From finding workers to protecting data, c-stores face a challenging business climate.
Challenges that convenience retailers face in today competitive world were explored Oct. 17 as NACS 2017 kicked off in Chicago.
The message was part of the focus provided by a series of information sessions. They varied from finding good workers to protecting against the looming threat of sophisticated data breaches.
“This business is personal, personal in the best sense of the word,” said moderator Joe Vonder Haar, CEO and partner of iSee Store Innovations, said in introducing an early session, “Looking for Top Talent—Is It Your Uber Driver?”
Roni Chambers, founder of Professional Growth University, outlined some strategies that c-stores can use to find untapped worker talent. She stressed that often viable candidates can be found in a company’s backyard. Unfortunately, as the retail landscape becomes more crowded in local communities, the battle to find qualified candidates becomes that much harder.
Often that talent pool can be found within a five-mile radius of your store.
“There’s a war on talent,” said Chambers. “That’s because this is a ‘Gig’ economy,” meaning that Millennial age prospects have their sensibilities in what they are looking for from an employer including working for an admired brand such as Panera Bread, as well as preferring for a less-traditional work-week.
Of course retailers must still find the right candidates and they can explore unconventional settings to find them including your cleaners, your bank, local retail establishments and local eateries. The trick is to keep an eye out for prospects who demonstrate good work qualities, and selling them on the benefits that the convenience channel has to offer.
Overtime, c-stores can generate a healthy list of candidates while making new connections in their community.
In a later session moderated by Gray Taylor, executive director of tech think group Conexxus, two industry experts provided a glimpse of how cyberattacks are quickly changing the shape of data security and some straightforward tips on how retailers can better protect themselves.
In the session, entitled “Tech Edge: Protect Yourself from Data Breaches,” George Rice, senior director, payments, at MicroFocus Voltage Securities, told attendees even though data breach cases are generating bigger headlines—the latest being about the Equifax data breach that exposed the personal and financial data of 143 million people—common sense solutions still can be employed to help retailers safeguard their data, and the data of their customers.
The data risk landscape is more complex than ever, Rice said. Its perimeter includes mobile and cloud capabilities, continuous data capture and transmission by businesses and the growth of sensitive data in everyday transactions. The opportunity for cyberattacks is bigger than ever.
However, by ensuring modern security tactics that are data centric or enable format preservation, retailers can better keep data breaches at bay. In simple terms, data-centric strategies allow data to remain protected as it travels between systems such as point of sale (POS).
In the end, the real solution is point-to-point encryption that safeguards that data through the whole process, he said.
Chris Lietz, cyber risk advisor at Coalfire Systems Inc., said there are also resources that convenience retailers can utilize to gain more information on how to better protect their data.
He listed three guidance documents from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). They are:
800-37 Rev.2 (RMF); 800-53 Rev. 5 (Controls); and Cybersecurity Frame version 1.