College InfographicMore than 70 percent of parents and students are choosing mass merchants as their preferred shopping channel.

Retailers that promote back-to-college offers this year may win big with back-to-college shopping, according to Deloitte’s 2017 Back-to-College Survey.

Deloitte — a leading provider of audit, consulting, risk management, financial advisory and tax services — estimates families with college students will spend approximately $46 billion this summer, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of the anticipated $72.6 billion on both K-12 and college students.

Key findings of the study include students are controlling their parents’ purse strings, as 68 percent of parents anticipate that students will influence more than half of their spending – while only 57 percent of students plan to contribute more than half of the budget.

“Back-to-college shopping is prime time for retailers to create fans that can last a decade or more,” Rod Sides, vice chairman of Deloitte LLP and U.S. retail, wholesale and distribution practice leader, said in a release. “The students appear to have the most influence on what the family buys for back-to-college, so it makes sense for brands to create those loyalists today, and continue to see the payoff beyond the college years.”

The survey — which polled more than 1,000 parents with college-bound children and over 1,000 college-going children — also found that 81 percent of students plan to buy fro retailers who offer free shipping, while only 76 percent plan to buy more used textbooks, and 66 percent plan to rent more textbooks to stretch their funds.

Additionally, more than 70 percent of parents and students are choosing mass merchants as their preferred shopping channel. Although only two-thirds of parents and students are choosing campus bookstores and more than half are shopping with online-only retailers.

Despite this, in-store is still the preferred shopping channel for parents and students, however 35 percent of students are more likely to shop online compared to 25 percent of parents, according to the survey.

 “While people expect most of their purchases to happen in the store, about one-quarter haven’t decided whether they will shop online or in store,” Sides continues. “At the end of the season, even if the same amount of money funnels into college-related spending, retailers that adjust their timing, experiences and assortment may be the only ones who reap the benefits from it.”

RETAIL HACKERSWhen it comes to data breach exposures, retailers can prevent them with strategic security practices. By Bianca Herron

Although running a retail store can be very rewarding, one of the biggest challenges for retailers is knowing how to protect what they’ve built. Recently, companies in the retail sector – including Target, Wannacry and Chipotle - have been targeted by high-profile ransomware attacks.

With security threats existing at multiple points in the retail chain, from point-of-sale systems to online purchasing, retailers have been working to upgrade their security measures in the constant battle against criminal hackers. 

Additionally, the attacks have also resulted in a loss of customer confidence, as nearly 40 percent of consumers feel that retailers do not take data privacy seriously, according to the Tackling Data Breaches in Modern Retail interactive guide.

“Consumers put their trust in retailers every time they swipe their card, yet breaches in retail continue to happen throughout the ecosystem of payments time after time,” says Ermis Sfakiyanudis, CEO and president of Trivalent, a provider of next generation protection data. “These continuous breaches show consumers that retailers are not doing all they can to protect their data.”

Mike Viscuso, co-founder of Carbon Black, a next generation endpoint security company, notes the loss of consumer confidence may stem from the high-profile data breaches experienced at major retailers in recent years. “It’s also worth considering the depersonalized nature of the retail relationship, which is often limited to transactions,” he says. “With financial institutions and healthcare providers, there is often a personal relationship tied to the business, such as working for years with an advisor or doctor for example, and an inherent level of trust.  

“That trust may translate to a higher level of confidence that the organization always has the consumer’s best interest at heart - for example, keeping data protected,” he adds.    

Despite these high-profile attacks, Viscuso notes retailers should continue to make protecting customer data a “top priority.” “Many retail organizations are in highly competitive environments,” he says. “Giving consumers a reason to shop elsewhere, especially if that reason involves a potential violation of privacy, is a risk that most retailers are unwilling to incur. The good news is that after the high-profile retail breaches in recent years, many organizations are taking the proper steps to lock down their point-of-sale devices, endpoints and servers.”

Protecting Your Operations

The most prevalent cyber threat retail companies face is malware installed at the POS system. “Original old candy store type cash registers were unhackable,” Sfakiyanudis explains. “Today’s computers and smart devices, on the other hand, are vulnerable to malware, as they capture credit card numbers and customer information via transactions and loyalty reward programs.”

Both Viscuso and Sfakiyanudis agree that there are many measures retailers can take to protect themselves. 

“There are great resources available, such as the PCI council, which has standards to protect credit card information and puts out regular reports on the topic,” Sfakiyanudis says. “Retailers also need a perimeter defense like encryption. Also, using EMD chips ensures that the card itself is a valid card.”

These examples should only be “the first level of defense,” he adds, as hackers are always looking for ways to stay ahead. “That’s why we’re helping retailers future-proof their data so they stay ahead and prevent reputation loss,” he explains. “It’s a strenuous situation, but with the right tools and software, retailers can stay protected. There is some good that comes with all this pressure, though. Security is often an afterthought, but now budgets are being built to accommodate better strategies and technologies.

“The pressure is also bad because security teams struggle to keep up,” he adds. “It’s a universal problem, so they can be justified spending money to ensure data is protected. It’s all a balancing act.”

Customer First

A recent Carbon Black survey found that the majority of consumers place the responsibility on the individual businesses to keep their data safe, ranking them ahead of cyber security companies and software vendors, software providers – including Microsoft and Google - and government organizations, such as the FBI and NSA.

“The magnitude and scope of this ransomware attack [with Wannacry] was unprecedented,” Viscuso says. “Rather than pinpoint a single organization, this attack targeted hundreds of thousands of computers in 150 countries. It was truly a worldwide attack. News of a global cyberattack spreads quickly, and media organizations also did an excellent job educating consumers about ransomware.

“While it’s never a ‘good’ thing when 150 countries are simultaneously affected by a cyberattack, the increased awareness generated by this attack should serve to incite positive action when it comes to retail organizations, and others, establishing stronger security postures.”

“It’s important to understand the time for burying your head in the sand has passed,” Sfakiyanudis notes. “So retailers need to be proactive and talk to vendors and their security team to make sure they have the proper tools and training in place to stay ahead of data security threats. They also need to look for solutions that work, not just one that meet checklist requirements. Consumers trust retailers to do everything they can to keep their information safe.” 

Modern Market BlogWhen internet shopping has taken over the choice-and-convenience model, what’s left for brick-and-mortar retailers to attract shoppers? By Alexis Vera

 

The bazaar, the souk, the forum: Wherever it emerges and whatever it’s called, the market is the center of society. It’s the wellspring of civilization and culture. When the invention of agriculture brought the need for trade, towns grew around the central gathering places where people could exchange not only goods, but also ideas and inspiration. The market has always been where people connect.

The impulse to socialize at the market lives on — witness the late 20th century phenomenon of “hanging out at the mall,” or the 21st century rise of farmers markets and pop-up shops in the most densely urbanized settings. But as commerce has become more diversified and specialized, the social function of the market has largely retreated behind shelves of products promising unlimited choice and simple convenience.

Now, internet shopping has taken the choice-and-convenience model beyond physical limits. And social media allows people to share their likes with no need to be personally present in the store or even with one another. To succeed, brick-and-mortar retailers must embrace these new realities. They need to reach out online, yes. But they also need to renew the true spirit of the physical marketplace: Not just unlimited choice, but compelling, curated choices. Not just convenient social interactions, but deeply shared experiences.

Getting Consumers Back In Store

Remember that for thousands of years the most powerful social experiences have happened where people gather. Whether it’s a street fair or soccer game, a church or a coffee shop, people will always crave company. And what could provide a more engaging and social experience than shopping together? A show-stopping display, the big reveal as a friend emerges from the dressing room, an immersive installation — these occasions beg to be shared. The most compelling social media experiences begin with in-person social interactions.

Retailers don’t have to cede the social space to digital technology. In fact, they can be creatively applying technology while reclaiming the social role that, over the past half century, has largely been sacrificed to choice and convenience. Today, people can sort through endless selections, colors, sizes and price points online. What they can’t do there is experience true community, troll-free and unmediated by character limits or 5-inch screens.

Physical retail can return to the true source of its strength by providing what’s worked for millennia — the space and structure to foster compelling social experiences. Instead of competing against digital social technology, retailers can put it to work to make in-real-life connections even more compelling — transforming retail into the ultimate social platform.

Look at what’s possible in the realm of sportswear and equipment merchandising, for example. Sports, for many, are as much about socializing as competing and staying fit. But traditional sports marketing often overlooks that social element.

Case in point. In recent years, Nike has done an incredible job communicating prestige and breadth across a wide variety of brands that encourage buyers to express their individual style. But with its Brand Jordan division, Nike also wanted to reclaim its appeal to performance-oriented athletes — especially younger athletes who didn’t grow up under the Michael Jordan mystique that drove the brand’s earlier growth. As it turned out, the key to understanding the young competitive athlete was understanding the social component of competition.

Making Retail More Social

Why not eliminate the need to paw through every available size and color, instead providing space to experience the coolest product features within a meaningful context? That’s what IDL did in designing fixtures for The North Face’s Summit Series. With a few, select products on display, storytelling became more important than sheer selection. And social interactions came to the fore as consumers turned to sales associates to ask about specific features, colors and sizes.

Why not transform the sales floor into a community-gathering place? Brands like Lucy and Lululemon are moving products aside to host yoga nights, building a community of people who will feel right at home when they shop there for workout apparel.

Why not make vulnerability a strength — for example by providing a way for consumers to rate and review products in-store, just as they’re accustomed to doing online? Why not create ways for shoppers to share their stories while they shop, bringing a viral energy to tactile experiences?

It’s time to think deeper than “omnichannel” marketing — the literal translation of the physical brand into social, media and other avenues. It’s time to revive the power of moving moments at the market, creating space, vitality and surprise for authentic interaction. Because social connection is the true coin of commerce.

Alexis Vera is IDL Worldwide’s executive creative director.

CoreyPaigeCorey Paige Designs will debut on the Season 3 premier of hit Bravo series Odd Mom Out. 

The Brand Liaison has announced the launch of licensing for Corey Paige Designs. Paige’s custom designs feature popular themes, including bright and colorful imagery, icons, patterns and words.

Since Paige’s first Instagram post, her collegiate and sorority designs have become viral sensations. Now as a recent graduate of Tulane University, one of the pop art sensation’s popular leggings was recently featured on the Season 3 debut of the hit Bravo series Odd Mom Out.

Additionally, Paige is currently creating a library of designs co-branded for collegiate and professional sports teams and a line of destination themes for “name-drops” in the resort market. 

“Corey’s expressive style is perfectly suited for licensing,” The Brand Liaison President Steven Heller said in a release. “The fun and whimsical art translates to a variety of product form apparel, to pillows to stationery, gifts and wall art.”

AmazonAmazon’s third annual Prime Day will extend to 30 hours, allowing members to shop for thousands of deals in 13 countries.

Amazon’s third annual Prime Day will be Tuesday, July 11. For 30 hours, Prime members will be able to choose from thousands of deals around the world. Prime day has now expanded to 13 countries this year including China, Italy, India and Austria.

To participate in Prime Day, sign up or start a free Prime trial any time before or on July 11 by visiting amazon.com/primeday. Members will enjoy 30 hours of deal shopping starting Monday, July 10, and new deals as often as every five minutes provided by thousands of small businesses and entrepreneurs.

“Our members love Prime Day and we have been thrilled by the response over the last two years,” Amazon Prime Vice President Greg Greeley said in a release. “It is inspiring us to make it even better this year for Prime members. Every part of our business is working to deliver more deals for a record number of shoppers. This year’s Prime Day is too big for 24 hours – so we’re giving Prime members 30 hours to shop.”

New for Prime Day this Year:

30 Hours to Shop - Prime Day will start at 6pm PT/9pm ET on Monday, July 10, giving Prime members 30 hours to shop.

Explore Deals You’re Into - Find deals organized by more than 20 of the most-shopped-for themes. From pet lovers to gardeners and techies to artists – find your deals even faster.

Voice Shopping - There will be even more Alexa-exclusive deals for members with an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Amazon Tap, compatible Fire TV or Fire tablet.

Watch A Deal - The Amazon App allows early deal watching in every country. Preview, track and shop deals while at home or on-the-go with deal alerts on the Amazon App.

Amazon Global Store - Prime members in China and Mexico will be able to shop both local deals as well as select deals from other countries from the Amazon Global Store.

Amazon’s Big TV Deal - Prime Day will include amazing TV deals, with a variety of great brands including the all new Element 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV - Amazon Fire TV Edition. 

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