Sales numbers in the retail sector were on the rise at the end of 2014, due largely to lower fuel prices, higher employment rates and greater consumer confidence in the economy. So how will 2015 proceed for retailers in the United States?
Here are the experts' best guesses for the new year:
- Embracing EMV technology: Stores will be upgrading their point of sale systems this year to ensure that they remain compliant with the new Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) regulations. The latest PCI standards require that stores adopt EMV chip-and-PIN payment card technology, which is much more secure than the magnetic swipe system that is widely used in the U.S.
- Internet shopping: The web will become an even more powerful force in retail over the next year, and companies that haven't established a strong internet presence will have to improve quickly in 2015.
- More data breaches: Last year we saw the effects of breaches at stores like Target, Home Depot, Michaels and Staples, creating a great deal of buzz in the news and identity theft problems for consumers whose payment information was compromised. This year we'll likely see more breaches, especially as the October deadline approaches for stores to become compliant with the most recent round of PCI regulations.
- Value retailers on the rise: Consumers are still looking for ways to save money in 2015, and so CEO Gerald Storch expects to see retailers like Costco and T.J. Maxx do well as a result. "Ever since the Great Recession, the consumer is heavily focused on value," he said to CNBC. "You have to really be delivering something at a price."
Make sure your business is operating with only the best and most secure credit card pos software for a wonderful and productive new year.