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Study: Even millisecond delays impact customer engagement, revenue

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The user experience is critical to e-commerce success, a factor that makes snafus in Web performance unacceptable.

Performance is so critical that even a 100-millisecond delay in website load time can hurt conversion rates by 7%. Meanwhile, a two-second delay in Web page load time increase bounce rates by 103%, according to the “State of Online Retail Performance,” a report from Akamai Technologies.

The study represents one month’s worth of anonymous user data from top online retailers, equating to approximately 10 billion user visits. The report was previously issued by SOASTA, which was acquired by Akamai in April 2017.

According to the report, half of consumers browse for products and services on their smartphones. However, due to poor Web performance, only one in five complete purchases using those phones. Currently, 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.

Bounce rates were also highest for mobile phone shoppers, while tablet shoppers had the lowest bounce rate, the report said.

“Results from our State of Online Retail Performance report have shown that user experience is critical to e-commerce success, and things aren’t getting any easier,” said Ash Kulkarni, senior VP and general manager, Web experience division, Akamai. “Customers have extremely short attention spans, and degradations in website performance — no matter how small — can cause consumers to go elsewhere in an instant. Sharing our findings about performance gives online merchants the actionable data they need to stay competitive.”

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Study: Customized, enterprise-wide plans fight cyberthreats

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Senior executives must be ready to tackle the legal and business risks associated with cyberthreats — even before they happen.

This means companies must establish enterprise-wide tactics to identify risks, appraise response metrics and apply company-specific risk mitigation strategies, according to the “2017 Data Security Incident Response Report,” from BakerHostetler. The study analyzed more than 450 cyber incidents that the firm handled last year.

"It's no longer a question of which industries are most at risk. All industries are faced with the task of managing dynamic data security risks,” said Theodore Kobus, leader of the privacy and data protection team. “Even companies in the retail, restaurant and hospitality industries, while highly regulated, had the fourth-highest rate of data security incidents.”

Phishing/hacking/malware incidents accounted for the plurality of incidents for the second year in a row, at 43% — a 12 percentage point jump from a year earlier. The only category for which phishing/hacking/malware was not the most common incident cause was finance and insurance, where employee action/mistake was the top reason, the report said.

Ransomware attacks — where malware prevents or limits users from accessing their system until a ransom is paid — have increased by 500% from a year earlier.

"Having a regularly scheduled system backup and a bitcoin wallet to pay a ransom will help with operational resiliency,” said Kobus. “Ransomware is not likely to go away, and incidents will probably increase over the short term, so companies should be prepared.”

When it comes to minimizing risk against these attacks — as well as respond promptly and thoroughly should a cyber breach occur —the top strategy is to increase awareness of cybersecurity issues through training and education, according to the report.

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VF Corp. CIO to retire

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

VF Corp. is getting a new technology leader.

Martin Schneider, the company’s VP and CIO will retire at the end of 2017. Sandra Harris, VP, global business technology, will succeed Schneider as VP and CIO, effective Jan. 1, 2018. Harris also has been appointed to VF’s senior leadership team.

Schneider has led VF’s global business technology organization for more than 11 years, “a period of tremendous business growth for VF and transformational change in retail through the rise of e-commerce and mobile shopping,” said Scott Roe, VP and CFO. “He and his teams successfully managed numerous large-scale projects that enabled VF and our brands to navigate rapid technological changes, while also ensuring that our associates have the tools and resources to work anywhere in the world.”

Harris is an eight-year veteran of VF, and previously served as VP and CFO, global supply chain, shared services, and direct-to-consumer for VF. She has deep and diverse finance and business experience, and has been a key member of VF’s global business technology leadership team, according to VF.

Harris will work closely with Schneider throughout the rest of 2017 to ensure the successful transition of responsibilities.

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