Innovative Retail Technologies

NOV-DEC 2016

Innovative Retail Technologies (formerly Integrated Solutions For Retailers) is the premier source for innovative yet pragmatic technology solutions in the retail industry.

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Page 12 of 39

those priorities, see our report on the state of e-commerce on page 12 of this issue. Of course, for all this customer-facing — and largely mobile — technology to work, store associates will play a leading role in its execution. On the whole, merchants are relatively satisfied with the staff they have in place, especially when compared to benchmark results collected just a few years ago. Nearly 60 percent of this year's survey sample agreed with the statement "my company has maintained adequate staff levels." That figure has climbed steadily since 2014. Securing A Mobile Store Environment While mobile, digital consumers are driving innovation on the customer-facing side of retail, they're causing a bit of a conundrum on the store security side. Asked what LP and security investments they'll prioritize in 2017, merchants indicated that video surveillance — which was for the first time in the history of our survey dethroned as the top spending priority cited by LP/ AP professionals for 2016 — has reclaimed the top spot in the category. For the second year in a row, however, payment and Nov-Dec 2016 10 When we asked our sur vey takers about the worst decisions made in 2016 — both internally and among their peers and competitors — we received an incredibly varied response. Merchants shared their opinions on ever ything from curbside pickup woes to buyer's remorse about the form factor of the handheld devices they bought and deployed en masse. What rose above the din, however, was payments-related. Even when payments-related responses were isolated, however, the contradictor y opinions we fielded paint a picture of the segment-specific impor tance of strategic payments decisions. Surprisingly, most merchants cited lax approaches to payment security — not much-maligned EMV adoption, as some might have expected — as the leading bad decision of 2016. In fact, investment in obsolete payment technology was a common theme, though several smaller merchants complained that chip cards have increased their costs and caused confusion among consumers. Larger merchants cited PCI compliance, with several acknowledging it as a requirement but lamenting that it's ridiculously expensive to maintain, while one went so far as to say "we live at the whimsy of the credit card companies." Mobile payment woes were also oft-cited, with one midsize consumer electronics executive conveying that his company's customers "thought they were being hacked" after the company rolled out NFC (near field communication). The payments landscape is complex and dynamic, which translates to some merchants as painful and tumultuous. As payment processing investments build in 2017, we expect to see increased outreach and collaboration among payment providers and the merchants they ser ve. THE PAYMENT PREDICAMENT

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