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The past year has been inundated with retail breaches including Target, Home Depot and most recently, Chick-fil-A. The Georgia-based fast food company investigated a credit card breach in early 2015, focusing on the point-of-sale (POS) network at some of its restaurants. The breach is thought to have occurred between December 2013 and September 2014. Brian Krebs, an Internet blogger who specializes in banking security, reported that one financial institution claimed that the common thread among approximately 9,000 of its affected customers were purchases at Chick-fil-A restaurants. So what can retailers learn from these types of attacks?

It is important to stress that security breaches of this nature can be caused by a variety of issues - newly discovered software flaws, lax security from a service provider, insider fraud, weak network security and countless other avenues. There is also the possibility that the data which had been compromised did not originate from Chick-fil-A at all. Theft can occur at numerous places along the payment chain. For example, it may be necessary to examine the bank where the electronic transactions were processed.

In one sense, it does not matter how the breach occurred. The fact that credit cards at a major corporation had once again been stolen highlights the threat that all quick serve restaurants and retailers of every size are facing from data thieves. Businesses interested in keeping their networks and data secure should start with simple security measures that can effectively mitigate the growing problem that hackers represent. While nothing is fool proof, the following suggestions could have prevented most (if not all) of the breaches that have garnered so much attention in the past 12 months:

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According to a recent study from the Pew Research Group, 81 percent of American adults are using Facebook, making it the world's most popular social network. Though LinkedIn and Pinterest among other networks are gaining popularity in different age and demographic groups, 52 percent of people now use two or more platforms—a 10 percent increase from 2013.

So what do these numbers mean for companies seeking to boost business? Quite a lot, especially if you think of each network as a distinct marketing channel. Here are some strategies to get the word out and boost business:

Read more: 4 Ways to Boost E-commerce With Social Networking

Retailers today are looking for more sophisticated ways to understand customers’ buying behavior and are increasingly turning toward big data and analytics to deliver a deeper level of insight. Access to these tools is now topping retailers’ “must-have” lists, regardless of the channels by which they sell.

Analytics makes it possible for retailers to see the choices consumers make as they move through a store. For example: they pause at one display, but not at another; they choose one aisle to walk down and ignore the next; they pick up products but don’t buy whereas they pull the trigger on others. Further, analytics allows e-tailers to track criteria such as click-through rates, site navigation, repeat visits, purchases and abandoned shopping carts.

With more traditional e-commerce retailers opening brick-and-mortar storefront such as Warby Parker, BaubleBar and Zappos and the continual growth of online shopping, retail analytics will become even more important in more clearly defining ROI in the future. According to a TechCrunch survey, 78 percent of consumers prefer to shop in-store and spend six times more in-store than online.

Read more on the RM Blog.

The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE and Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern) are proud to announce the honorees of the 2015 Tribute Dinner—Ted Baseler, President and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and Chef Juan Mari Arzak, acclaimed pioneer of Basque cuisine. Baseler and Arzak will be honored on February 21 during the Festival’s annual Tribute Dinner hosted by José Andrés and Master of Ceremonies Harold McGee presented by Bank of America, part of The New York Times Dinner Series, at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. The award recognizes their extraordinary contributions to the wine and culinary industries.

Getty Images photo from 2014 Tribute Dinner provided by Bullfrog + Baum

Read more: South Beach Wine & Food Festival announce the honorees of the 2015 Tribute Dinner

In many ways, our economy is still trying to find its feet since the last recession. Holiday sales in 2014 weren’t spectacular, which may have discouraged you. However, there are ways to beat the sales slump, whether your 2014 season exceeded expectations or underperformed. Here are the strategies you should implement to give your 2015 sales a kick-start.

Online Trends You Can Take Advantage Of

Some sales hacks are already established as being a good idea year round — and you should take advantage of this new consumer market! These include making your web design responsive (look equally good on any device) and optimizing your mobile presence (giving your mobile site just as many features as the desktop version has). The latter is especially important, as more and more shoppers are shopping on the go. Here are some other ideas to boost your post-December sales:

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NFL PLAYERS INC. UNVEILS “RISING 50” LIST OF FUTURE TOP-SELLING STARS  

Odell Beckham Jr. (left), Le’Veon Bell, Marcus Mariota, Antonio Brown andT.Y. Hilton Top Inaugural Rankings

NFL Players Inc. (NFLPI), the marketing and licensing arm of the NFL Players Association, has unveiled its first-ever “Rising 50” list, aimed at identifying for sponsors, licensees, retailers and future partners the next crop of NFL players poised to break out and rank among top sellers of licensed merchandise.

Read more: As the Big Game nears, who are the rising retail stars in the NFL?

Anyone that tells you that technology does not affect their buying practices is probably saying it on their flip phone or mailing it to you on stationary. Not only is technology changing the way we make purchases, it is altering our entire perception of progressive retail interactions. From inception to the memory of a past purchase, Western society has gone digital.

Read more: From Concept to Completion, Tech Is Changing It All

There is an inexcusable and avoidable problem in customer service today: 73% of brands think they care for consumers, yet only 36% of consumers agree, according to a recent Mblox survey. The retail industry performed only slightly better than the cross-industry average (36%), with 41% of those surveyed saying they felt cared for by retailers. Clearly, there is major room for improvement – but where do retailers start, and why is this gap so important to fix?

Because this gap will impact the bottom line sooner rather than later. Take this year’s holiday shopping season, for example. Mobile stood out from the pack – Cyber Monday mobile sales were up 27.6% over 2013. Increasingly, consumers are making purchases outside of brick-and-mortar stores, underscoring the need for brands to reach outside their physical locations to care for their customers, taking advantage of various channels and messages. This approach will create customer advocates and set the tone for sustained business.

Read the full story on the RM Blog