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Digital Is the New Retail Trend: How Standards Support Today’s Shopping Experience

As retailers shift to digital platforms, standards enable a seamless experience


The retail sector is experiencing a digital makeover. As more technology-savvy consumers go online to shop for steals, brick and mortar retailers can keep pace with the trend by interacting with customers via popular digital platforms, from videos to smart phone app alerts. As end of season and back-to-school sale ads pop up in the digital realm, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) proudly supports its members and standards developers that help ensure a safe and seamless digital retail experience.

A recent Deloitte study reveals that today, $.56 of every dollar spent in a store is influenced by a consumer's digital interaction. The research findings, drawn from a study of over 5,000 random customers, indicate that desktop computers, laptops, netbooks, tablets, smartphones, and even wearable devices have an impact on customer shopping habits. With roughly 80 percent of Americans now shopping online (according to Pew Research), it's evident that consumers see the value in digital interaction to maximize shopping efficiency.

Rather than invest time and travel to go to a store, shoppers can browse and reserve items within digital catalogs for store purchases, use mobile devices or web apps to compare retailer prices, purchase, and even return products — all from the convenience of their own homes. But while the consumer appetite for digital retail is growing, customers are worried about more than just discounts. In another retail survey, most shoppers — more than 70 percent of consumers — expressed concerns over the privacy and security of their data.

While they largely remain behind the scenes, standards help influence safer shopping for customers and merchants alike, from the depths of the supply chain to the point of sale. Standard developing organizations support the transformation of retail as more consumers take their business to the internet and as major brands and businesses switch to digital.

Standards Support a Seamless Retail Experience, Online and In Stores

Although there are many components to managing electronic commerce transactions, consumer satisfaction remains essential for business success. The American National Standard (ANS) ASQ/ANSI/ISO 10008:2013, Quality management - Customer satisfaction - Guidelines for business-to-consumer electronic commerce transactions, provides guidance for planning, designing, developing, implementing, maintaining, and improving an effective and efficient business-to-consumer electronic commerce transaction (B2C ECT) system within an organization.

The standard is applicable to any organization engaged in, or planning to be engaged in, a business-to-consumer electronic commerce transaction, regardless of size, type, and activity. The committee responsible for the document is the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC)176,Quality management and quality assurance, Subcommittee (SC) 3, Supporting Technologies. The ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Administrator for TC 176/SC 3 is the American Society for Quality (ASQ), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

The supply chain is also essential to ensuring quality of retail product management. The international standard ISO/IEC 18046-2:2011, Information technology-Radio frequency identification device performance test methods - Part 2: Test methods for interrogator performance, defines test methods for performance characteristics of Radio frequency identification (RFID) interrogators for item management, and specifies the general requirements and test requirements for interrogators which are applicable to the selection of the devices for an application.

RFID technology has broad applicability to the automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) industry in item management. As a wireless communication technique based on radio frequency technology, the applications cover multiple levels of the industrial, commercial, and retail supply chains. These can include:

  • freight containers
  • returnable transport items (RTI)
  • transport units
  • product packaging and product tagging

The standard was developed by ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee (JTC)1, /SC 31, Automatic identification and data capture techniques. The U.S. holds TC-level leadership of ISO/IEC JTC 1, with Karen Higginbottom of HP Inc. serving out her third term as chair until the JTC 1 Plenary in October 2017. The ANSI delegated Secretariat is GS1. ANSI is the U.S. member body to ISO, and the IEC, via the U.S. National Committee. The ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG administrator to SC 31 is AIM, an ANSI member and accredited standards developer. The U.S. also holds the secretariat for SC 31.

Whether online or in-store, customers indicate their concern for data security as they shop. To that end, theft of sensitive card data during a retail payment transaction is increasingly becoming a major source of financial fraud. The ANS ANSI X 9.119-1-2016, Retail Financial Services - Requirements for Protection of Sensitive Payment Card Data - Part 1: Using Encryption Method , refers to the standardization of the security requirements and implementation for a method for protecting this sensitive card data over these segments. Several implementations exist to address this situation.

Besides an optional encrypted PIN, this data includes magnetic stripe track 2 data: PAN, expiration date, card verification value, and issuer private data. While thefts of this data at all segments of the transaction processing system have been reported, the most vulnerable segments are between the point of transaction device capturing the magnetic stripe data and the processing systems at the acquirer.

The standard was developed by Accredited Standards Committee X9, Financial Industry Standards (ASC X9), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer. ASC X9’s standards are used throughout the industry as well as by the federal government in order to facilitate delivery of financial services and products to users and promote global commerce.

Aside from e-commerce and the digital retail supply chain, there are hundreds of standards and conformance activities related to other aspects of retail services. Last year, ANSI released an electronic poster that highlights 60 more standards that support the retail sector. See the poster and read more about how ANSI supports the service economy in previous coverage, Standards in Your Shopping Bag: ANSI’s New Services Standards Resource Highlights the Retail Sector.


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