I recently attended the two-day ASCII Success Summit which attracted over 200 technology executives to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Chicago. The event touched on many verticals in the IT channel, including retail, and I gleaned three key lessons that likely apply to all of our organizations:
- Engage in cybersecurity, don’t ignore it.
Solution provider Eugene Tawiah offered 7 Cybersecurity Tips For Solutions Providers, and his last point really resonated with me. As we move even deeper into omni-channel and online sales, are retail CIOs spending enough resources on cybersecurity? “Catch up on the world of security,” Tawiah said. “There are podcasts to listen to, and information on vulnerabilities are being released daily. A good part of every morning for me is catching up on what was released yesterday.”
- Don’t let your website sit.
Marketing expert Herman Pool offered Website Problems And Best Practices, and talked not only about good design but about not neglecting your website. Think about the effort it took for your latest website redesign – the meetings, the emails, the meetings, the conversations, the time, the meetings, the money. Pool stressed that an active website attracts attention, so post new content (such as blog posts) regularly. And ask a focus group in your target audience to review your site to see if it meets their needs and if your messages address their most important issues.
- Hold out for the best hires.
Okay, this one is cheating off my own paper. I was asked to speak to the ASCII attendees and share hiring best practices from my book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer. Among the advice that I offered was 5 Hiring Don’ts which included a nugget that certainly applies to retail.
“Don’t hire someone with below-average presentation.” This especially applies if the position will interact with your customers, your suppliers, or the public. Your hires don’t need to be supermodels, but they must exude professionalism. Presentation includes the candidate’s grooming, posture, grammar, enthusiasm, and a sense of substance.
Bonus! I also wanted to share three interesting business quotes from the event:
“You wouldn’t drive with your eyes closed. So you shouldn’t run your business without seeing key data.” – Stuart Selbst, Vorex
“Every 53 seconds, a laptop is stolen or lost in the U.S. With Desktop-as-a-Service, your data is safe.” – Jim Lippie, Itopia
“2014 was the year of the breach. The big companies make the headlines, but most of those breaches happened to SMBs (small-to-medium businesses).” – Art Gross, Breach Secure Now