card Scheme Costs Retailers $2 Million

It is gratifying when criminals seeking to rip off retailers and consumers are caught and brought to justice. That is exactly what happened last week (December 11), when the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York charged 23 individuals with participating in a large-scale counterfeit credit card scheme.

Officials say the criminals obtained more than 1,000 stolen credit and debit card numbers and created counterfeit credit and debit cards with the stolen account information. The group then utilized teams of “shoppers” to make more than $2 million of unauthorized purchases at retail stores located throughout the U.S.

Home Depot Transforms Systems for Same Day Delivery

Add Home Depot (NYSE: HD) to the growing list of major U.S retail chains offering same day delivery.

Starting next year, the national home improvement retailer plans to spend at least $300 million on supply chain improvements to increase online sales and offer same day delivery service.

Home Depot plans to open three new fulfillment centers in California, Atlanta and Ohio over the next two years, The Wall Street Journal reported. It will also transform its warehouse technology systems and add same-day delivery service for professional contractors as well as customers who are in the middle of projects and need supplies within hours.

How Will Amazon, PayPal Benefit from Mobile Acquisitions?

Just this week, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and PayPal (NASDAQ: EBAY) shored up their future mobile payments businesses by acquiring companies specializing in this area.

Amazon will soon be competing with PayPal, Square, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and others already in the mobile payments market with its acquisition of Italian mobile payments startup GoPago.