Spending on cybersecurity may boost retail sales, report suggests

There’s more evidence that spending on cybersecurity may help retailers sell their products.

According to a Capgemini survey of 6,120 consumers in nine countries released Wednesday,  77 per cent of respondents ranked cybersecurity as the third most important factor when selecting a primary retailer.

Product availability and quality were the most cited factors, followed by cybersecurity. But cyber ranked ahead of pricing and brand reputation.

When asked to rate how their satisfaction level would change if a retailer implemented a listed set of cybersecurity and data privacy capabilities, across the countries respondents said their satisfaction with that firm would go up an average of 13 per cent.

Forty per cent of consumers said they would be willing to increase their online spend by at least 20 per cent more with retailers they trust. The report suggests that retailers who are able to adopt advanced cybersecurity measures could drive a 5.4% uplift in annual revenue.

Capgemini graphic

These results may not be applicable in Canada. Consumers were surveyed in the U.S., France, the U.K., Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands and India.

However, Capgemini concludes that spending on cybersecurity can be a business driver for retailers.

“The traditional perspective that cybersecurity and data protection is an overhead cost needs to change,” the report says. On the contrary, “it is an effective means to gain competitive advantage for retailers since it plays an important role in consumers’ minds when they choose their retailers. Cybersecurity and data protection also drives satisfaction and wins consumers’ trust. As a result, it can make a positive impact on top-line revenue for retailers.”

However, the other part of the survey, with 206 retail executives, the report authors suggest businesses aren’t quite getting the message. On four questions rating cybersecurity and data privacy measures, executives were more optimistic than consumers. For example, 52 per cent of consumers rated their primary retailers outstanding on the safety of in-store devices (e.g., point-of-sale,self-service kiosks), but 63 per cent of executives thought their safety on these devices was tops. Similarly, 42 per cent of consumers and 64 per cent of executives thought transparency of the usage of stored personal or financial data was outstanding.

Roughly speaking, only half of retailers questioned have implemented what Capgemini says are the top five cybersecurity and data privacy capabilities that are linked to customer satisfaction: encryption of stored data, a clear and transparent data privacy policy, use of advanced anti-malware tools for online shopping, control on what customer data the retailer can store, and for how long and advanced encryption on web sites and apps.

That and other data led report authors to conclude retailers in general are missing out on the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage by investing in cybersecurity.

“Today’s consumers are confident online shoppers and savvy about their consumer rights. They value cybersecurity highly and they want to shop with retailers they can trust,”  Geert van der Linden, cybersecurity business lead of Capgemini’s cybersecurity practice that sells services to business, said in a release. “It’s the right time for retailers to consider cybersecurity as a business priority at executive leadership level.”

The report includes a series of recommendations, based on the findings of the survey, to help retail leaders to address the increasing incidents of cyber attacks.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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