Can E-Commerce Save Flailing J.C. Penney?

On the brink of obscurity, J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) executives finally have a reason to hold their heads up. The struggling retailer produced positive growth of 24.3 percent from its e-commerce division during the third quarter, rising to $266 million. However, this news arrives at a time of great uncertainty within the company, as they are being removed from the S&P 500 Index in favor of the S&P MidCap 400. The S&P decision comes as no surprise, since J.C. Penney continues to turn in quarterly losses, resulting in plummeting stock prices.

How One Shopper Stopped Card Fraud at Walmart

I’m sure all retailers wish their cashiers were more vigilant in catching credit and debit card theft at the time it occurs. But who really expects shoppers to be aware of card fraud in progress and alert stores to what is going on? That is exactly what happened at a Walmart store in American Fork, Utah, last week. A woman waiting in line to check out happened to stand behind two men attempting card fraud.

Free Shipping, Ease of use to Boost Holiday E-Commerce Sales

Apparently, retailers’ extensive prep work – including shoring up their fulfillment and shipping processes – will pay off in online sales. Holiday e-commerce sales are expected to soar 15 percent this year to $78.7 billion, according to numbers released this week by Forrester Research. The Forrester projection is somewhat in line with other researchers’ estimates: EMarketer, also projects that U.S. holiday e-retail sales will increase 15.1% this year, while Deloitte LLP predicts a 12.5 percent to 13 percent increase in U.S. non-store sales, which primarily consists of online sales.

New Tech Stops Card Fraud Through Mobile Phones

We think that a new tech, which compares the physical location of a cardholder’s mobile phone against the location of the ATM or point-of-sale (POS) terminal where the card is being used, will significantly reduce credit and debit card fraud.

How Will Fraud Impact U.S. Bitcoin Regulation?

U.S. regulators this week tackled the tough issue of regulating virtual currencies such as Bitcoin. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs heard from Justice Department officials, who say they need help regulating digital currencies as well as Bitcoin proponents, who say the government should stay out.

Bitcoin’s global popularity has been soaring, and its value jumped to $900.98 for a single bitcoin this week. Bitcoin can be purchased and exchanged for standard currency, such as dollars, euros and yen, at bitcoin exchanges, but bitcoins have fluctuated wildly in value.

There are almost 12 million Bitcoins in circulation, giving the currency, a market value of nearly $8.5 billion.

Bitcoin advocates say that virtual currency could transform economies in developing countries where people have little access to banks and financial services. The software for creating a Bitcoin "wallet," allowing a user to send and receive bitcoins, is public and can be used on a mobile phone, USA Today reported.

ISIS Launch Boosts NFC Payments

When it comes to mobile payments by consumers, you have a tale of two worlds. At least that is where the mobile payments marketplace was in the past. On one hand, operators could utilize NFC (Near Field Communication), which boasts approximately 400 million NFC-enabled devices and hopes to grow to an estimated one billion by 2016. On the other hand, you have Bluetooth devices, which account for around three billion devices annually.

Now, the future has arrived and the two options may soon be one and the same. In an unprecedented move designed to secure a brighter future in the world of m-commerce, both of these mainstay entities have developed an alliance.

Address Changes: A Growing e-Commerce Fraud Tactic

Changes in customers’ shipping addresses is one of the key ways that thieves are now getting away with online credit card fraud, financial experts say.

Changing addresses in hacked credit card accounts provides a way for thieves to receive delivery of goods purchased with stolen payment card accounts, Julie Conroy, an analyst at financial services research and advisory firm Aite Group, told Internet Retailer.

Macy’s Shopkick Test Confirms Value of iBeaon

This week, Macy’s (NYSE:M) began a pilot program testing Apple’s (NASDQ: AAPL) iBeacon technology in certain stores, a step towards validating the long-time efforts by Apple to grow its Bluetooth location-sensing technology.

In its partnership with rewards app Shopkick, Macy’s has several Bluetooth transmitters in a few departments of its stores in New York and San Francisco. The test, with a few Shopkick employees to start out, will last for several weeks before being rolled out to a wider group.

In actuality, Shopkick adapted the technology Apple built into its latest mobile software. Shopkick’s shopBeacons enables shoppers with iPhones and some Android phones to have their Shopkick app “woken up” by a signal from Bluetooth transmitters when they enter Macy’s, even if their phones are in sleep mode, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Secret Service Investigating Rash of Card Fraud in Northwest, Supermarket Wholesaler May be to Blame

The Secret Service is investigating a rash of credit and debit card fraud reported by customers of more than a dozen banks and credit unions in the Northwest. Officials have not yet been able to determine the amount of losses, but hundreds of cards have been compromised.

“For the Spokane region, it’s a substantial fraud incident,” Kevin Miller, the agent in charge of the Secret Service’s office in Spokane, Wash., told the Spokesman-Review, calling it the largest outbreak of credit card fraud he’s seen in nine years in Spokane.

How Google Plans to Transform Mobile Payments

Do consumers want credit card information stored on a SIM card controlled by a wireless carrier, or are they comfortable with a new near-field communication (NFC) technology as an alternative? Google has positioned the technology necessary to make the latter option a reality.

With last week’s unveiling of the latest updates to the Android operating system, which is now powered by Google’s KitKat on Nexus 5 smartphone, the tech giant has drawn the line in the sand in a quest for dominance in the mobile payments marketplace.

Will E-Commerce Holiday Sales Suffer?

Thanks to consumers’ economic concerns and the government shutdown this fall, various pundits and researchers are predicting softer e-commerce sales during the 2013 holiday season. However, those predictions are offset by other, more positive outlooks and well, common sense.

The latest sour forecast comes from comScore, which found that U.S. consumers spent 13 percent more on e-commerce – representing $53.2 billion in total sales – for the third quarter of 2013.

How to Combat the Growing Retail Shrink Fiasco

All retailers know that combating shrink is one of their biggest challenges and one of the biggest financial sinkholes for their businesses. A new study reveals the severity of the problem globally, but also offers solutions for preventing theft.

Shrink – comprised of shoplifting, employee or supplier fraud, organized retail crime and administrative error – cost the retail industry more than $112 billion globally last year, according to the 2012-2013 Global Retail Theft Barometer, On average, theft represented 1.4 percent of retail sales globally. Since the Barometer is likely basing its numbers on reported crimes and retailer surveys, we think the global shrink problem is much worse.

Amazon’s Sunday Delivery Turns Holiday E-Commerce Upside Down

Amazon’s announcement of Sunday delivery this week effectively turned the traditional e-commerce world upside down. It truly is a game-changer, not only for online retailers but also for brick-and-mortar stores that are battling for their share of sales this holiday season.

Amazon and the United States Postal Service (USPS) said that New York and Los Angeles customers using Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping service can now receive packages on Sunday. Next, Amazon will roll out the service to other major cities including Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix, in 2014.

$45M Hack Holds Lessons to Prevent Prepaid Card Fraud

Hackers have developed sophisticated schemes to funnel money from banks and payment processors into their own pockets. The more processors know about their tactics, the more they can prevent these heists in the future.

Earlier this year, U.S. prosecutors unveiled a coordinated “Ocean’s Eleven”-type scheme in which hackers stole $45 million. They hacked into two processors of prepaid card accounts and compromised 17 accounts from two banks.

You May Have Noticed The StorefrontBacktalk Newsletter Went Out Early

Due to a technical error, this Thursday's StorefrontBacktalk newsletter went out much earlier than normal. We apologize for any inconvenience and are working hard to make sure the same mistake isn't made again. You can expect future issues of the newsletter to arrive at their normal time.

LoopPay Gets The Value of College M-Commerce

Campus Nation Network and mobile commerce platform provider LoopPay formed one of the most genius partnerships this week. Together, the two companies will provide mobile digital wallets to university campus communities across North America.

"We share a vision to have smartphones act as a complete student wallet, which will host transaction payment cards and student IDs, thus eliminating the need to carry traditional wallets," said Will Graylin, CEO of LoopPay in a Campus Nation statement.

How Important is Free Shipping this Holiday Season?

As retailers rush to get their online holiday offers out early, many are missing out on a major selling tool that drives web shoppers to buy: free shipping.

While nearly 35 percent of retailers polled by said they offer free shipping all year, the majority do not. On a positive note, of the retailers that do not offer free shipping year-round, 16.3 percent said they would begin offering it as a holiday promotion the last week in October.

MasterPass Gains Traction With J.Crew Deal

In a deal that will give MasterCard’s (NYSE: MA) MasterPass even more national exposure, J.Crew is teaming up with MasterCard’s digital wallet service to allow its online shoppers to checkout using MasterPass.

Already, Masterpass’s digital commerce platform is being used by Beyond the Rack, Currys,, Newegg and PC World. MasterCard also boasts that more than 20,000 retailers in the UK, US, Canada and Australia, utilize its digital wallet.

Square Inks Deal with Staples But Starbucks’ POS Use Falters

While Square signed a new merchandising deal with Staples (NASDAQ: SPLS), the payment processor may not be moving fast enough for Starbucks.

Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz said last week he is stepping down from Square’s board of directors. Schultz joined the board last year after Starbucks invested $25 million in the startup and said it would use Square to process its payments. While the coffee chain sells Square's portable card readers, it has not installed Square’s Square Stand hardware at point-of-sale.

Google, Apple Duke it Out in Mobile Wallet Loyalty Battle

Even though Google is making gains in mobile loyalty with Google Wallet, Apple Passbook is still the industry veteran and leader in the space, some analysts say.