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By Russ Gager

Although shopping centers and malls may be built out in the United States, there still are opportunities to renovate them and take them more upscale through the addition of new tenants and improved amenities, David Contis, president of Simon Property Group told the 235 attendees at the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) at the 2012 Research Connections conference at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago Oct 1.

Guest Blog by Ken Davidson

Almost every customer interaction in retail involves contact with confidential consumer information. From the McDonald’s drive-through window to financial transactions on Wall Street, keeping customer information private is a top priority. But protecting this information from misuse by hackers and criminals is not always easy. Last year, information leaks compromised more than 180 million records, according to research by Javelin Strategy and Research, Pleasanton, Calif. When companies are making the decision to outsource customer care to a contact center, they must be able to trust that the selected partner will do everything possible to protect their customers’ information.

Guest Blog By Michael Plummer

In today’s world, local businesses have more marketing tools at their fingertips than ever before. The explosion of online marketing concepts has made a big impact on the way consumers think about and react to campaigns. In fact, the emergence of social media gives consumers the power to influence and shape the brands they know. This has fundamentally changed the game because marketing is now as much, if not more, about controlling the message than shaping it.

Guest Blog by T. Markus Funk

In the morning hours of Aug. 22, law firms, boardrooms and compliance professionals around the globe were humming with anticipation (or perhaps more accurately, laboring under a chilly frisson of dread). The cause for this collective anxiety was the SEC’s much-anticipated – and much-delayed – announcement of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s final disclosure and reporting rules (the "rules") concerning “conflict minerals” (generally tin, gold, tantalum or tungsten or any other minerals or their derivatives determined by the Secretary of State to be financing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo or adjoining countries).

Guest Blog by Thomas Cohn

Last year, the California Supreme Court held that collecting a customer’s ZIP code during a credit card transaction violates the state’s Song-Beverly Credit Card Act (“Song-Beverly”). Thanks to this case (Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma Stores Inc.), California retailers have effectively been prohibited from requesting and recording customers’ ZIP codes during credit card transactions. Meanwhile, more than 100 consumer class-action lawsuits have been filed against California retailers. In Pineda, the plaintiff alleged that Williams-Sonoma requested her ZIP code as part of a store credit card purchase and recorded it for marketing purposes.

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