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Summertime and the Living is Not So Easy - Holiday Readiness

It's summertime!  While most people are relaxing at the beach or enjoying a BBQ, here at Akamai we've already shifted sights towards the winter to provide relief for retailers by ensuring they have fast, reliable and secure e-commerce sites in time for the holidays.  The holiday season, after all, is just around the corner.  Here are four key ways we are helping retailers convert more shoppers into buyers while also securing their web experiences:


(1)  Make the experience fast

Last year, for the first time, Akamai saw more than 50% of holiday traffic from mobile devices during certain periods of the day.  This trend will undoubtedly continue as shoppers embrace multi-channel experiences while accessing content from different devices at different times of the day.  Akamai's Real User Monitoring (RUM) provides retailers with a detailed understanding of the actual page load time visitors experience across the myriad of devices and networks.  Akamai Ion provides the fastest acceleration for content accessed on all types of devices and networks including the unique challenges of responsive web design, congested cellular networks and those pesky API calls which slow down the mobile app experience.


2)  Make the experience reliable

In 2014, the Akamai Retail Net Usage Index saw daily average increase by as much as 100% year-over-year relative to the same day in 2013.  The peak to average traffic varied by as much as 300% for the same day.  Advanced cache optimizations offload dynamic and reusable requests to ensure companies get the maximum scale out of their infrastructure, since most requests are served by Akamai.  This year, we're paying particular attention to help fix other bottlenecks that can arise due to 3rd party content and the increasing number of API calls sent to/from mobile apps.  Akamai Visitor and API Prioritization Cloudlets help retailers gracefully manage traffic in the event of overflow.


(3)  Make the experience secure

Last year, we saw as much as 2.5x the normal number of web application firewall rules trigger on peak shopping days than on a normal day, and a 12% increase in the number of IP addresses hiding behind a proxy.  Application hacks like SQL injections continue to be a problem and Kona Site Defender + Client Reputation provides the foundation for helping customers keep up with the evolving threat landscape by leveraging data from Cloud Security Intelligence.  With new DDoS attacks out in the wild like DD4BC, we are expecting to see more extortion based attacks threating to knock sites offline - Kona and Prolexic can help.


(4)  Make marketing more effective

A recent eMarketer study1 found that only a third of companies felt the relationship between IT and Marketing was very strong.  Yet in the same study the majority of tech executives said e-commerce strategy was a shared responsibility by both IT and Marketing.  To address this, we're offering up a new set of services that help better align the two departments.  First, is our new Image & Video Manager service.  Image & Video Manager makes it easy for development and creative teams to automate their image pre-processing workflow by intelligently creating and delivering rich, web-ready images suited for every device type.  Our new Forward Rewrite Cloudlet helps manage the rewriting from dynamic to semantic URLs which can improve search indexing, click thru rates and help provide vanity names for campaign activities.  Finally, our new Audience Segmentation Cloudlet allows for simple match-based segmentation of audiences to help towards multivariate testing and maximizing the effectiveness of holiday content and promotions.

Long before you even think about your shopping list, retailers have an ever expanding list to prepare themselves for the holiday season.  So its summertime... and the living is not so easy.  However, up-front preparation combined with expertise from Akamai Service & Support who've helped thousands of retailers be successful during the holidays will go a long way towards making your online business this holiday season a walk in a winter wonderland.

Listen to this webinar to learn more about how Akamai can help retailers achieve a successful holiday season, hear the latest e-commerce trends and best practices from a former CIO at Guitar Center.

1 eMarketer "Can't Marketing and IT Just Get Along?" - June 2015



Neil Cohen is the Vice President of Product Marketing for Akamai