Guest Column | March 2, 2021

Securing Retail: 5 Technologies Protecting Shoppers Right Now

By Shannon Flynn

Retail Executive

As the pandemic carries on, retail has adapted to meet consumer demands and needs. However, despite the changes, security and safety obstacles have arisen. It is now the main priority to protect consumers from scams, breaches, theft, and COVID-19 itself. Technology is the key to the best security practices.

1. POS Security

The point of sale (POS) system can be a vulnerable place for any retailer, especially since payment methods have evolved and expanded. Instead of traditional cash registers, consumers can now use card readers, mobile apps, and new payment methods like Apple Pay or Google Pay.

The best security tech for POS systems is total end-to-end encryption and threat detection software. Antivirus software and firewalls continuously protect POS devices and platforms. They also protect e-commerce payment methods. If a threat pops up, the layers of security should alert you and address the issue.

Some random testing of the systems can show you how well they work. Also, update the security tools when possible.

2. Endpoint Monitoring

Endpoint monitoring will mostly include e-commerce, where consumers use computers and mobile devices to make purchases. After a 20.7% increase in e-commerce in 2019, the world was boosting online shopping at a steady rate. Then, the pandemic and exponentially shifted everything to the internet.

Firewalls and antivirus software are again essential for endpoint sales. Moreover, your retail site will need malware detection and heavy encryption for each transaction. However, an endpoint sale will require authentication factors on the consumer’s end, too.

Your site must require a strong password and, if possible, multifactor authentication using biometrics. These tech systems come together to protect consumers from all threats.

3. Anti-Phishing Tools

Due to the uncertainty of everything related to the pandemic — from unemployment to vaccinations — people are turning to the internet more than ever. This reliance makes a prime opportunity for cybercriminals to steal information and scam. Most prominently, phishing scams and sites are on the rise. Google reported about 2 million phishing sites last year and thus, data is more vulnerable to theft than ever.

Fortunately, many sites offer built-in phishing protections, like Gmail. However, some emails and scams will still slip through the cracks. In these instances, the best protection is to use anti-phishing software that works with your retail brand. These programs will provide consistent filtering and alerts about any phishing scams and sites employees may encounter.

In addition, managers should continuously educate employees about the signs of a phishing scam — like suspicious requests and sketchy formatting.

4. Security Cameras

Due to the contagious nature of the virus, retailers now must ensure physical safety and sanitation in stores. Retailers have historically used security cameras to prevent theft or to spot any form of harassment within the store. On top of these functions, newer cameras also can encourage social distancing.

Measuring the distance between people, the cameras can alert employees when customers get too close and must separate. Then, you’ll be providing the best protection against COVID-19.

Some newer cameras may also have thermal scanning abilities. They can detect heat signatures from employees and consumers, signifying if they have a fever.

5. Contactless Payments

New forms of payment reduce the spread of germs in stores. Contactless technology allows businesses to carry on as usual without consumers or employees touching any cash or cards. Paying online and getting delivery or curbside pickup are also two popular ways to use tech in contactless ways.

However, these new payment technologies apply to e-commerce as well. Since cybercriminals have stepped up their game during the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to protect all data.

Virtual credit cards are a new form of payment where a consumer attaches a temporary number to their bank account. They then use the temporary number for all their purchases, reducing the chances of criminals hacking their retail accounts and stealing their bank information. The virtual cards have a limited amount and will expire.

Protection In All Forms

With these technologies in place, retailers protect consumers’ private information as well as their physical safety. Though the pandemic presents countless challenges, you can use tech to turn the obstacles into opportunities.

About The Author

Shannon Flynn is a technology blogger who writes about AI and IT trends. She's also the Managing Editor of and freelances for sites like IoT for All, ChatbotNewsDaily, and more. Follow her on Medium or MuckRack to read more tech news.