Making a List & Checking it Twice
Director Business Development
The holiday season is once again upon us! While everyone has their own holiday plans and traditions, one thing that many people are gearing up for is their holiday shopping. While you’re busy making a list of gifts you need to buy and checking it twice to make sure you haven’t forgotten anyone, think how much has changed in the holiday shopping experience, even just over the last five to ten years.
You used to have to go to the store and look around to find a present. You wouldn’t know what they had in stock or if they had it in your size or if they were sold out of what you were looking for. If you couldn’t find something you wanted, you had to go to the next store. Now, people shop from everywhere – stores, online, mobile applications, tablets, cellphones and more. You can buy online and ship it your house, or go pick it up in store. You can be alerted to when something is about to sell out, or when something that was sold out is restocked. It’s amazing!
But it’s also crazy – as clear as it is that the holiday shopping experience has changed and it is greatly impacting retailers, still less than one-quarter of retail executives have a plan for digital transformation. And that could be a costly mistake. For the 25% who are doing something about digital disruption, the rewards could be huge – we estimate that the retail digital value at stake globally over the next three years is over $500 billion, and those companies taking action now stand to be the biggest winners. If companies want to take advantage of this digital opportunity, they should be changing their approach to retail. But how? Here at Cisco, we’re helping retail companies build digital transformation roadmaps so that they can thrive in the new digital retail landscape.
One of the keys to this digital transformation roadmap is something that many people overlook: security. The latest and greatest technologies are exciting and companies can reap a lot of rewards from increasing networked connections, but it’s important to remember that new digital touchpoints with consumers also comes with cybersecurity risks.
For example, one of the biggest benefits of the new retail landscape is being able to use digital tools to improve the customer experience, whether it’s through one-click checkout or online rewards programs or automatic refills. While these tools make it easier for you to buy your nephew the next book in the series he’s been reading or send your grandma those chocolates she likes, they also generate a lot of valuable customer data that is also of great interest to cyber predators.
Not only is there more valuable data at risk, but cybersecurity threats have grown and changed as well, and traditional defenses are no longer adequate protection. It’s time for a new security model that addresses the full attack continuum—before, during, and after. You may love having many new and different ways to purchase your holiday presents, but that means hackers have many more attack vectors, from point-of-sale systems to websites to mobile devices to mobile applications. Retailers now need security everywhere, from endpoints to the cloud.
Even if you don’t think that your company is currently at risk, not planning for security means cutting off one of the main drivers of growth for any organization: innovation. You might come up with the next digital innovation in retail, but if you don’t have the proper security measures in place, how are you going to make it a reality? You don’t want to have to pass on great ideas that could transform your business because you don’t have the proper cybersecurity measures in place.
And while security can be an afterthought compared to all the bells and whistles of new technology, it’s the cornerstone of a successful digital transformation roadmap. In fact, $68 billion of the $506 billion in value at stake is based on cybersecurity alone. Security is crucial to ensure customers continue to trust retailers – it should be number one on their holiday lists this year. So while you’re checking your own shopping list, hopefully retailers are checking their security measures so that they’re prepared to reap the rewards of digital transformation this holiday season and beyond!
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