Tag: Black Friday

Small businesses get 46% Black Friday boost

Source: Gadget.co.za

In proprietary data released by South African payments provider, Yoco, small businesses experienced a 46% increase in card transaction volume on Black Friday, compared to the average volume processed on a Friday after payday.

In the build-up to Black Friday this year, a number of small business owners voiced sentiments that this day remains effective primarily for big retailers. But the question of how relevant seasonal and promotional periods like Black Friday are for small businesses found its answer in the numbers Yoco recorded across the month of November.

“In addition to the increase seen in overall volume on Black Friday, small businesses experienced significant surges of more than 40% in turnover across Saturday and Sunday on Black Friday weekend when compared to a standard end-of-month weekend,” says Katlego Maphai, co-founder and CEO of Yoco.

This suggests that when compared to the average volumes that small businesses would expect to see over a weekend, Black Friday weekend is a prolific opportunity to grow, especially for those in the retail industry. In fact, in-store transactions for retail businesses saw an unexpected 35% year-on-year (YOY) growth compared to 2019, against a total growth of 15% for all Yoco merchants who traded across both years.

This comes in stark contrast to data released by BankservAfrica which showed a 30% decline in card transactions compared to 2019.

This finding seems to suggest a shift in shopper behaviour as consumers elect to shop at small, independent businesses – both as a show of support as well as an attempt to avoid large crowds or minimise shopping time in malls.

Business owners also made efforts to promote responsible in-store shopping to reduce the potential for super spreader events. In order to “flatten the curve of Black Friday traffic”, brick-and-mortar store owners made the decision to spread promotions and specials across a number of days or weeks which resulted in higher than average daily turnover figures across the entire week preceding Black Friday.

“It has brought a sense of relief that some sectors have fully recovered from the national lockdown but we also caution against total complacency as sectors like Food and Drink, and Leisure and Entertainment remain fragile going into the festive season,” says Maphai.

Not all industries and locales experienced the same positive Black Friday as others. Where previously, the day might have included store hopping followed by sit-down lunches or takeaways, Black Friday 2020 appears to have been a more laser-focused event. Ancillary sectors like Food and Drink did not share in the success experienced by retail businesses as they remained largely flat when compared to 2019 numbers.

From a geographic standpoint, the Western Cape had the slowest Black Friday, as it continues to be impacted by a lack of tourism, both local and international.

By Jon Porter for The Verge

Amazon says it has just had its “biggest holiday season to date” as customers turned to the site to shop rather than venturing out to physical stores.

Although CNBC notes that the company did not share actual sales figures for either Black Friday or Cyber Monday, in a blog post the company revealed figures for independent sellers on its platform.

Amazon says these sellers saw over $4.8 billion in sales through the two shopping days worldwide, an increase of 60 percent over last year.

“Through Cyber Monday, 2020 has been the largest holiday shopping season so far in our company’s history thanks to customers around the world,” Amazon wrote.

While Amazon’s sales reached record highs, traffic at physical stores has reportedly plummeted. Preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions reported by CNBC said that in-store traffic fell by 52.1 percent this Black Friday compared with 2019, as customers stayed home to avoid the crowds. If current trends continue, 42 cents of every dollar spent this holiday season could go to Amazon, according to one analysis, up from 36 cents last year.

Amazon says 71,000 small- and medium-sized businesses worldwide surpassed $100,000 in sales so far this holiday season. But Amazon’s own brands also appear to have sold gangbusters.

The company says customers bought “more Ring, Blink, and eero devices on Amazon than during any previous holiday shopping weekend.” The company adds that other top-selling devices on Black Friday and Cyber Monday include its new Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick 4K.

Other top-sellers in the US over the holiday season include Barack Obama’s book, A Promised Land; a Revlon hair dryer and volumiser hot air brush; and a genetic DNA test ancestry kit from 23andMe.

Over the course of this year, Amazon has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of changing shopping habits due to the pandemic. In its last earnings release, the company reported that its net income nearly tripled in the quarter compared to the previous year, and that’s not including its Prime Day sale that had to be delayed this year.

This growth has fuelled a massive hiring spree at the company, The New York Times reports, with Amazon adding 427,300 employees to its global workforce over the course of ten months.

 

What South Africans bought this Black Friday

Black Friday 2020 sales volumes in South Africa were higher than last year, but the growth was far lower than expected.

The follow are highlights of the day:

  • 2020 was very different from previous years, as purchasing activity did not start at midnight
  • Sales volumes after midnight were down 33% while there was 63% less spending during this period. Volumes started to pick up at around 08:00
  • There were surges between 08:00 and 09:00, and 19:00 and 20:00. These were more impulse buying, with high volumes but far lower basket values
  • Black Friday as a whole saw an increase of 14% in sales volumes, much lower than the expected 35% growth
  • There was a 400% increase in sales when compared to a typical weekday
  • The most popular item was the air fryer, with disposable face masks coming in second
  • Dishwashers were among the most popular appliances
  • Takealot’s more traditional top sellers were Samsung and Hisense TVs, the PlayStation 4 console and 3 Game bundle, laptops, wearable tech such as the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Sports Watch and Apple AirPods Pro
  • In Massmart stores Makro and Game, top sellers were 25-litre cooler boxes, Smart HD TVs, Raleigh bicycles, rechargeable lanterns, fridge/freezer combos and kettles
  • Makro shoppers who opted for the Click and Collect option did so not to avoid a trip to the store, but to reserve highly desirable products. When they collected the product in store, they shopped more.
  • BankServ Africa’s preliminary tally of Black Friday transactions shows total in-store card purchases numbered 4 967 022 (30% down from 2019)
  • Online sales reached 868 903, which was 62% up on 2019’s figures
  • 95% of payments were done through credit and debit cards, dwarfing EFT

Karen Nadasen, PayU South Africa CEO, puts the lower-than-expected growth and low midnight sales down to a few factors:

  • The big Black Friday deals expected at midnight did not materialise
  • There were many retailers which only put their deals up in the morning
  • There was a big decline in airline ticket sales, which typically account for large Black Friday volumes

Image credit: Thapelo Morebudi/Sunday Times

Tips to survive Black Friday

By Chad Williams for IOL

With South African shoppers eagerly awaiting the release of arguably the best shopping deals on Black Friday, with all that has happened this year, the burning question is: how will retailers manage the influx of shoppers, bearing in mind that physical distancing needs to maintained?

Last year, I penned a few tips on how to survive Black Friday.

Since things are slightly different this year, I’ve decided to share these great tips with you again, with a few amendments here and there, of course.

Firstly, you must dress accordingly. Don’t wear flip-flops and thick clothes, or you won’t make it past the front door. Wear comfortable yet grippy shoes as well as loose clothes so that it’s easy to move around. It gets very hot in shops on days like this, and chances are the air conditioner will be broken.

Don’t forget your mask and sanitiser. People are going to shout and breathe heavily around you. Safety always comes first. And we’re still in the middle of a pandemic.

Make a list of the items you need or want, and take your flyers with you. It’s important to have a game plan. People tend to overspend when they don’t know where to go in the store and end up running up unnecessary aisles.

Take a shopping buddy with you. The other person is not only there to help you carry the unnecessary appliances you purchased, but also keep you in check when you go overboard.

Draw only the amount of money that you’re prepared to spend, and don’t forget to keep your taxi fare in your socks.

Do some exercises before Black Friday weekend. You’re gonna have to be focused both physically and mentally. Chances are you will be involved in a scrum for that blender.

Eat a good breakfast before you leave home. Eating food in the mall is not a priority on Black Friday. Have a good breakfast and take that energy supplement if you must.

Leave the kids at home. I know you love your bundles of joy, but they will drive you crazy while you hunt for those specials. Especially if they see Elsa or Peppa Pig.

Check online deals first. Most retailers will send a Black Friday teaser a few hours before the time.

Lastly, stay at home. Avoid the shops, and all the madness that goes with Black Friday and the hassle of going to a mall during a pandemic. I guarantee you will have more money left in January. And you will definitely have a good laugh at all the videos you’ll see on social media of grown adults fighting over coffee and chicken.

 

Online sales boom expected on Black Friday

By Estelle Sinkins for The Witness

Online retailers are expecting a boom on Black Friday after health experts appealed to shoppers to avoid crowds at shopping centres.

Nicolet Pienaar, the head of market insights at trends analysts GfK South Africa, said retail chains with established online shopping facilities and logistics were likely to be the biggest winners.

“Loyal buyers are putting their trust in the online presence of their preferred offline retailers,” she added. “They feel that the physical presence of these stores means they can follow up with a human if they encounter any problems.”

The battle for consumers’ hard-earned cash is already fierce with many of the large retail chains — including Game, Makro, Clicks, Dischem, Checkers, Pick n Pay and Spar — offering big discounts to shoppers in the lead-up to Black Friday.

John Bradshaw, retail executive for marketing at Pick n Pay, said the company had worked closely with suppliers for months to secure stock.

“We have taken several proactive steps to minimise any overcrowding, which includes extending our Black Friday deals to run over two weeks,” he added.

Shoppers who do want to head to brick and mortar stores can expect retailers to implement strict lockdown guidelines. Bradshaw said Pick n Pay stores would be limiting the number of people in its stores, wiping down trolleys before use, sanitising hands upon arrival, sanitising till points, and providing floor markers for physical distancing.

It’s a similar story at Game and Makro. Brian Leroni, senior vice president group corporate affairs for Massmart, said staff would be marshalling social distancing measures in queues. They will also be managing the number of customers in stores throughout the day.

Desmond Heunis, general manager for the Liberty Midlands Mall in Pietermaritzburg, said the shopping centre had worked closely with retailers to manage Black Friday.

The planning covers security, crowd control and traffic management in conjunction with SAPS, traffic authorities, parking management operators and the on-site management team.

 

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets will offer early Black Friday deals and discounts of up to 50% on everyday essentials as customers are increasingly looking for value given the pressure many households are under.

In response to Covid-19, both Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets will for the first time offer early Black Friday deals and keep the deals valid for longer, to allow customers more time to plan and shop, and to prevent overcrowding.

Deals will be offered on selected groceries, electronics, small appliances and much more. Some of the early Black Friday deals available to Xtra Savings members at Shoprite, Checkers and Checkers Hyper include:

● Shoprite (early Black Friday deals: valid from 20 – 22 November 2020):

○ 2 x value packs of Pampers pants for R220 (R200 saving)

○ 2 x 500g bricks of Rama Original 70% fat spread for R30 (save 40%)

○ 850g Parmalat cheese for R75 (R45 saving)

 

● Checkers (early Black Friday deals: valid from 23 – 24 November 2020):

○ 18 pack Twinsaver 2 ply toilet rolls for R75 (save 35%)

○ 2 x 3kg packs of Ariel washing powder for R99 (R98 saving)

○ 800g Clover cheese for R75 (R84 saving)

 

● Checkers Hyper (valid from 23 – 27 November 2020):

○ Xbox One S 1TB Console for R5 699 (R1 300 saving)

○ 40″ JVC TV for R2 949.00 (R600 saving)

○ 4.5 litre Platinum air fryer for R999 (R500 saving)

Stringent hygiene and sanitising protocols will be in place to help protect customers and employees as far as possible including the use of face masks, hand sanitiser, social distancing and limited entry where necessary to avoid overcrowding.

Additional security measures will also be employed.

Shoprite and Checkers will release more Black Friday deals in due course, and Xtra Savings members will be notified first. Some deals will be exclusive to members.

 

What Black Friday shoppers want this year

Source: Finder.com

‘Tis the season to spend and save, with festive sale events like Black Friday and Boxing Day fast approaching. So how many people in South Africa are planning to hit the sales this year? And how much of a discount will entice them to shop?

Financial comparison site  Finder.com polled 1 524 South African adults to find out, and according to the research:

  • Men are more interested in shopping the sales than women
  • Millennials are more likely to be enticed by a discounted item
  • South Africans have a favourite retailer
  • People are looking to save on family-oriented products

70% of South Africans will be shopping this year’s festive sales if the price is right. That’s the equivalent of around 27-million people. On average, it’ll take a discount of 52% to make South African customers purchase an item.

Men are more interested in shopping the sales than women
Men are slightly more likely to be enticed by the sales than women, with 73% of South African men saying they’ll shop for an item for the right price compared to 68% of women who said the same.

It looks like men are more tempted by smaller discounts too. About 22% of men say that a discount of 5-25% off would be enough to motivate them to make a purchase, compared to just 14% of women.

Millennials more likely to be enticed by a discounted item
Those aged 25-34 are most likely to purchase a discounted item in the sales compared to all other age brackets. 76% of people in this age range say they’ll purchase an item on sale at the right price, while just 61% of 55-64-year-olds and those aged 65 and above say the same.

Those aged 18-24 need the deepest discounts of at least 55% to entice them to shop. Other age brackets say they’ll purchase an item if it’s discounted by anywhere from 47% to 53%.

Who are the most popular retailers in South Africa?
Search volume data from Ahrefs suggests that one of the most popular places for South Africans to go for Black Friday deals is online platform Takealot. Other popular online shopping destinations include Makro, Game, Checkers and Hi Fi Corp.

South Africa’s most searched retailers are:

  • Game
  • Makro
  • Takealot
  • Checkers
  • Pick n Pay
  • Evetech
  • Incredible Connection
  • HiFi Corp
  • Edgars

What are people looking to buy on Black Friday?

In terms of specific products, search volume data from Ahrefs suggests that South Africans have historically looked for deals on flights, though 2020 will probably dampen people’s interest in travel. Other popular items include gadgets, specifically laptops, the PlayStation 4, phones and the Xbox.

In terms of branded searches, telecommunications company Vodacom is one of the most common brands specifically searched for on Black Friday, along with Telkom and Kulula.

How does South Africa compare?

Of the 12 countries included in this study, South Africa ranks first for the highest percentage of people who will be enticed by the sales (70%). This is followed by France (66%). Meanwhile, Italy has the smallest number of festive sales shoppers (50%), followed by New Zealand (53%) and the UK (56%).

However, in terms of the discount required to entice shoppers, Spanish adults actually require the highest discount of 60% off to motivate a purchase. People from France and Mexico also require steep discounts to entice them to shop, at 59% off and 58% off respectively. Meanwhile, Canadians say they’ll need the smallest average discount at just 42% off, followed by people in Hong Kong (44% off) and Ireland (45% off).

Which country has the most Black Friday shoppers?
Black Friday is synonymous with hoards of Americans breaking through the front doors of stores all across the country. But as far as the Internet is concerned, the US no longer has the top spot for Black Friday shoppers.

Brazil is the country with the highest search interest in Black Friday, according to an analysis of historical search data from SEMrush. Interest in the shopping holiday peaked and hit new highs in November 2020, jumping up 22.36% from the previous year. Brazil also accounts for 13.20% of all global searches for the term “Black Friday”.

The US doesn’t place silver either: that post is taken by France. Like Brazil, France also saw a jump in search interest year-on-year, jumping 22.22% between November 2019 and November 2020. France makes up 10.78% of all searches for the term “Black Friday”, which is quite impressive, considering that France only accounts for 0.84% of the population.

The US doesn’t even get the bronze on its own, sharing the podium with Germany for the second year in a row, with search interest in both nations increasing by the same amount over the last 12 months (22.28%). Both nations made up 8.82% of the search volume for the term “Black Friday”, but Germany is far outperforming in terms of its population size, with Germany accounting for 1.07% of the world’s population, compared to the 4.25% that the US represents.

South Africa ranked equal 27th overall for Black Friday search volume. Search volume has increased by 22% from November last year to November 2020.

Black Friday goes online

By Georgina Crouth Time for IOL

Deals for more days, greater choice and other enticements, just to keep customers out of brick-and-mortar stores – that’s how retailers are responding to a pandemic Black Friday because Covid or no Covid, the sales bonanza is here to stay.

E-commerce is estimated to have surged by at least 16% this year in South Africa and Covid-19 has changed the game for retailers.

In May, Nielsen found 65% of South Africans shopped less at supermarkets due to Covid-19, while those who already shopped online shopped more (29%) and 21% continued as before.

Marketing agency HaveYouHeard head of insights Claudia Schonitz says: “Many, many South Africans have emerged from the pandemic with considerably less spending power. Not only will this put pressure on brands and businesses to fight for less, they will need to work harder to convince consumers to support them.

Schonitz says the most noticeable shifts have been in three “domains”: social, home and e-commerce.

“When it comes to social, many people have realised just how much they need others and, over the next 12 months, connecting socially will be central to much of our activity and behaviour.

“We have become better at not doing much (while also doing more in the home) and enjoying it. This, I predict, is a behaviour that will persist for much longer.”

HaveYouHeard’s recent survey found 81% of respondents who shopped for groceries online stated that safety from Covid-19 was the biggest benefit to online grocery shopping, but only 27% said they were likely to continue once Covid-19 was no longer a threat.

Remember, remember the sales of November

Last week, announcements came in thick and fast about how brick-and-mortar stores would be offering Black Friday for the entire month of November.

Pick n Pay has extended Black Friday to two weeks, with more deals in store and online. John Bradshaw, retail executive for marketing at PnP, says, “Black Friday is a very busy trading period so we’re extending Black Friday to two weeks to keep our customers safe and able to shop for great deals at their leisure. We will also be limiting the number of customers in our stores at any one time to keep everyone safe, with highly organised queueing.”

The retailer says its stores are better prepared this year, after extensive planning with suppliers, and they’ll be opening as many tills as possible to keep customers from queueing as much as possible.

In-store deals will also be available online, but the retailer will run online only deals before launching its in-store deals, with new deals being added every few days.

Massmart stores Game and Makro are running Black Friday deals for all of November. Game has increased staffing levels and expanded its Uber Eats partnership for Black Friday to ensure it is able to meet customer expectations. It is also offering its 1 Cent Price Surprise on all Black Friday purchases. Both retailers will be spreading their deals out over different weeks. Game’s first set of deals will be announced and launched online at midnight on November 1 and be available exclusively for that week.

Uber Eats is the exclusive delivery partner for small electronics and home office essentials. Consumers are promised a delivery time line of 10 to 14 days on all Black Friday orders, with the delivery fee being capped at R90 – except for large appliances such as fridges and chest freezers, which will carry a R70 surcharge per item, per order. Newsletter subscribers will have early viewing access to all Black Friday deals.

But don’t expect door-busting deals in-store: Game stores will only trade between 9am and 6pm during the week, Saturdays from 9am to 5pm and Sundays from 9am to 4pm.

Cyber Monday will run exclusively online.

Makro similarly says it will be offering “unbeatable specials” for a week at a time, which are not to be repeated.

There’s also 10% back in mRewards for the opening week (November 2 to 8) on all non-promo general merchandise in store and online; the delivery fee is capped at R90 (excluding extended range items and commercial orders); free locker delivery on qualifying orders; same-day delivery on grocery and liquor orders through the One Cart app; 50 new deals every week.

Warrick Kernes from the Insaka eCommerce Academy says brick-andmortar stores have been forced to prepare for an online surge to avoid the risk of Black Friday becoming a super-spreader.

“E-commerce has been growing 25% year-on-year over the past decade but its growth this year has been stepped up: consumers were forced to adopt processes and tech that they should have used before, because of the joy and ease of having things delivered at home or office.”

Kernes says while many industries were negatively affected by Covid, e-commerce has benefited greatly because consumers have cottoned on to the convenience.

The spectre of Black Friday, though, raised concern about super-spreaders: “Even if we don’t see a second wave in South Africa, retailers would not want to encourage shoppers to come in droves to stores for big-screen televisions, etc.”

Spreading out the sale makes sense for any seller because there’s less “noise” around the day, customers get to pick their deals calmly and they aren’t bombarded by marketing material.

Massmart’s strategy is “genius”, he says: “Consumers aren’t going to shop around as much, so the retailers can close sales quicker. Their teams can handle the influx of deals and the processing and dispatching of orders. Spreading it out allows for a quieter team, which means retailers can deal with more sales and not overload the couriers.”

Towards the end of a year scarred by a pandemic and economic devastation, online retailers can expect a bumper sales period because shoppers would want to avoid physical retail stores and shopping malls over Covid19 fears – and capitalise on deals, more than ever.

Kernes believes this is a massive opportunity for online sellers in South Africa to benefit.

 

Makro and Game unveil Black Friday plans

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

Massmart has revealed the Black Friday 2020 plans for its Game and Makro retail stores. Both Game and Makro will be running Black Friday deals throughout November 2020, instead of their previous strategy of only releasing deals for a restricted three- to five-day period from 27 November.

This year, Black Friday deals from both stores will run from 2 – 29 November.

Massmart added that this plan will involve spreading deals over the month of November rather than concentrating deals into just one week or day.

“Black Friday traditionally sees high concentrations of shoppers in retail stores across the country, which can create a challenging shopping environment,” said Massmart Corporate Affairs Executive Brian Leroni.

“Therefore, we have taken the decision to reimagine the way we do Black Friday in 2020.”

“In an effort to create a more consumer-friendly Black Friday experience while adhering to all COVID-19 and social distancing protocols, Makro and Game have taken the decision to extend the duration of our Black Friday promotion,” Leroni said.

South Africa’s most popular Black Friday stores

Leroni added that Massmart’s research has shown that Game and Makro are South Africa’s most popular Black Friday shopping destinations.

“To further improve the shopping experience during this period, Game and Makro have, after analysing the Black Friday shopper information available to us, taken the decision to provide our customers with more opportunity and time to benefit from the Black Friday prices by rather releasing new Black Friday deals each week during the month of November,” Leroni said.

“These unbeatable specials will only run for the week in which they are announced, and will not be offered again – so we encourage shoppers to take advantage of the deals each week, rather than waiting until the end of November as they normally would.”

More information about the incredible deals including some big-ticket items such as large appliances, electronics, home living items, televisions and more will be provided in the coming weeks, the company said.

It added that sneak previews of some of the deals will be available on the Game and Makro social media feeds and email newsletters.

“Customers can subscribe to Game and Makro newsletters on each of the brand’s websites for sneak previews,” Massmart said.

 

Retailers must prepare for cybercrime spikes

Retailers are increasingly coming under attack by cybercriminals, and there is little wonder why. They process payments on oftentimes unprotected Point of Sale (POS) systems, transfer large sums of money, and store and process sensitive customer information, such as banking and card information. They also process more online banking and card transactions. Cybercrime attacks on retail businesses tend to spike over the festive season, starting with Black Friday and Cyber Monday when transactions spike dramatically.

Protecting customers’ payment information at every stage of the payment process is vital. Point-to-Point encryption is becoming more critical as it facilitates secure communication channels between devices and company servers, and so protects payment data in transit. POS systems should be designed to encrypt sensitive data from credit cards the moment information is received and again when it is sent to the payment server, such as passwords, configurations and other critical confidential data. The Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) increases the governance around cardholder data to reduce credit card fraud. Many banks urge organisations to be PCI DSS compliant to have the right to make credit card payments. Review systems regularly to make sure these standards are followed.

“Most cyber-attacks on retail companies happen in the e-commerce space. However, in-store POS systems are not immune to the treats. With Black Friday around the corner and the festive season looming, it is a boom time for cybercriminals. Retailers must be aware and implement strategies to guard their businesses, both online and in-store,” says Charl Ueckermann, CEO at AVeS Cyber Security.

According to Ueckermann, AVeS Cyber Security has encountered numerous organisations that have limited to no protection on POS devices. This has a direct impact on cyber security for organisations because most times, the POS and corporate systems run on the same infrastructure and network. What this means is that when a POS system is compromised, a network breach can occur for the corporate network as well, leading to confidential client information breaches.

“Protecting POS systems, therefore, requires a multi-faceted and multi-layered approach. You want a highly-effective detection and protection tool to identify and remedy vulnerabilities proactively. The solution should have anti-virus capabilities specifically designed for POS systems. You also want to ensure that the POS software itself is up to date to the latest version, at all times. This is especially important for high transaction times, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.”

POS systems are vulnerable to attack when they are old or outdated because the software would not have been designed with today’s modern-day hackers in mind, making them vulnerable and susceptible to malicious code. Attacks on POS systems are becoming quite sophisticated, and cybercriminals are known to use both hardware and software to hijack payment card information and steal business data. Malware targeting POS systems is common and is one of the many ways to steal payment card details. Malware is used to obtain sensitive information, and in some cases, to even steal money directly from bank accounts.

“Your security technology should be able to detect malware, tampering, rooted/jailbroken POS devices, and more. The security stack should include a feature that proactively alerts retailers and POS providers when it is not safe to use the POS devices for making payments or performing other electronic transactions. If not, your system and your business will be vulnerable,” stresses Ueckermann.

Attackers also exploit mobile POS applications to steal personal and sensitive information that is used to make fraudulent purchases. This can result in big financial losses and damage to credit reputations for unsuspecting customers, and worse still, identity theft.

The backend of mobile applications can also be used by cybercriminals to compromise POS systems as well as the majority of business transactions that are processed on the server’s side. This gives them a way into internal business systems. Once the attacker gets inside the network or central system of POS vendors or retailers, they are able to access the compromised POS application as well as other POS applications used by the retailer in other locations. Attacking the entry point at the backend is a common attacking method, and Ueckermann says countless large-scale security breaches have been caused by this method.

He concludes: “The onus is on retailers to do the due diligence to protect their customers and data against cyber-attacks over the holiday shopping season and beyond. Strategies and measures should be in place to provide a safe and secure experience for customers online and in-store.

“Card and online payment processes should be secured and encrypted, controls should be in place to check and ensure the integrity of handheld POS devices, and mobile payment systems should be subjected to regular patches, updates, and equipment upgrades to protect against continually evolving threats.”

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