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Retailers failing to keep up with customer data requirements

Retailers failing to keep up with customer data requirements

Security of customer information still lacking in retail industry

Credit: Dreamstime

Many Australian retailers are failing to keep up with the security and regulatory requirements of customer data, according to a report.

The study, conducted by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Pronto Software, found that customer data isn't safe in the hands of retailers, with a growing spate of retailers experiencing breaches of sensitive customer information. Only a quarter of the 172 retailers surveyed recognised the urgent need to address vulnerable systems.

The survey shows one of the most valuable resources for retailers is data about their customers, which inform them of opportunities to invest and increase revenue but there is a significant gap (43 per cent) of those that indicate their intention to use reporting and analytics. 

Russell Zimmerman, director, Australian Retailers Association, said the results surrounding how few retailers have IT security front of mind is concerning, given the pressure on retailers to maintain a good IT security posture at an all-time high.

“The current retailing experience in Australia continues to harbour a number of points of friction," he said. "Our industry tends to be accustomed to measured, strategic planning but the pace of change in retail now demands rapid action.”

Meanwhile, half of the retailers surveyed said they have invested in a point-of-sale (POS) solution that processes sales offline while 62 per cent are embracing social media as a sales channel, and 71 per cent of retailers are yet to embrace fully integrated, end-to-end systems.

Running a retail business is becoming heavily reliant on continuous connectivity for all aspects of the operation, only half of respondents have POS solutions that process sales when offline. 

The survey also shows 85 per cent of retailers’ value having online sales channels but only 15 per cent of respondents (mainly startups) were actively pursuing a marketplace-only strategy, despite the local launch of Amazon. This means that many risk leaving their customers in the dark - unable to process online payments or use check outs - if network connectivity is lost. 

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Tags customer serviceposretail market

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