According to RILA Survey: Protecting Customer Data is a Top Priority for Retailers

March 1, 2010

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According to RILA Survey: Protecting Customer Data is a Top Priority for Retailers

ARLINGTON, Va., March 1 -- According to a report released today by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) in partnership with Retail Systems Research (RSR), more than ever before retailers are viewing the issues of privacy and security as strategic imperatives within their organizations. Privacy not only fulfills brand-promise but also allows retailers to successfully move forward with cross-channel retailing.

The report, entitled Building Trust and Growing the Brand: The Role of Privacy and Security in Retail 2010, contains analysis of the business drivers, opportunities, and Information Technology enablers surrounding security and privacy initiatives, as well as recommendations for creating successful internal and customer-facing policies.

"For 47% of overall respondents, proactively addressing privacy and security issues enables them to move forward with an aggressive cross-channel agenda," said Steve Rowen, co-author of the report. "Customers are researching, shopping, and returning any way they please, in any channel, in any combination of channels - in ways that were not predicted even a few short years ago. Retailers know this, and for nearly half of them, there is a strong recognition that privacy and security are a prerequisite to keeping a competitive position in the game."

"Retailers place the highest value on their customer relationships and are committed to safeguarding the personally identifiable information of shoppers," said Casey Chroust, executive vice president for retail operations. "Retailers have gone to great lengths to incorporate privacy as a strategic component of their daily operations and remain vigilant in protecting customer data while providing the value customers want. When utilized properly, customer-specific data can be used to enhance the shopping experience for consumers."

When it comes to the attitudes toward customer concerns, 87% of winning retailers believe that recent publicized breaches have raised consumer awareness about payment data. Seventy-two percent (72%) of winning retailers shared that privacy is a concern for their customers and retail products and services require the protection of sensitive information.

According to the report:

"Retail Winners have, by their behavior, created a roadmap for others to follow: elevate the challenges to the policy level, define business-level accountability, define and communicate the company's commitment, develop repeatable "best practice-based" processes, and implement them."

The report concludes that there is no strategic advantage to addressing the data security and privacy imperative, there is only strategic disadvantage if these challenges are not addressed. Customer data has strategic importance to the company's ability to execute on its brand promise, and systems that create, retrieve, update, and delete that data must comply with corporate policies regarding privacy and data security. Retailers acknowledge that the ability to ensure consumer privacy and data security is vital to the brand promise and the inability to do so would impede successful execution of a cross-channel strategy.

RSR and the RILA conducted this survey from December 2009 - February 2010 and surveyed retail senior business management executives, vice presidents, directors/managers, staff and internal consultants. This survey was sponsored by Intel and Sterling Commerce.

Retail Systems Research ("RSR") is the only research company run by retailers for the retail industry. RSR provides insight into business and technology challenges facing the retail industry ecosystem, and thought leadership and advice on navigating these challenges for specific companies and the industry at large.

Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) is the trade association of the world's largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

Source: Retail Industry Leaders Association

CONTACT:  Liz Jennings of the Retail Industry Leaders Association,

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