With Akamai to help protect the brand and deliver a better customer experience, we are prepared for the peak season and new business opportunities every day of the year."Rodrigo Godoi , Head of Cybersecurity , Riachuelo
Online performance and security in retail and finance
Committed to providing a great online shopping experience, Riachuelo expanded its services into the financial sector to meet customer demands for greater innovation and convenience. To create a new digital payment application, the Brazilian fashion retailer partnered with Akamai for strong firewall protection and exceptional performance.
A popular brand combines the convenience of online shopping with a digital bank
As one of the largest fashion retailers in Brazil, Riachuelo aims to create a better shopping experience for customers on the brand’s digital platforms, including its website, e-commerce sites, and apps. Always attentive to changing market needs and consumer behaviors, Riachuelo has introduced solutions to improve customer service, bringing digital payment capabilities to its retail business. The company has also offered credit card services for 12 years, which has resulted in a database of more than 30 million customers.
Rodrigo Godoi, head of cybersecurity at Riachuelo, knows how important digital security is. “It is absolutely essential that we offer quality and, above all, security in our digital services, even more so when we unify two such significant market fronts as the retail and financial sectors with a digital bank,” says Godoi. “Our security strategy is based on protecting data to ensure the trust of our customers while providing a better shopping experience on a single platform.”
With a background in the high-risk world of banking cybersecurity, Godoi brings a valuable perspective, as cyberthreats and attacks are often greater in financial services than in other industries. He also understands the unique circumstances retail companies face.
“When it comes to cybersecurity, banks are very different from retail, but we understand the urgency of protection when it comes to employee and customer data, and the need for a strong firewall defense and robust protection at all levels,” he says.
One of Godoi’s main concerns was distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, which can cripple a network. “A successful attack can cost a bank millions of dollars and erode consumer confidence,” Godoi says. “I felt certain that Akamai, with their proven reliability and excellent reputation in the financial industry, was the best solution for firewall protection of our internet-facing systems.”
Investing in speed, security, and customer experience
Riachuelo had already been using Akamai Dynamic Site Delivery and Ion to optimize performance on the website, e-commerce site, and other applications — providing the speed and responsiveness that customers expect from their shopping experiences.
With Akamai, the company’s web and mobile performance increased by 40%, which significantly reduced traffic costs and has enabled more people to circulate on the brand’s networks and platforms. Riachuelo also implemented Akamai Image & Video Manager, which reduces image sizes, improves quality, and speeds application delivery — speeding load times as customers scroll through product pages.
During the decision process, Godoi ran a test on Kona Site Defender to see if it could provide better firewall protection for the company’s digital applications.
“Based on our partnership, I trusted Akamai to do a proof of concept (PoC) of Kona Site Defender, starting in the month of Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year,” Godoi says. “We kept the PoC going until Christmas and will be forever grateful to the Akamai team for being with us for all that time, ensuring it would be a success.”
Kona Site Defender plus Ion provided visibility into key metrics such as performance, security, threats, and others, so Godoi could demonstrate the value of the investment. “Based on the numbers, Akamai allowed us to avoid an average of three hours of downtime per month and thereby prevent revenue losses,” he says.
Riachuelo keeps its customers — and its brand — safe with Akamai
After Riachuelo implemented the new Akamai solutions — and before the COVID-19 pandemic — e-commerce traffic quadrupled, and the retailer was receiving up to 25,000 orders per day. With the optimization of retail and financial operations in the cloud, Riachuelo was able to handle a significant increase in volume. At the same time, processes were more efficient and cost-effective, with fewer physical and infrastructure resources required and more remote flexibility.
The big challenge was to test the security of these processes on a larger scale. Cyberattacks grew quickly during the pandemic, taking advantage of the massive increase in digital transactions. Riachuelo got ahead of the curve to protect its employees and customers, focusing particularly on protecting customers who did not usually buy online — people who were used to making payments physically and would find it harder to detect suspicious behavior.
“In a single month, we saw a tenfold increase in DDoS attacks on our credit card site. In addition, there were some phishing and payment fraud attacks targeting more vulnerable retail customers,” Godoi says. “Thanks to Akamai, we were able to detect and mitigate all the threats we found. That gave us peace of mind.”
In fact, Kona Site Defender and Edge DNS blocked all DDoS attempts while also defending against SQL injections and cross-site scripting. Riachuelo also had visibility into each threat through SIEM Integration (security information and event management), while Bot Manager Premier protected customers from payment fraud, identifying malicious bots that tried to lure customers to fake payment sites and collect their personal data.
By stopping these attacks before they cause damage, Riachuelo is helping to ensure that its customers’ data and information stay protected, reinforcing confidentiality and demonstrating the kind of preparation the company has invested in to secure and strengthen its entry into the financial market.
A fashion brand that continues to evolve
With more than 330 stores, two factories, and three distribution centers, in addition to expanding the banking services for its digital business, Riachuelo is reaching new customers and markets with a focus on meeting customer needs. It plans to migrate the database of millions of credit card customers to the digital bank, using discounts and promotions to drive cross-selling. That’s good for both sides of the business and great for consumers, who get access to valuable products and services from one trusted brand.
Going forward, Riachuelo continues to innovate with different formats and tools to create better shopping experiences for its customers. Reinforcing this omnichannel concept, in which everything is found on a single platform, Riachuelo’s marketplace is in step with the trend of combining financial services with retail.
“With Akamai to help protect the brand and deliver a better customer experience, we are prepared for the peak season and new business opportunities every day of the year,” Godoi says. With a single aligned solution for performance and security, Riachuelo can continue to evolve — staying focused on its customers and making fashion more affordable and accessible across Brazil.
Guararapes is the largest fashion group in Brazil and the parent company of the retail chain Lojas Riachuelo, one of the country’s largest clothing department store chains, with more than 330 stores nationwide. Since it began operations, the group has striven to supply high-quality products at affordable prices, always seeking to satisfy its customers and add value for its shareholders. One of its main differentials is the integration of its manufacturing and retail arms, a model that has proved successful worldwide, enabling Guararapes-Riachuelo to respond rapidly to changes and trends in the market and the fashion world.
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