The Retailer Winter Edition 2022




Climate Action Week special – hear from our pathway partners SUSTAINABILITY


AI is transforming your job, not terminating it

The never-ending story of Account Takeover

Essential learnings from a global pandemic







Helen Dickinson OBE Chief Executive British Retail Consortium

If 2020 was a year of destruction, then 2021 was a year of reconstruction and progress. 2022 will put this to the test. Retail is back in the driving seat, or at least that is one interpretation of this week’s Retail Sales figures. Sales in 2021 were up almost 10% on 2020. Non-food up over 15%, illustrating a major reversal of fortune for thousands of retailers, although off a lower base in 2020. In 2020, we warned Government that without additional support, thousands of businesses, tens of thousands of jobs, and many millions in tax contributions would be at risk. The government heard our call: from loan schemes to rent moratoriums, and furlough to business rates holidays, the industry was given the support needed to survive. Yet it was also through the gargantuan efforts of retail colleagues that the industry was able to adapt. Aplethora of safetymeasures, changing consumer habits, and the rapid expansion of digital consumers, all had to be integrated into systems, processes, and strategies. In 2019, online accounted for 31% of non-food retail sales; in 2021, it was 47%. Five years of digital growth was crammed into 18 intense months. It took countless hours of building and improving websites, taking orders, loading vans, delivering around the country. New practices were needed for everything – from customer service to vehicle maintenance. And all this change and investment took place under the shadow of a pandemic that had spread all around the world. While we should all take a moment to pat ourselves, and our colleagues on the back, there are many headwinds in 2022. We all had limited options on how to spend our money in 2021, and will soon find ourselves with more choice, and less to spend. Eating out, travel, live music, and sports events, are all set to boom this year, pandemic backdrop allowing. Meanwhile, rising inflation squeezes retailers from both ends, increasing the costs of labour and materials while reducing consumer demand. Consumers must contend with higher energy prices, higher National Insurance contributions, and increased costs of living. The full costs of Brexit remain to be seen, with physical checks on many goods being applied from July. Our industry has a louder voice than we had in 2019 and we have collaborated more than we ever have. Labour shortages, the future of GB-NI trade, and the exorbitant cost of shipping, are all challenges we must face as a united industry. We must persuade the Government, as we did during the height of the pandemic, to back UK retail, and support us on these key issues, and to get out of the way when they need to. But we must also act together on the longer-term challenges we face. Take climate change. The retail industry and its supply chains account for almost one third of emissions associated with UK consumption. Our potential to improve the world we live in is enormous. Workingwith our members, the BRC launched the ClimateAction Roadmap in 2020, aiming to make the industry – including its supply chains - Net Zero by 2040. Given the gravity of the situation, one wonders why every retailer is not involved. Diversity & inclusion is another issue close to my heart, as one of the all-too-few female CEOs in the industry, and one that is important to so many retail CEOs who think we can do better. That’s whywe launched the Diversity& Inclusion Charter, supported by seventy retailers, who have pledged to take measurable actions to improve inclusivity in their businesses. Retail is a great British industry – accounting for around 5% of the economy, and around 10% of its workforce. The challenges it faces are huge, but the power we can wield to tackle them together is even bigger. The industry did incredible things by working together during the pandemic. Imagine what we could do if we put our minds together to tackle the future’s great challenges – from sustainability to diversity. Let’s make 2022 a platform for the next phase of the industry reinvention.


Our industry has a louder voice than we had in 2019 and we have collaborated more than we ever have.”





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THE NEVER-ENDING STORY OF ATO Ryan Gosling // Callsign










Data trends to watch for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sector Bryony Long // The Collective by Lewis Silkin







THE WAR FOR TALENT IN RETAIL & HOSPITALITY Antonia Torr, Lydia Christie & Michayel Villani // Howard Kennedy




DIVERGENCE Adrian Simpson // BRC




TRICKY TRANSITIONS Michelle Headridge & David Young // Addleshaw Goddard







brought to you by




Anna Bancroft Partner (Enterprise Strategy & Cloud Transformation) PwC

Jason Sutherland Director (Enterprise Strategy & Cloud Transformation) PwC

Tarik Moussa Manager (Innovation & Sustainability) PwC

C IOs and the effective deployment of cloud technology will be central to unlocking rapid decarbonisation Climate change is the greatest challenge the world faces. The United Nations has called it a code red for humanity, and it’s rapidly emerged as a top priority for the C-suite. Last year’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow generated a barrage of commitments, as governments and the private sector looked to ramp up fidelity to achieving ‘net zero’ emissions. For all the talk, however, action is still lagging behind rhetoric - PwC analysis has found that society needs to decarbonise more than eight times faster than we have over the course of the 21st century to avoid dangerous levels of warming. Anew face is emerging as a central support to this mammoth task: the CIO, andwith them, the cloud transformation that will be critical to getting to net zero faster and cheaper. The UK retail industry is at the forefront of this net zero transition. As a central player connecting supply chains and customers, we have unparalleled potential to drive meaningful action on climate change. Our stakeholders care about this and are increasingly putting pressure on us to act, with more than 80% of customers and employees wanting businesses to act on sustainability issues.. In response, the industry has set a leading ambition to reach net zero by 2040 , a decade ahead of the government’s 2050 goal. Reaching that goal won’t be easy, with a lot of the difficulty centred on access to high quality and timely data - whether for emissions from complex supply chains, managing just-in-time logistics, or effectively engaging customers and suppliers. When viewed as a data challenge, it’s clear that the CIO should and must be driving solutions to the net zero transition. Through this lens, we see that digital cloud-based transformation and net zero transformation are increasingly intertwined, and both are critical to a company’s future success. Both are built on a foundation of faster innovation, powered by better, more transparent and richer data insights. Both will rely on applying technologies like the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence powered processes and predictive analytics to enable quicker, more informed decision making. With Chief Sustainability Officers playing a conducting role for net zero action, the success or failure of a company’s net zero plan will ultimately depend on the CIO and their tech agenda. Retailers need cloud-powered insights to reach net zero

Generating better insights on your biggest sources of emissions

It’s well known by now that switching to the cloud can have a direct impact on emissions, with a 2018 Microsoft study estimating that the cloud is up to 98 per cent more carbon efficient than on-premises solu tions. Though this is no doubt important to reducing an organisation’s IT emissions, the benefits of cloud computing go far beyond. The cloud makes it easier to acquire and manage data, streamline operations and gain integrated visibility across organisations and ecosystems. It also makes it easier to innovate faster than ever before, a useful trait given the urgency of the climate crisis. Take supply chain management, for example. In retail, supply chain emissions are on average 28 times as high as operational emissions. For years now, the best method for understanding these emissions that most large retailers could deploy was simple economic modelling, based on procurement spend and economic sectors. This approach is not without its merits, and often serves as a useful first step on a net zero journey, but it offers limited insight on which individual suppliers are generating the most emissions, and where a retailer should focus their engagement efforts. The next generation of supply chain transparency and traceability solu tions are addressing this gap. Retailers like Asda and Co-op are replacing legacy software with cloud-powered approaches that make it cost effective to collect data from thousands of suppliers. The streamlined approach means they can generate data insights on a more granular level than ever before, and this is one of the factors which has allowed Asda to commit to publishing a supply chain emissions reduction target for the first time ever. CIOs have the opportunity to lead on net zero Cloud-enabled digital transformation promises the potential to enable and accelerate the net zero transition, whilst cutting costs and generat ing new revenue opportunities. As a CIO, you have the opportunity to collaborate with others in your company’s leadership team to achieve that goal, and play a central role in driving the journey towards net zero. To support your organisation’s net zero journey, consider the following recommendations: • Engage with leaders driving sustainability in your organisation. Practitioners within your organisation are working on scaling often bespoke sustainability data approaches to the enterprise level, and need your expertise to avoid false starts, for example Chief Financial Officers will be most concerned with meeting upcoming climate disclosure requirements, investment require ments and payback periods - secure their support by pitching cloud transformation as aligned to these needs.

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• Invest in establishing your company’s digital and data backbone which will provide the launchpad capabilities for both under standing net zero and enabling proactive actions when exploiting cloud native capabilities and efficiencies for example IoT • Collaborate with other CIOs on net zero. Almost all organisations are working on net zero transformation, and stand to gain by establishing best practice for emission reduction together. Take the time to keep abreast of the rapidly changing market on cloud and net zero. • Identify ecosystem partners for net zero innovation. The majority of organisations do not yet know how they will reach their net zero goals, and will need new ideas and partnerships. The nature of cloud computing makes it easier, cheaper and faster to work with partners to test out new ideas for decarbonisation. Net Zero is a large, many headed beast, one which will be a continuous challenge for all businesses going forward. The onus is on CIO’s to quickly come together and lead the way, accelerating solutions to this problem using their cunning, wit and (cloud enabled) technology agendas.

Anna Bancroft

Jason Sutherland

Tarik Moussa




Georgie Altman Strategic Insight Lead Google

O ur changing relationship with the Since the emergence of Covid-19 we’ve been tracking key trends and themes using our Search and YouTube data - both fantastic barometers of consumer sentiment and behaviour. After two years of upheaval and change we’re now able to understand which trends were short term reactions and which of those are enduring. Over the course of the pandemic something fundamental happened - we went through a collective experience of upheaval and shock and this led to economic, personal, and social anxiety. To understand the human response to this we need to borrow from psychology. When people are anxious, or when they lack power, they typically respond in one of two ways: with fight or flight. We’re either driven to flee danger or feel compelled to stay and combat it. We can see these same sorts of responses playing out in digital behaviours over the past two years: 1) Fight: we looked for more control over different aspects of our lives. People did this in two ways, by seeking understanding of the world around them and by seeking order over their finances, careers, and personal lives. 2) Flight: we looked for escapism, to distance ourselves from uncer tainty. People did this by accessing more digital experiences and more entertainment than ever before. 1. Seeking understanding As the pandemic hit we saw huge increases in the volume of questions - primarily related to the virus and the new restrictions. As we became more familiar with our new contexts this flurry of questioning naturally died down. But, the urge to understand big complex topics and their impact on our lives is enduring. We’re seeing more and more questions around a number of areas including the economy, climate change, and social issues. In the chart belowwe can see the continued rise in the volume of ques tions starting with ‘what does’ that people are asking in Google Search. Though the volume toward the end of 2021 dips below that of 2020, it still remains higher than in previous years. internet and what it means for retailers

Taking a closer look at the specific types of questions people are asking, we can see they’re related to the big issues of the day. For example: • ‘What can I do about climate change’ up by 4,500% YoY • ‘If inflation rises, what happens to interest rates’ up by 3,700%YoY We can also see that searching for understanding is closely correlated to how confident people feel. We can see in the chart below that when anxiety occurs (when the red line goes down), the number of questions people ask about money and finance in Search, goes up.

2. Seeking order Responding to anxiety through fight is also about doing. Over the past two years we saw this manifest in different ways: getting on top of finances, exploring new careers, and accessing services that help us get things done. Work Searches for ‘writing a resignation letter’ rose significantly (+200%) in the last year as people sought to implement changes in their working lives. Finances In these times of acute uncertainty people have been galvanized to get on top of their finances and take their banking into their own hands. Through 2021we saw significant increases in searches for banking apps and contact numbers for banks. 1) Fight: we looked for more control over different aspects of our lives. People did this in two ways, by seeking understanding of the world around them and by seeking order over their finances, careers, and per sonal lives.” ‘‘

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before.” ‘‘

2) Flight: we looked for escapism, to dis tance ourselves from uncertainty. People did this by accessing more digital experi ences and more entertainment than ever

Shopping With stores shut through lockdowns, browsing exploded online. In 2020, 73% of retail query growth came from new or rarely used terms. That tells us that the growth is coming from new behaviours, new ways of searching, and more browsing online. This hunger for inspiration can be seen in the growing use of visual formats as part of consumers’ exploration - we can see this in the elevated use of Google Image searches and the Google Shopping Tab to find products.

Accessing services Similarly, people have been looking for local services that help them get things done. ‘Near me’ has in the last few months overtaken ‘best’ as a key modifier - a clear indication of the surge in interest in people trying to do something or take action.

Summary So, what are the questions retailers should be asking themselves in light of these insights? 1. Your customers are seeking understanding: > How is your brand helping customers navigate through complexity? > Does your brand have a clear position on the key issues your customers care about? 2. Your customers are seeking order: > Do your brand experiences and services give your customers control? > Does your brand have easy to use services? 3. Your customers are seeking escapism: > Does your brand offer engaging experiences? > Is your brand present in all the moments your customers are looking for inspiration with the right content and messaging?

3. Seeking escapism Finally, we sought flight through escapism. Whether we wanted to be immersed in shopping or transported through entertainment, the desire for escape was universal and we found that digital was able to satisfy us in a number of ways. Entertainment The demand for online entertainment was, and still remains, in high growth. Nowhere is this better seen than on YouTube where people looked to escape by exploring ideas, watching entertaining content, and learning how to do new things. We can see below the growth in searches for ideas on YouTube in 2020 and still in 2021 versus 2019. While there was a decline in these searches at the end of last year, overall the volume was significantly higher than in 2019.

Georgie Altman


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Dr Alan McCabe Chief Technical Officer Roubler

T he 1984 sci-fi thriller The Terminator presented us with an epic bat tle between humankind and smart machines. For those who aren’t familiar with the pop-culture reference, the film focuses on self-aware military AI that sets out to exterminate all of humanity using robots, cyborgs and drones. Fast forward to 2021, and an impending robopocalypse is a hot topic amongst retail leaders and employees alike – although Schwarzenegger-esque robots aren’t so much a part of the conversation. Instead, the chatter is about a different kind of controversy – one that calls into question traditional models of work and employment. The latest research suggests that by 2025, 85 million jobs may be displaced by machines and AI. Does that mean we should all be in a state of fear over losing our jobs? Absolutely not. The same report also mentions that within the same time frames, AI is more than likely to create 97 million new jobs. Despite the fact that AI sounds like some thing out of a sci-fi movie, for many retailers it is already a reality, working hand-in-circuit board with humans to help increase workforce productivity and efficiency. Nonetheless, many employees still feel threatened in the face of the inevitableAI infiltration – a notion that has gained traction over recent years. Ultimately, AI won’t replace people, but it will transform thewaywework andmake us rethink what’s possible. As a result, humanswill become increasinglymore able to focus on meaningful work, employee engagement will increase, and adopting technology as it emerges will be a defining factor in business success.

Being human The idea of AI replacing humans in the workplace assumes that the two are easily interchangeable – which is simply not true. Humans bring intrinsic value that cannot be replicated bymachinery and coding. Successful businesses are powered by human judgement based on values, culture, theory of mind, and life experience. AI is fast, rational and accu rate but lacks human intuition, empathy and emotional intellect. For example, it takes a human touch to know how to offer empathy if a customer is having a bad day, or how to demonstrate genuine interest when asking a customer what their plans are for the weekend. Humans are, unsur prisingly, better at the human touch – and AI gives us the ability to go out and use these superpowers to their full potential. Much like the rise of computers at work, AI complements people by creating newways of doing things efficiently. Many businesses are using to AI to focus on the betterment of their overall workforce, establishing the systems and processes that will allow employees to thrive. Roubler’s workforce management software pro vides an all-in-one solution, with one source of truth for all employee data from recruit ment through to rostering, payroll and beyond. Roubler removes the need for HR and payroll to spend endless hours entering and reconciling data, giving them time to focus on the complex problem solving and relationship building their jobs require. In the future, AI-powered demand forecast ing will automatically create rosters based on profitability, labour efficiency and workload. Employee mental health analytics provide man agers with aggregated trends across locations, enabling them to take action before situations escalate. Automating workforce management

Working in harmony Forward-thinking businesses leaders world wide are already using AI and automation to increase employee engagement and create job satisfaction by enabling more meaning ful work. Machines don’t require motivating, and can process data with ease, opening up a breadth of opportunities for humanswhowould otherwise be preoccupied with repetitive and error-prone tasks. There are many examples of AI enriching the experience for employees. Drones and robots are being developed to scope out safety con ditions for miners, park rangers are using AI to track and prevent poaching, andAI systems are helping storeworkers to stop shoplifters in their tracks. This harmonious balance between man and machine boosts engagement by creating a sense of purpose in people who might oth erwise be toiling away without a clear sense of purpose. Talking tech Today’s leaders should be focussing on how best to harness the latest AI and automation technologies now, to maintain a competitive edge in the future. Digital transformation in the workplace is inevitable, and the pace at which businesses can adopt the latest tools will be a key indicator of whether businesses will thrive and survive. When rolling out new tech, taking a robust project management approachwill ensure the process goes smoothly. This includes having the right conversations with employees to alleviate any concerns, and ensuring teams are prepared to work in harmony with their new automated assistants. Now is the time to focus on improving workforce management today, in preparation for the age of AI that will be here tomorrow.

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This harmonious bal ance between man and machine boosts engage ment by creating a sense of purpose in people who might otherwise be toiling away without a clear sense of purpose.”

One seamless system. Workforce-wide impact. Roubler is leading workforce management technology innovation, providing data clarity, driving productivity, ensuring compliance and creating efficiencies for retailers worldwide including Estee Lauder, WHSmith, MAC and Lush. Click here to discover more. Dr Alan McCabe Chief Technical Officer, Roubler Dr Alan McCabe is the Chief Technical Officer at Roubler, where he oversees the all tech nology improvements, feature production and architectural enhancements. Alan has a PhD in artificial intelligence and deep learning, and is a multi-published author and former Queensland Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Alan has led the establishment and growth of multiple international tech companies and produced award-winning software.

Dr Alan McCabe

their full potential.” ‘‘

Humans are, unsurprisingly, better at the human touch – and AI gives us the ability to go out and use these superpowers to


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Jane Liston Retail Strategy Lead CDW UK

W e have seen an explosion in all things digital over the last 2 years in retail. Expectations are changing rapidly; retailers need to keep up. But one change that is expected to be permanent is the increase in data processed at the edge. Edge computing is all about shifting power and responsibility away from data centres out to where it’s needed quickly and reliably: nearer the customer and in store. Its often defined as how devices and processing power is “in close proximity to the last mile network”. In other words it’s putting the analytical ‘heavy lifting’ much closer to the source of the action, where IT and the physical world collide. The intelligent edge is avoiding the limitations imposed by offsite pro cessing, whether in data centres or cloud. Analytics capabilities that were restricted to on-premise data centres or any mixture of public or private clouds can now be relied upon where and when it matters most: much closer to the user. We look at the “three Cs of the intelligent edge”: Connect: Devices, people, or things connect via networks, generating exchanges which create new data. Compute: This data is processed and new information and insight gleaned. Control: These insights are used to drive actions, either associated with the devices at the edge or within the organisations (or people) responsible for them. Companies and geographies are using edge computing to create smarter buildings, engaging workspaces, consumer personalisation and compel ling consumer experiences. There is a widespread feeling supported by a common message at NRF, that retailers could and should be doing better to embrace opportunities aligned to the edge, and is notably behind other sectors such as FSI and healthcare. The retail sector – no stranger to disruption – is about to feel this acceleration.

The advantages of the intelligent edge There are many benefits, but here are five broad advantages of edge computing as we see it: 1. Minimize latency. The more important a business function, the more critical it is that the compute element takes place at the edge, as any latency represents a level of risk 2. Reduce bandwidth. Transferring big data back and forth in the cloud can use up colossal volumes of bandwidth and result in an associated cost upswing. Edge computing lowers bandwidth and expense, and increases efficiency. 3. Improve security. Having to transfer more data across greater ‘distances’ inevitably introduces more vulnerabilities. Processing data at the edge (i.e. without having to transfer it) improves secu rity, and helps maintain compliance when laws are looking more closely at the remote transfer of data. 4. Improve reliability. Moving data around the whole time inev itable introduces potential for corruption. Edge computing improves Quality of Service; and as it moves the focus away from the core computing environment, it limits the potential of a single point of failure. 5. Generate new insight. Greater volume and diversity of data sets necessarily improves statistical accuracy; using more data from the edge means better predictions and prognoses. Benefits to Retail So what might all of this mean, for retail, in reality? At a high level it will help retailers operate more efficiently and effectively, reduce costs, generate more revenue, and feel more confident about security. Here are four real-world retail examples: Customer Experience Instore Connecting everything up holistically will revolutionise what we have come to expect from the store. Edge computing will accelerate the uptake of smart shelves and smart tags which can dynamically adjust pricing depending on input factors. The storewill become fertile ground for data and insight harvesting enabling retailers to get quicker and more granular understanding of their customers and thereby optimise store layout and promotions accordingly.

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Backroom and supply chain Edge computing makes ‘real-time’ inventory management a reality and can support innovations in automation – for example, automatic reordering without the need for manual intervention or validation. The edge has the capability to put greater confidence into the supply chain. New revenue streams The Internet of Things represents a brave new world for consumer engagement and employee empowerment instore, which is expected to drive innovation and thereby new revenue streams. More reliable synchronization between channels and platforms should also promote better customer loyalty and new thinking. Supply chain and the last mile In her NRF presentation ‘Tech innovation: What consumers want and where retailers should invest’, Michelle Evans, Senior Head of Digital Consumer at Euromonitor International identified that 40% of retailers see the role of IoT as increasingly important in delivery initiatives. The eCommerce acceleration over the pandemic has meant a huge increase in deliveries and pressure on logistics. Michelle’s research indicates that half of consumers would welcome innovation in delivery choices which might include automated and robotic delivery – more food for thought for loT technology.

A future on the edge The future of edge computing inevitably and inescapably will go hand in-glove with the maturity and success of the Internet of Things. And while there has been an immense amount of talk and investment in IoT, many argue that the real impact of the IoT in retail has yet to be felt. At NRF, CDW hosted a well-received session about future retail where we were joined by David Dobson of Intel as a guest speaker. David was very clear that the immediate opportunities around edge infrastructure and edgeAI are very exciting, and talked through an example instore video cameras with advanced detection capabilities. But he also cautioned around the inestimable importance of getting the security piece right. Companies that have implemented successful IoT projects have seen efficiency improvements, costs savings, and improved satisfaction scores for workforces and customers. IoT needs planning, and security, careful implementation and rigorous monitoring. The Intelligent Edge is an exciting place, which places analytics and pro cessing closer to IoT devices and the people that use them. It’s rapidly becoming the newbattleground for customer satisfaction, which means the retail sector is taking note. For more about how CDW can help you take innovation forward in 2022, please see

Jane Liston

See how here.” ‘‘

Our passion for retail, market and brand is why we’ve helped our customers succeed.


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Sarah Friswell CEO Red Ant

M aintaining omnichannel strategy and leveraging customer datawill ensure success

intelligence.” ‘‘

Defining omnichannel Omnichannel is about connecting all channels, and making the customer central to this can be a daunting task. According to a report by Experian, a staggering 92% of companies don’t have a single view of the customer, having many touchpoints with fragmented and siloed data. Retailers must consider the whole busi ness rather than marketing, sales, logistics and finance independently, but it’s hard to know where to start tomeet customers’ expectations. A single customer view is obtained using cloud-based commercial services and connect ing ‘layers’, such as API orchestrators, open up even the most locked-down legacy sys tems. Payment systems and customer data shouldwork together, with marketing and sales clearly aligned, utilising knowledge obtained from customer data. The right platform will enable this, and Red Ant’s cloud-based digital in-store platform, RetailOS, enables retailers to empower their employees to deliver the optimal experience. From clienteling and endless aisle to pick from store, BOPAK and personal shopping, cus tomers can shop how, when and where they want. The platform integrates microservices, IoT, machine learning and conversational commerce to deliver innovation and a truly connected store experience. Retailers are often overwhelmed with data and concerned about integrating their mix of legacy systems, third party systems, and new systems. But it’s possible to adopt innovative solutions that work with existing technology to provide a frictionless shopping experience for customers. It’s all about taming your data and making it work to provide next-level intel ligence, including personalised customer service, sales and promotional information, analysis of store associate performance and real-time stock and delivery updates. Taming data can keep up with customer demands

It’s all about taming your data and making it work to provide next-level

If the last 18 months have taught retailers any thing, it’s that they must commit to using tech to tackle modern retail challenges. Keeping up with customer demands for flexible, seamless shopping on their own terms isn’t easy. But what enables a truly successful transition to tech-led retail? It’s easy to be tempted by the newest shiny solution that promises everything, yet often doesn’t deliver the deep data integration needed to build a truly omnichannel business. To deliver flexible seamless shopping experi ences, three elements must line up to adopt new tech – strategy, systems and customer data. The first objective must be a defined digital experience strategy and vision, backed by the C-suite. Understanding customers’ needs and aspirations is vital. The business should then look within to its skills or partner with a tech nology expert to deliver this expertise. Most importantly, avoid the perils of overlooking data integration and capture the elusive single customer view.

Connecting with the customer

Generating the ultimate retailer-customer connection requires a deep understanding of your customers. Stats that can influence the bottom line are measurable numbers based on real customer behaviour throughout the retailer’s channels – recent purchases, shopping preferences – online, in-store, via mobile, and where – in store, in front of the TV. Other key stats include average spend, coupons use, click and collect – the more information the better. With the seismic shift in lifestyle and shopping behaviour of the last few years, retailers now need the technology to engage with custom ers wherever they are. This means flexible tech and an anytime shopping experience, via an app, clienteling, or through virtual appointments. Customers expect a consist ent personalised conversation with the brand whenever andwherever they are, in-store or at home. Providing remarkable digital customer experiences that outperform competitors and generate revenue is vital. Once the customer is central to all business functions, it’s clear why some new retail technologies haven’t yet gained traction - for instance, conversations around the shopping ‘metaverse’ demonstrate that its benefits are yet unproven from the shopper’s perspec tive. Surface-level technologies like this can’t establish what customers really want, lacking in-depth customer data that builds relationships. The foundations of retail CX must be secure before any trickery is worth an investment. Beware the promises of new retail tech


To deliver flexible seamless shopping expe riences, three elements must line up to adopt new tech – strategy, systems and customer data.”

Embracing the ‘conscious consumer’ The surge in customers’ social and environ mental awareness has increased demand for product information on a broad agenda, including wellbeing, diversity, ethical manufac turing processes and sustainability. According to Accenture, 60% of shoppers are making more environmentally friendly, sustainable, or ethical purchases, with nine out of 10 shoppers committed to this long-term. Red Ant’s Home and Furniture Survey reports, ‘30% of custom ers would choose their next sofa based on a retailer’s sustainability credentials’. Customers want paritywith brands, expecting them to live the same values. This is perfectly possible, but only with readily available data. The future of retail is clienteling, to offer a trusted shopping companion with trusted information. The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the adoption of technologies that deliver a personalised experience no matter where customers choose to shop. Smart retailers recognised the value in using custom er-focused experiences to retain their business when theywere unable to visit physical stores, which paid off in terms of loyalty once stores could reopen. Clienteling will engage customers

Retailers delivering clienteling both in-store and onlinewill allow customers to seamlessly shop and check out anywhere. Offering integrated clienteling augmentedwith virtual consultations allows store associates to cater to customers’ specific desires and needs and share the ethos of the company with them. Elevating the store associate role and giving them the authority and confidence to speak as ambassadors builds affinity with customers. Brands putting the whole business behind customer experience and utilising their customer data to drive stra tegic business outcomes will be the winners in a challenging and ever-changing landscape. After beginning her career in account manage ment, Sarah followed the client relationship ladder all the way to the emerging digital land scape in Dubai, where she ledmajor projects for leading global brands including IBM andVolvo. On her return to the UK, Sarah joined Red Ant where she applied her extensive experience of networked and independent tech-based businesses to drive the company forward in its pioneering work with high-profile brands such as Charlotte Tilbury, Furniture Village SARAH FRISWELL, CEO AT RED ANT

and Chalhoub Group. As Red Ant’s CEO, she is responsible for driving and guiding the busi ness, from ensuring the company is run in a sustainable and ethical way to heading up talent selection and overseeing project progress and delivery to clients. She is particularly passionate about diversity, equality and encouraging the progression of women in what can be a tough industry, and has been instrumental in ensuring positive measures are part of RedAnt’s policies.

Sarah Friswell


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Ryan Gosling Commercial Director Callsign

A ccount Takeover Fraud is still a fact of life – Ryan Gosling thinks it’s the right time we turned it into fiction. New technologies bring new problems. That’s something that we all know and accept as the price of progress. That acceptance is based on the understanding that somewhere along the line, those problems will be fixed. So it’s somewhat frustrating that one of the oldest and problems ever introduced by technol ogy still persists to this day: Account Takeover Fraud, orATO. And given that it’s costing industry an estimated $26 billion a year, it’s something that desperately needs fixing. Why is ATO still an issue? One reason is the aforementioned march of progress. As soon as new technologies emerge, bad actors are quick to evolve their own tools and techniques to exploit both them and their users. It’s a kind of digital arms race, and one that we are currently losing. Another is that for cyber criminals, it can often be easy. It’s far from uncommon for accounts to be securedwith little more than a username and a password. The ‘little more’ is very often a possession factor, such as an SMS OTP. That’s the equivalent of an open door. Passwords can be bypassed by credential stuffing attacks, or just bought outright. SMSwas not designed with security in mind; and as a result, it’s easily bypassed by techniques such as SIM swap and SS7 attacks. And that’s before we even get into the more advanced approaches that bad actors have at their disposal to gain access to accounts – a wide range of malware, bots, Remote Access Tools (RATs), scripted attacks, as well as social engineering and data scraping techniques to obtain personal details. An open stage for bad actors

Fraud with a high ROI ATO is a very cost-effective attack vector for fraudsters. With so many accounts relying on outdated authentication mechanisms, bad actors find themselves able to plunder high value accounts with minimal effort. And any type of account is potentially prof itable. A rapidly evolving trend is attacks on loyalty accounts. It may come as a surprise to learn that the value of unspent loyalty points is estimated to be in the region of hundreds of billions of dollars, but when you consider that those points may be used for discounts on big ticket items or even first class flights, it’s easy to see how it all adds up. A cost beyond just revenue It isn’t a simple case of high profits for bad actors translating into high costs for businesses and their customers. It’s a fraud vector that cuts far deeper. For certain, the revenue impact for businesses is massive – $26bn isn’t exactly small change. For the actual victims, every single instance of fraud is traumatic at the very least, and ruinous at worst. It’s one of the reasons that ATO is in the headlines on a daily basis – fraud victims can and will take to social media or talk to the press about their dissatisfaction. That can result in reputational damage that’s even more severe than any financial losses for an organization. Customer trust is a fragile thing, and ATO can shatter it. In fact, 45% of consumers stated that they lose trust in a business even if it’s just mentioned in a scam message. ATO is also firmly on the radar of the authorities and regulators, with massive fines far from unusual. In 2021 GDPR fines saw a 600% rise, to over €1.1bn in total. And there’s there are the downstream costs that outmoded authentication methods incur. As well as being expensive to operate, methods such as SMS OTP add undue friction to the user journey. And in a world where the password reset has become the new login, it’s not only incredibly risky to rely on just passwords and OTPs for account access, both are contributing factors to cart abandonment.

Closing the chapter on ATO Taken as a whole, the collateral effects of ATO read like a bad novel. It’s uncomfortable reading: no businesswants to be told that its security can be cracked, or that its revenue and reputation is at risk. But unless action is taken, that’s the way things are going to remain. The good news is that there are defences against ATO, steps that organisations can take to protect themselves and their customers. The clearest and most obvious is to address any shortfalls around authentication and account access. Introducing additional factors is a step in the right direction, but those factors need to pro vide security. Relying on SMS OTPs for 2FA isn’t the answer. As well as being easy to bypass it puts a business in the dangerous position of authenticating in a channel that bad actors routinely use to scam their victims. The real solution is to move away from just replicating analogue authentication journeys. Digital transactions in a digital world need digital authentication. That means adopting a layered intelligence approach such as Callsign, which considers factors ranging from Muscle Memory Technology – Callsign’s advanced behavioural biometrics –with device and threat information. This not only vastly improves account security, it represents an important paradigm shift from trying to detect fraud signals to looking to positively identify genuine users. By doing so, businesses can hugely reduce the obstacles to speedy payments, and also cut the high costs of additional step-ups and false positives. All of this is achievable. ATOmay be a problem today; but it’s within all of our grasps to see it relegated to the history section.

Ryan Gosling

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Sophie Lessar Partner DLA Piper

T he plans for regulating Buy-Now Pay-Later are becoming clearer. Retailers and lend ing business will need to plan for the new regulation, its business and customer impacts and how to comply. The UK Government has published its consultation on the Regulation of Buy-Now-Pay-Later (“BNPL”) products. The Consultation is a response to the growth in use of BNPL to purchase lower-value consumer goods. As a result, BNPL lenders will need to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) and comply with conduct rules about how products look and work. Rules around lending decisions and customer arrears are also under consideration. The Consultation says it is intended to strike a balance between ensuring consumers have appropriate protection when using BNPL and access to useful financial products. The prospect of further regulation for BNPLwill have consequences for merchants, BNPL finance providers, and the consumer. 1. Consumer Detriment Focus The Consultation was launched in response to the Woolard Review, which the FCA published on 02 February 2021. The Woolard Review focussed on concerns about the potential for greater risk to consumers when using BNPL agreements compared to other financial agreements, particularly in the context of it being currently unregulated in the UK. The Consultation recognises that to date, evidence of wide-scale of consumer detriment has not materialised. The Consultation attempts to draw the scope of regulation to those aspects of the BNPL model which the Government views as being most likely to harm consumers. As well as BNPL, other short-term interest-free credit (“SIC”) financial arrangements, currently fall under the same exemption from regulation as BNPL. SICs can be made by retailers or third party lenders and include interest-free instalment loans that are repayable in under a year. These are often used for white goods, electronics, furniture and dental procedures, as well as monthly payments for club memberships and season tickets. The Consultation states that regulatory controls should be imposed on BNPL agreements, but that it is difficult to define the scope of reg ulations given that SICs share some, but not all, of the potential risks for consumers as BNPL. There is a question about whether or to what extent some or all SICs should be regulated in the same way. 2. Similar interest-free products: Drawing regulatory lines

Some proposed options to scope the new regulation include: • restricting the extension of regulation to short term interest-free credit agreements where there is a third-party lender involved in the transaction, and keeping arrangements directly between a retailer and a consumer exempt from regulation; or • defining a BNPL agreement as one where there is a pre-exist ing, overarching relationship between the lender and consumer, under which the lender agrees to finance one or more transac tions on a fixed sum credit basis.

BNPL v Short-term Interest-free Credit : Proposed Distinction

Short-term Interest-free Credit Credit provider: (a) independent third-party lender; and (b) mer chants themselves extending credit to offer payment by instal ments e.g. white goods, season ticket. Payment of instalments: payment is usually split into 12 instalments over 12 months, reflecting the higher value of the goods/services purchased. Nature: third-party lenders tend to have bespoke, long-term business relationships with relatively few merchants. Each credit tends to be a discrete transaction. Used more frequently in-store rather than online. Regulation: the third-party lenders tend to be authorised by the FCA for other regulated activities.


Credit provider: independent third-party lender.

Payment of instalments: payment is split into several equal amounts taken at regular intervals and deferred payment may be avail able, reflecting the lower-value of the goods/services purchased. Nature: the consumer can use their account with the third-party pro vider to finance purchases from a wide range of other merchants. The consumer chooses to enter into an arrangement at the point of sale. Regulation: the third-party lend ers tend not to be authorised by the FCA.

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