Black Friday 2018: How to handle surge in online traffic boosting sales up to 11%
Black Friday last year saw a staggering $5bn spent online in the US and £1.4bn spent online in the UK; with research showing that just a one-second delay in page-load time equates to 11% fewer page views, which could have severe repercussions for a retailer brand.
The top 500 retailers earn an estimated $6.5bn from social shopping in 2017, up by 24% from 2016, according to a report by Kantar TNS.
This shows that social media platforms are becoming a marketing tool for generating online purchases, thus retailers cannot afford to be unprepared for this staggering amount of data traffic.
Eleni Coldrey, Equinix’s EMEA lead for innovation in Financial Services told Data Economy: “If e-commerce players get digital payments and all its many moving parts that require real-time collaboration across various mobile networks right, major online sales can be some of the most lucrative milestones in the annual retail calendar.
“If they get it wrong, they face lost revenue and reputational damage – it’s simply not worth the risk.”
With that being said, it is important for retailers to be prepared.
Adrian Whitehouse, Alliances Director EMEA & APAC at Elastic Path warned that brands should have tested their systems far in advance of Black Friday to ensure they are prepared for the potential thousands of transactions a minute.
The big driver for online shopping growth was increased mobile sales via smartphones and tablets.
In 2017, purchases made via smartphones were 39% higher than the previous year – which was new record for online shopping growth.
“Seasonal shopping days such as Black Friday test the peak capacity of IT resources, often to breaking point,” said Gary Watson, CTO of StorCentric and founder of Nexsan.
“It’s important to ensure any IT environment can meet the retailer’s needs and isn’t being stretched beyond its limits.”
Digital payments involve many moving parts, requiring real-time collaboration across various mobile networks, operators, financial institutions, card networks, retailers and fraud protection services – these all need to be fully-functioning to make processes as smooth as possible for the end customer.
A robust digital infrastructure means that websites aren’t impacted by latency or resiliency, allowing customers to safely and quickly make digital payments at all times.
Andrew Fowkes, Head of Retail Centre of Excellence at SAS UK & Ireland stresses that in order for retailers to survive they need to utilise the data at their disposal to keep up with consumer trends and adapt to the constantly changing demands.
“Retailers can drastically boost customer experience by utilising the data provided by online shopping as well as helping them to grow their database. Technology has enabled businesses to deliver more personalised offers and smoother customer journeys, in turn, helping shoppers make faster and smarter decisions,” he added.
“Consumers are willing to share their information with retailers as long as they trust them to deliver something valuable in return.”
This time of year is notorious for cyberattacks due to the spike in shopping site traffic towards the end of November.
Dave Kennerley, Director of Threat Research at Webroot, commented that the best way to avoid sensitive data falling into the wrong hands is to improve education around phishing attacks so that security experts can act collaboratively with end users to improve vigilance and boost defences.
Mark Adams, Regional VP for the UK and Ireland dishes some advices for tomorrows Black Friday rush.
“Real-time monitoring is vital as this not only speeds up troubleshooting of potential issues and diagnosing the root cause, but it also enables IT teams to get on top of issues before they materialise into something more serious,” he said.
“Retailers must make data consistently available in order to drive a competitive edge.”
The good news is that many businesses are already using cloud to cope with demands on this once-a-year day which has now become a regular annual event.
Top picture by Diariocritico de Venezuela