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Ensuring IT Teams Can Be at Their "Prime" on Special Shopping Days
The Amazon Prime Day craziness is over for this year, but major global retailers are still racing to compete, offering impressive deals of their own. Similar to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, major retailers will need to prioritize digital speed, ecommerce site load times, mitigate outages and coordinate with brick-and-mortar locations to keep up with the influx of shoppers. 

IT teams working with retailers must overcome a myriad of challenges to ensure these special shopping seasons run smoothly. As everyone enjoys Amazon Prime Day, competitor deal days and then gears up for the fall back-to-school shopping, leading industry experts have provided tips for IT teams to be prepared for any busy shopping season.

Lex Boost, CEO, Leaseweb USA

"With Amazon Prime Day on the horizon, shoppers are bound to inundate the site in search of deals. This year however, Amazon doesn't have the day to itself; other major retailers are planning on throwing their hats in the ring and offering promotions of their own. With all this anticipated activity, retailers will be challenged to keep their technology up-to-date to meet the demand.

Slow load times, broken links and a poor user experience are unacceptable to shoppers expecting the convenience of online shopping, and this can be the difference between a confirmed order and shopper that looks elsewhere. Web sites unable to handle the traffic spikes immediately lose out on sales, and even worse, they negatively impact their brand and disappoint customers who might have otherwise become loyal consumers.

To get the most out of these peak shopping days, retailers need to prioritize and measure the speed of load times. During these busy moments, they also need to protect against downtime and make sure their site doesn't get overstretched. Optimizing web sites to be able to accommodate more traffic must be a long-term goal, not only the special days.

By employing a CDN service, sites can manage increases in speed, scalability, resilience and security, as well as take advantage of significant savings on bandwidth cost, and reduce load on their web server. They also need to take proper security measures by choosing a protected platform. If shoppers feel unsafe, they won't return.

Online retailers can easily justify the cost of these upgrades by simply calculating the cost of any new hardware, software, or services that they are planning to implement compared to the cost of 1000, 100, or even just 10 lost sales. It quickly becomes clear that accommodating seasonal traffic makes sound financial sense."

Caroline Seymour, VP of Product Marketing, Zerto

"Amazon's Prime Days are quickly becoming a new retail holiday, much like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With Amazon's Prime Days website outage last year, Amazon and other retailers that are planning competing big sales of their own should prepare for high spikes in traffic and take precautions for IT system overloads, just as they do for the traditional holiday season. Outages at any time, especially during peak times, can have a profoundly negative effect on the bottom line and on customer loyalty.

Retailers that take steps to make their infrastructure more resilient and continually replicate data will be able to recover quickly from any downtime. Innovative retailers are increasing their use of data mobility and orchestration to pre-position workloads to the cloud to scale more easily.

Retailers should prioritize moving critical applications such as POS systems to the cloud as part of their disaster recovery plans. The ability to quickly, easily and safely move workloads to a cloud environment, whether it be Azure, IBM Cloud or AWS, a managed service provider or private cloud, will ensure they are prepared for any disruption and that downtime and systemic risk to the business are completely mitigated."

Todd Krautkremer, CMO, Cradlepoint

"Amazon Prime Days are becoming the next big retail holiday and a good reminder to prepare for peak traffic as we approach the traditional back-to-school and holiday shopping season.

To minimize the risk of business downtime, retailers need to transform their wide-area networks to provide always-on access from brick and mortar stores to remote pop-up stores and kiosks and provide greater bandwidth to handle the increase in traffic. The good news is that today's 4G LTE wireless networks are more pervasive, delivering faster speeds than ever before. Over 75% of the world's top retail brands are already using LTE to provide non-stop connectivity to mission-critical applications and the cloud, to isolate and securely connect ‘store-within-a-store' deployments, and to provide anywhere, anytime connectivity for pop-ups and seasonal stores. The cost, availability and speed of today's 4G LTE services make it attainable for retailers of all sizes, allowing them to leverage cloud applications to reduce costs and improve customer experience. And because it helps keep their critical systems online, they can avoid having Black Friday and other big sales turn into a ‘black eye.'"
Published Wednesday, July 17, 2019 9:46 AM by David Marshall
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