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Mother’s Day shopping spree predicted for UK retail

UK shoppers are set to spend £1.7bn on Mother’s Day this year, a 1.1% increase on 2023, as over half of consumers intend to purchase an item to celebrate the occasion, though price remains a main concern.

That’s according to the UK Mother’s Day Intentions 2024 report from GlobalData, which also cautions that high inflation means that shoppers are paying more for less, and therefore the nation’s mums are likely to find that the gifts bestowed on them are less impressive than last year.

According to GlobalData’s report, 41% of consumers who intend to, or have already purchased, an item for Mother’s Day have or will spend under £20 on gifts. Food gifts and flowers will be popular products this year, and as such, retailers must focus on showcasing entry price points to entice greater spend on the occasion.

Joe Dawson, Analyst at GlobalData, said: “Consumers still have tight budgets, and seeking out the lowest prices has become a norm for many. To capitalize on the high participation in the event, retailers must ensure that they are promoting the affordability of their ranges by clearly signposting Mother’s Day deals and discounts online and instore.”

The grocers are particularly well placed to benefit from consumers looking to cut back and should use exclusive loyalty scheme offers and discounts to encourage shoppers to spend more. Around a fifth of consumers stated that they intended to buy clothing or jewellery this Mother’s Day (19% and 21%), and retailers will need to cater to those looking to cut back by offering a range of price points.

Dawson concluded: “While the proportion of consumers intending to purchase gifts is higher for Mother’s Day than it was on Valentine’s Day, it is still lower than the 65% of consumers that participated in the event in 2023. Showcasing high quality products at affordable prices will be key to appealing to consumers looking to treat their loved ones at a lower cost and capturing greater spend closer to the date.”

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Retail sector the ‘least confident’ in ability to prevent cyber attacks

Node4’s Mid-Market IT Priorities Report 2024 has revealed the top ten mid-market cyber security threats for the next 12 months, as set out by the sector’s IT decision-makers. Top of the list is insider threat, followed by AI-related threats, ransomware, deep fakes and malware. The second half includes DoS attacks, supply chain attacks, phishing, zero-day attacks and scams/fraud.  

Paul Bryce, Managing Director at Node4, said: “The high level of concern around insider threats could be attributed to the large number of job transitions and redundancies over the past 12 months, coupled with the growing reliance on contractors to address IT and cyber security skills gaps. It might also be linked to long-term, security-related worries, flexible working and the increased potential for cyber attacks on a distributed workforce.” 

Node4’s new research also points to significant adoption of pre-crime and preventative cyber security measures, with around 40% of respondents stating they currently have dark web intelligence and incident response capabilities — suggesting a growing level of maturity in cyber security policy adoption across the mid-market.  

Perhaps linked to the above findings, the report reveals a high degree of optimism surrounding cyber security defence capabilities. Over three-quarters of IT decision-makers said they were confident in their organisation’s ability to prevent and respond to cyber-attacks, despite the research being conducted at a time of increased cyber security attacks aimed squarely at small and mid-sized organisations. Breaking down these results by vertical sector, IT decision-makers working in private healthcare were the most confident, while those in retail were least so.  

It is worth sounding a note of caution here. Over a quarter of respondents told us they believe AI could expose their organisation to new cyber security risks in the future, and that dealing with AI-related threats is their top priority for the next 12 months. Further, around one-third of compliance challenges identified by respondents in this research are directly linked to IT security and cyber security risk mitigation — pointing to the ongoing complex issues at play in ensuring secureremote access to corporate data. Taken together, these findings indicate now is not the time for complacency, and the mid-market’s IT decision-makers need to double down on their proactive, vigilant cyber security stance.   

Less than 15% of mid-market IT decision-makers manage cyber security defences with internal staff, while over a third outsource to managed service providers. Meanwhile, the majority rely on a combination of in-house resources and their MSP. This could explain why nearly a quarter of respondents said the need to enhance data security and compliance was driving their digital transformation efforts.  

Bryce concluded: “Our findings show that many mid-market organisations are working hard to implement more mature and effective cyber security measures, which is encouraging given that the combined impact of lower budgets, fewer resourcesand a shortage of in-house skills could easily hamper these efforts. However, around a quarter of respondents stated that a lack of suitable services from cloud providers, primary tech partners and MSPs was aprincipal barrier to doing so. This suggests the mid-market relies increasingly on third-party support to do the heavy lifting for its cyber security strategy implementations — and will lean on it to an even greater degree as cybercriminal threats become even more complex, harder to spot and difficult to repel.” 

To download a full copy of the report, please visit 

Retail POS needs and wants: data, security and the best the market has to offer

It’s no secret that point of sale (POS) systems and receipt printing are crucial to retailers and hospitality businesses. Without them, they cannot enable sales effectively and grow their businesses optimally. In fact, to say they are important, for many, is an understatement.

Especially when you consider their strategic importance to not only drive sales efficiency; but to track and record sales data, and provide an optimum customer experience. What is more, within this, retailers and their customers have many different needs when it comes to managing and accepting payments. So, as the market evolves and businesses grow, what should retail and hospitality organisations consider when deploying POS systems and related technologies?

Jay Kim, Managing Director, BIXOLON Europe GmbH explains what the retail market, and wider value chain, needs to consider when exploring options that enable retail sales more effectively…

POS Needs Vs Wants

Within busy retail and hospitality environments it is vital that POS systems are “always on” and that these systems do not experience downtime. Simply put: failure to execute transactions can lead to lost revenue and a poor customer experience. Therefore, when purchasing these kinds of technologies, retailers typically consider an array of important factors. This includes network connectivity options; the performance of POS systems; how these system looks aesthetically when installed; how they integrate into the business; and the price of the investment. 

Additionally, with the need to keep up-to-date with the latest technology trends and requirements, many retailers are turning away from only using Serial or Parallel connectivity for printers. Instead, they are and moving to Ethernet, USB, Bluetooth and WLAN for integration with tablets and other peripherals as part of POS systems. Since technology has always been central to buying decisions, many retailers now build their hardware solutions around their software – whether this be a simple payment solution for an independent company, or part of a more complex omnichannel ecosystem.

Naturally, the performance of hardware within these systems is key. Printers form a vital component here at checkout. They enable the printing of receipts, coupons, vouchers, and more depending on the scenario. They are rated not only on the speed and reliability of the printing hardware, but also the performance of the cutter and print head, which leads to less maintenance and possible downtime. Within retail situations, sleek, compact printer designs are becoming increasingly popular, because retailers are looking to streamline their cash desks. For instance, cube printers have increased in popularity with their compact features and front exit feed for either on-the-desk or under-desk integration – which allows it to just fit into a POS set up easily and attractively.

Ease of integration is also essential here. With many retailers looking to upgrade their systems, many look for hardware which they can essentially plug in and play. As time means money, retailers look for installs which take hours rather than days, to avoid costly downtime and loss of productivity. Pricing is also a factor; however, a lower priced printer doesn’t always provide the quality and reliability required. Typically, when you buy cheap, you buy more, as the old adage goes.

Driving insights and protecting data 
Data and reporting is important to retailers. They need to know what inventory is being sold and when to restock. Sure, smaller companies can keep a written tally; however, larger companies often link their Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) systems with their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to allow a seamless reordering of supplies – and, sometimes they also combine both their store and e-commerce sales if that makes more sense and is more effective. This kind of approach can be crucial when used in conjunction with a more sophisticated just-in-time stock control methods.

Security is also important. Whether it takes the form of employee log-ins, systems to track transactions, or security systems to maintain secure transactions. In many European countries, fiscal law has been brought in to avoid retailer fraud. With reporting done through the cash register, fiscalisation is always done through software. However, measures can be put in place which cover both software and the POS hardware. For example, in Slovenia fiscalisation is handled through software; in Italy and Poland it is done through a specialised module and hardware within a POS device;  or in Germany’s case, the software used needs ensure it meets criteria set out by the government.

The Best The POS Market Has To Offer
There are many types of POS solutions on the market for retailers and hospitality organisations to consider. Standout options include mPOS, mobility solutions and kiosk solutions.

mPOS – The days of traditional bulky POS setups are dead, mPOS solutions are now taking centre stage as more compact, cost-effective solutions. These interchangeable setups typically consist of a tablet, printer, card reader, scanner, customer display and cash drawer; which are commonly bundled together by resellers with additional EPOS software (electronic point of sale). These interchangeable solutions provide a cost-effective solution which can be upgraded as a business’ POS estate evolves. But these types of solutions now require more intelligent printers too, such as those that can seamlessly connect to a host tablet device while supporting a charging port and up to four USB peripherals. This solution is a great way to use existing peripherals which are operated through the printer as it communicates to the tablet device via Bluetooth.

Mobility Solutions – For busy seasonal retail periods and pop-up stores, the need for accessible printing is becoming more popular. Mobile printers are the perfect solution as they easily connect to a smart device and can print receipts or labels. As batteries continue to improve, many printers can now be used for a complete shift and recharged outside of opening hours. Many proven printer providers offer technologies that enable receipt, ticket and labelling solutions. Alternatively, another market innovation in the POS printer space is a battery-powered POS receipt printer. Much like a mobile printer, battery-powered POS receipt printers offer fixed location printing; such as at a pop-up where power is not available. This type of printer is attractive for higher volume receipting for pop-up locations; which take larger quantities of transactions; so a larger receipt roll can be used. 

Kiosk Solutions – Kiosk systems are becoming increasingly popular, which has been accelerated by the pandemic. These self-service solutions typically come with two types of printers, either a packaged printer or a kiosk mechanism, which are chosen based on the kiosk design and user requirements. Typically, stand-alone unmanned solutions are fitted with kiosk printing mechanisms which use a presenter; allowing for larger paper rolls to be used, which require fewer changes and thus less maintenance.

The Future of POS printers

The face of retail is changing. Traditional brick-and-mortar stores are being complemented with e-commerce; and, with this, the use of printing and its technology is being adapted. As orders now also come in online, new software technologies such as native, web and cloud-based mPOS applications will enable printing to come directly to a designated printer for efficient picking, shipping or collecting.

Additionally, retailers will also be looking for mixed estates of printing technology covering both receipting and labelling, with linerless labelling becoming increasingly important as a traditional labelling alternative. This eco media removes the need for label packing paper, enabling variable-length labelling with either semi-permanent or permanent adhesive. This type of media is ideal for home delivery orders, click-and-collect, product markdowns and more.


The future of POS is bright and offers retailers and hospitality businesses of all kinds the opportunity to manage sales more effectively. Further, during check-out scenarios it remains important to provide customers with a receipt too – which is the legal form of proving a purchase of a product or service. While some might argue that e-receipting is coming, or is already here, this will not mean the death of the physical receipt. They will work in tandem, depending on differing requirements.

Labelling, though, will continue to innovate the industry. This is because as more business is done online, the need for labelling for services such as home delivery and click and collect will continue to rise. So retailers will require printers for different logistics scenarios within their fulfilment centres.

In either case, a POS system will sit at the heart of purchases and either offer customers physical printed receipts, or they will drive organisation and logistics operations within e-commerce distribution centres. In both cases, proven, robust, reliable and accurate printers will be required to support these operations, and provide receipts and labels for customers or e-commerce logistics teams in warehouses. 

Ensuring a merry and secure holiday season for online retailers

By Gav Winter (pictured, above), CEO at RapidSpike

The upcoming holiday season – including the renowned Black Friday – holds immense significance for online retailers. As early as the end of October, the shopping frenzy begins with enticing discounts that continue throughout December and after Christmas with Boxing Day sales, making it an unparalleled retail period.

In 2022, US consumers shattered records by spending a staggering $9.2 billion on Black Friday, proving the popularity of discount events despite economic challenges. However, this surge in online shopping also makes it an attractive target for cyberattacks, with hackers seeking to exploit unsuspecting customers.

The escalation of payment scams and the increasing sophistication of cybercriminal tactics highlight the substantial financial risks faced by retailers without robust security measures. Furthermore, the surge in website traffic during this high-demand period can strain website performance, potentially compromising the overall user experience.

Given these challenges and the vital importance of website performance and reliability, there is no better time for retailers to put preparations in place. 

Avoid online traffic jams 

In 2023, the eCommerce industry is grappling with a multitude of challenges that require innovative solutions, particularly in the face of intensified web traffic during peak shopping seasons. The ever-increasing customer demand and evolving online expectations set the stage for heightened competition. Today’s customers demand nothing less than seamless shopping experiences, characterised by lightning-fast website performance and immersive features like augmented and virtual reality, for example.

However, meeting these expectations while maintaining website reliability during the holiday shopping season is a complex task. Slow-loading and underperforming websites pose a significant risk, potentially frustrating customers to the point of cart abandonment and seeking alternatives. 

A lagging site can disrupt the flow of shoppers as they explore and add items to their carts, undermining the convenience and enjoyment of the shopping experience. Impatient buyers are more inclined to abandon their carts, leaving behind potential purchases. These abandoned carts not only translate into lost sales but also represent missed opportunities to engage with customers and foster brand loyalty.

Data from Statista underscores the critical importance of a seamless user experience in online shopping. In the second quarter of 2023, approximately 85% of mobile orders in the UK were left uncompleted, with seven out of 10 carts abandoned on computers as well. This evidences the significance of an optimised website, especially when competitive prices for similar products are available elsewhere.

To combat this challenge, online retailers must prioritise website optimisation to ensure swift and seamless experiences for their customers, especially during high-traffic periods like Black Friday. A responsive and well-optimised site not only reduces the risk of cart abandonment but also enhances customer satisfaction, encourages repeat business, and reinforces a positive brand image. 

The rising threat of cybersecurity

While the digital age has brought tremendous opportunities for online retailers, it has also increased the threat of cybersecurity breaches and data theft, particularly during high-traffic periods like Black Friday. 

One of the most insidious among these threats to the eCommerce sector is the Magecart skimming attack. This type of attack involves cybercriminals injecting malicious code into a retailer’s website, allowing them to steal customers’ payment data. With the holiday season approaching, these attacks become even more tempting for cybercriminals seeking to capitalise on the surge in online shopping.

But Magecart attacks are the tip of the iceberg. Cybersecurity threats come in various forms, including distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, ransomware and phishing attacks.

Online retailers must be prepared to defend against these threats to ensure the security of their customer’s data and the reliability of their websites.But, strategies and solutions for website owners must encompass the full spectrum of web health: performance, reliability, and security.

A multi-pronged defence and optimisation strategy

Online retailers must adopt a holistic approach to address these challenges, safeguard their customers’ trust, and optimise their websites for the upcoming holiday shopping rush. While monitoring and optimisation are essential year-round, specific tools can help during busy periods like Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

1.      Implement a layered security approach

The best approach to eCommerce security is a layered one that uses multiple tools. Online businesses must have security measures in place to both prevent and detect attacks. Cyber attackers are constantly devising new ways to disguise their techniques, so it’s crucial to analyse your site for vulnerabilities, as well as attacks in progress.

2.      Conduct stress testing

To prepare for the holiday season, carry out stress testing to understand your website’s normal performance limits. Scaling up your infrastructure is vital to handle the increase in traffic. This could involve adding more machines or using auto-scaling and load balancing for cloud-based solutions.

3.      Implement uptime monitoring

Uptime monitoring is essential to ensure your website remains accessible during busy sales periods. Use uptime monitoring tools to detect issues and ensure prompt resolution. In case of problems, leverage social media to keep customers informed and consider extending the same discounts to customers who couldn’t access them on the sales day.

4.    Utilise performance testing

Prioritise website performance by conducting load testing to understand your site’s capacity and potential bottlenecks. Ensure static content is delivered from a content delivery network (CDN) to enhance loading times. Implement load balancers to distribute server loads and consider serverless cloud technologies for scalability.

5.     Synthetic monitoring

This can play a crucial role by providing a comprehensive view of the user experience. It ensures that website owners can meticulously track the entire customer journey, starting from the home page and extending to product pages, item selection, cart management, and the checkout process. By regularly conducting synthetic checks, website owners can rest assured that these vital processes are functioning correctly and consistently over time. This proactive approach not only helps identify and address issues before they impact real users but also contributes to maintaining a seamless and reliable online experience, ultimately leading to higher customer satisfaction and improved website performance.

Mitigating the effects of holiday season traffic

Black Friday and the holiday season present both opportunities and challenges for online retailers. While the potential for increased sales is enticing, the risk of cyberattacks and website performance issues looms large. Protecting and optimising your online retailer website is not just about safeguarding your business for a single day; it’s about building trust with your customers for the long term.

A comprehensive approach that combines cybersecurity measures, performance optimisation, and synthetic monitoring is essential. By implementing these strategies and staying vigilant, online retailers can ensure their websites remain operational, customer-friendly, and secure throughout the demanding holiday season. Remember, preparation today will safeguard your reputation and revenue for many years to come.