(Image credit/Pixabay/snivdesign)Retail and eCommerce highlights this week include: Coresight Research predicts as many as 10,000 stores could close in the US this year. Jesta and Yuansfer form partnership to support global omnichannel shopping via mobile wallets. UK organisations can adapt to digital transformation as part of a research initiative by the University of Exeter Business School. Cyber criminals targeting web applications no longer have to get their hands dirty. Research suggests, developers are pushed to do too much in too little time as organisations struggle to set clear goals. SAS Viya delivers innovation and analytics for all, Avatria’s new product helps SAP Commerce users with SEO and conversion needs.

Research says 10,000 store closures in US in 2021

Coresight Research predicts as many as 10,000 stores could close in the US this year. Adding to the depressing theme for brick-and-mortars throughout the pandemic. The research suggests there’s more opportunity now for store associates. Despite the fact that stores have closed, virtual store associate interactions and online sales have increased. The report suggests store associates are now the entrepreneurs due to an omnichannel solution and selling to anybody, anywhere at any time. Salesfloor, a mobile application platform designed for store associates recently announced $2 billion in platform sales milestone.

The closing of brick-and-mortars doesn’t mean store associates are out of a job. The research suggest it has actually expanded their role, given them more responsibility and increased sales. Salesfloor’s holiday season YoY data (Nov 1 – Dec 31) reflects the importance of the sales associate.

Jesta and Yuansfer form partnership to support global omnichannel shopping via mobile wallets

Jesta and Yuansfer an alternative payment provider, have partnered to boost global omnichannel sales. The partnership will support popular mobile wallets like Alipay, PayPal, Venmo, KakaoPay and WeChat. Jesta’s unified commerce Point-of-Sale software is integrated with Yuansfer’s payment platform.

The partnership enables retailers on Jesta’s platforms to reach more consumers. It allows shoppers to pay for in-store and online purchases using their preferred local mobile wallet. The partnership eliminates payment barriers between North American businesses and Asian shoppers.

Benefits of the partnership for retailers include:

  • A decrease in credit card chargebacks and transaction fees.
  • An increase in customer conversions and sales revenue.
  • Improved customer experiences overall.

All omnichannel transactions completed with Yuansfer in Jesta’s SaaS Point of Sale are tokenised, encrypted and authenticated for security.

DIGIT Lab launched to help businesses close ‘digital transformation gap’

Large organisations can adapt to the digital transformation of society as part of a research initiative, led by the University of Exeter Business School. The Digital Innovation for Growth, Impact, and Transformation (DIGIT Lab) has been named the latest of six national Next Stage Digital Economy Centres by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC).

Set to launch on 1 March, the initiative has a budget of almost £12 million over five years. This includes more than £5m from industry partners and a £3.6m investment from EPSRC. The DIGIT Lab is part of the University of Exeter Business School’s INDEX (Initiative in Digital Economy at Exeter) research centre. It will work together with large established organisations to reimagine them for the digital age. For businesses, it goes beyond merely digitising current products and practices to address core transformation challenges.

The research project will hinge around a question considered vital to the future of the UK digital economy. Can large organisations use digital transformation to increase productivity and value, while not compromising on employee wellbeing or social responsibilities? The researchers will lead a multi-disciplinary academic team, working with the University of East Anglia, led by Professor Gerard Parr, and Oxford Brookes University, led by Professor Tim Vorley, together with several leading businesses.

The project will engage industry partners in a research programme focused on creating disruptive scenarios. The DIGIT Lab will develop novel research insights and create knowledge frameworks and tools. At the same time translating findings into concrete steps designed to have a real-world impact for industry and the economy.

New research unveils surge in automated and bot-based cyber crime

Cybercriminals targeting web applications are not getting their hands as dirty. A surge in automated and bot-based cyber attacks targeting web applications has been recorded by Barracuda Networks.

Barracuda’s most recent ‘Threat Spotlight’, found that the top five web application attack types were dominated by those performed using automated tools. These five attack types alone contributed to over 54% of all cyberattacks blocked by Barracuda in November and December 2020. The research suggests cybercriminals are increasingly turning to bots and automation to make their attacks more efficient and effective. It also helps them avoid detection.

Fuzzing attacks

The most significant attack type recorded were fuzzing attacks. This type of attack uses automation to try to find and exploit the points at which applications break. One in five (19.5%) of attacks recorded by Barracuda researchers were diagnosed as fuzzing attacks.

The second most significant attack type was made up by Injection Attacks, contributing 12% to the total recorded. These use automated tools like sqlmap to try to get into applications. They often involve script-kiddie level noise – attacks being thrown at an application without reconnaissance to customise the breach attempt.

‘Fake Bots’, defined as automated attacks pretending to be a Google bot or similar, were a close third. This type of attack accounted for just over 12% of the web application attacks analysed. Application DDoS (distributed denial of service) was also surprisingly prevalent, more than 9% of the sample Barracuda researchers analysed. Finally, a small portion of attacks (less than 2%) come from bots blocked by site admins.

The ‘Threat Spotlight’ also revealed that although bot traffic is a fast-growing problem, it doesn’t mean cybercriminals are moving away from their old standbys. A large part of the attacks analysed are what could be considered classic web app attacks. This includes injection attacks (12%) and cross-site scripting (XSS) (1%). Most of the attack traffic came from reconnaissance tools or fuzzing tools being used to probe applications.

Developers can revolutionise digital transformation efforts during Covid-19 research finds

Developers are playing a key role in helping organisations meet their digital transformation goals. Despite facing significant challenges, according to the second of three pieces of research from Couchbase.

A survey of 450 European and US senior IT decision-makers indicates 92% of respondents believed DevOps could have a revolutionary impact on their digital transformation efforts. While 63% said the flexibility to change goals when needed was significantly helpful or indispensable in meeting digital transformation goals. However, this flexibility has come at a cost. 49% of respondents reported development teams say they are being asked to do too much in too little time.

There are challenges for both organisations and developers; 86 percent of respondents experienced challenges with their development teams, including:

  • Setting clear, measurable goals for the development team (40%).
  • Ensuring development teams always have the right technology (40%).
  • Ensuring the development team clearly understands the organization’s strategic goals (31%).
  • Identifying and solving the challenges facing development teams (31%).

While developers’ contributions are undeniable, these challenges may still be preventing them from reaching their full potential. 40% of respondents said their development teams were behind schedule with their current projects.

Couchbase performed its research to understand the challenges of digital transformation for developers, digital architects, and the CIO themselves. In its next update, it will examine the stresses and technical challenges facing the architecture team.

The Vanson Bourne survey polled 450 senior IT decision makers in the US (150), UK (100), France (100) and Germany (100) in September & October 2020.

Delivering innovation and analytics for all

SAS has announced product enhancements to help customers more efficiently democratise analytics throughout their organisations while seamlessly managing analytic workloads. SAS Viya provides the missing layer between models developed in multiple languages and the systems where they’re deployed. This eliminates the need for time-consuming recoding to deploy models.

SAS Viya is now available on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, marking the latest momentum in SAS’ strategic partnership with Microsoft announced last year. This integration between Azure and SAS Viya analytics platform supports customers to stand up SAS analytics in their cloud environments. It will enable them to run them reliably and give users access to the latest innovations and enhancements. In addition, centrally manage everything with tools they are already familiar with. This will enable IT to focus less on routine analytics workloads and more on high-value, strategic workloads that help business leaders make better decisions.

Customers are expected to benefit from easier cloud migration and management of analytic workloads. SAS has a strategic objective to strengthen its partnership with Microsoft Azure

Avatria announces launch of Avatria Engage

Avatria, an eCommerce solution provider has launched its newest software product Avatria Engage. Designed for SAP Commerce users, Avatria Engage works to drive more site traffic while at the same time boosting conversion rates for online retailers. Some of the key SEO features of Avatria Engage include:

  • Enhanced Vanity URLs: This feature allows every Category and Product URL to be customised on a site. Customers can retain their old URL structure (avoiding redirects) and/or optimise the URLs for SEO.
  • Canonical URLs: A canonical URL is a standard representation of a URL and is provided via header on a webpage. It tells the search engines that all unique links to a product and it’s SKUs are in-fact one product. As a result, should have their ranking grouped for SEO purposes. Avatria automates the implementation of canonical URLs for Products with multiple SKUs.
  • Schema.org Microdata: Avatria Engage has implemented Schema.org, a Microdata standard, into Product, Category, and Content templates. This ensures that search engines can display attractive content listings for all relevant pages.

Along with SEO features, Avatria Engage is also designed to help SAP Commerce users increase their conversion rates. This ultimately helps increase revenue-generating key performance indicators. Underpinned by Avatria’s Convert Suite, Engage uses proprietary machine learning technology to personalise an end-consumer’s shopping experience.


  1. Perhaps the most profound shift in eCommerce is that, with increased competition, comes the need for refined analytics that will help the business grow and succeed. The ability to understand customers and their value and to see sales trends, determine the best promotions, discounts and product bundling – all of that is more necessary than ever. Small businesses and retailers really need augmented analytics that are easy to use and do not require users to understand complex analytics or learn a new software solution so simple, integrated analytics is paramount.


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