TECHNOLOGY

Stolen personal data tops consumer worries

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

American consumers worry more about their personal data being stolen than their wallet.

This was according to new data from cyber-security and application delivery solutions provider Radware, which reported that 55% of consumers said data theft ranks above the theft of their wallet (23%), car (10%), cell phone (6%), and house keys (6%).

Retailers need to take consumers’ fear of data theft seriously, especially since cyber-attacks significantly impact customer loyalty and a company’s brand reputation. Less than one-in-four (23%) of Americans said they would continue to do business with a brand after a breach. Meanwhile, 10% said they would no longer do business with that organization, and the majority (68%) said they would need to be convinced that the business fixed the security issue before returning.

The good news is that retail executives understand this threat. More than 40% of companies ranked customer loss as the top threat to their business from a cyber-attack. Retail executives in particular view customer loss as the top threat, with more than half (58%) noting that customer loss was top of mind, the study revealed.

“It’s no surprise that data theft ranks so high in the minds of Americans as a major risk,” said Anna Convery-Pelletier, chief marketing officer for Radware. “It’s easy to buy a new car or a new cell phone, but having private data exposed can have permanent consequences for both the consumer and the brand where the breach occurred. When an organization does not properly secure its network, it is putting its brand reputation in jeopardy and risking its customer base.”

Consumers are most concerned about their hackers gaining access to their Social Security Number, booty that hackers buy and sell for around $2. Yet, full medical records can sell for up to $1,000.

Americans were less concerned with the theft of their banking information (18%), credit card number (9%), health records (9%), private cryptocurrency key (4%), passport information (3%), and driver’s license (2%). These types of records and data, which are often traded and sold on the Internet or Darknet, can easily make their way into the hands of malicious actors, the study reported.

“Some of your most private information can be bought and sold on the internet for less than the price of a cup of coffee,” added Convery-Pelletier.

“While Americans don’t realize how much of their personal information might be stored by the businesses they interact with daily, a breach can quickly put consumer identity, credit, and other information at risk,” she said. “The onus is on organizations to invest in the right technology and services to improve their security posture and prevent these massive breaches from happening in the first place.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Customers’ shopping savviness pays off for Amazon big time

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The sophisticated price searches of Amazon Prime members on Prime Day contributed to the highest level of event participation — and spending — to date.

Consumers hit Amazon’s website on Prime Day ready to buy, but many checked prices outside of Amazon before hitting the buy button. Sixty-two percent of shoppers now check “a couple” or “several” prices. European countries were much more likely to check prices, and France recorded the most consumers likely to check several prices (44%), according to “Beyond the Hype – The Evolution of Consumer Shopping Behaviors,” a study from Periscope By McKinsey.

Among these shoppers, those in the U.K., United States and Italy described themselves as having a planned shopping approach during Prime Day this year, whereas 53% in France and 48% in Germany considered themselves to be more spontaneous.

Despite their shopping style, the amount of customers participating in Prime Day increased between 4x and 5x, with the U.K. having the greatest increase with a multiple of 6.8x. Participation has also multiplied year-over-year in every country from 2015 to 2018, according to the study.

Customers in every country also spent more on Prime Day than in 2017. The biggest jump was in the U.K. where 59% of shoppers spent “a bit more” or “much more.” This was closely followed by France (57%) and Germany (54%). There are also signs the United States is becoming more constrained in its spending, as it was the top country where 40% of shoppers said they “spent the same.”

Consumer electronics was the number one shopping category this Amazon Prime Day with an average 48% of shoppers buying these goods. Books, movies and music (34%), clothing and accessories (37%), and toys (28%) were also highly purchased in all countries. Beauty and fragrance also performed well with an average 28%, followed by kitchen appliances at 26%.

“There is no doubt that Amazon Prime Day keeps gaining in popularity with huge global awareness, and multiplying participation every year,” said Channie Mize, senior VP and global sector general manager, retail, at Periscope By McKinsey.

“Shoppers are spending more at Prime Day, but they are getting smarter, they are becoming increasingly price aware, and are more willing to see what else is available elsewhere online,” Mize said. “It is a huge opportunity to Amazon, but other retailers should take heed that with the right sales initiatives and understanding of their customers, they can keep them loyal and coming back for more.”

Sales like Prime Day are also contributing to the continued decline of purely offline shopping. However, the U.S. trails other countries in its adoption of the online experience with 10% of customers saying they only shop offline. This is more than double other countries, where the average is 4.5%. All countries reported that a mix of online and offline was their dominant way to shop, but an average 16% of customers stated they mostly shop online. Germany and the U.K. led the way in this regard with 21% and 17%, respectively.

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TECHNOLOGY

Abercrombie targets Millennials with digital wallet

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is launching a new payment option to better engage its Millennial customers.

On Tuesday, Aug. 7, the apparel retailer integrated the person-to-person money-transferring platform Venmo within its mobile apps. Venmo will be featured among the payment options in the customer’s shopping bag on both the Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister iOS and Android apps.

A&F Co. is the first specialty retailer to offer customers the ability to purchase products directly though their Venmo account, according to the company.

The mobile apps, which are available in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, are the company’s fastest growing digital channel across its brands. In addition, mobile app customers visit the brands twice as often as its average web customer, A&F Co. reported.

By adding Venom, A&F Co. is giving younger customers, including Millennials and Gen Z shoppers, the ability to pay for purchases.

“We are excited about our Venmo integration, as we know Venmo is an increasingly popular payment option among our Millennial and Gen Z customer bases,” said Joanne Crevoiserat, COO of Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

“As a company, we aim to provide engaging, seamless brand experiences, from product discovery through to checkout and fulfillment,” she said. “Adding Venmo as a payment option supports that goal, and is a powerful addition to our popular, highly rated apps.”

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