Are you Prepared? It’s that time of year where most retail stores are embarking on their semi-annual sales, or already preparing for the upcoming holiday season sales. Technology today allows us to make purchases from the comfort of our own homes while we are on the internet. In this format, we open the website, and wait virtually to get the deals we want, but we sometimes forget there is a lot of planning that happens for these types of events from a technology perspective too. Recently a friend of mine waited patiently in a virtual line for about 2 hours for to get some really amazing discounts with a high-end retailer. If technology had failed, there would have been frustrated customers, and potentially a lot of lost profits for the retailer.
As a standby observer to this process I couldn’t stop finding myself thinking about what types of technology went into ensuring that this sale went off perfectly. There were over 100,000 people waiting in this virtual line to enjoy their deals from this high-end retailer.
So from the technology perspective what goes into ensure that a retail sale is successful? Find my 5 Technology tips for retailers to ensure this sale goes well for the consumer.
- Ensure that your online website whether on-premises or in the cloud is ready for amount of consumers anticipating to be making purchases. Researching your consumers and understanding the quantity of people in advance will go a long way for your technology team. This will lead to the proper backend configuration, allow for load testing, while ensuring that the technology is ready for this capacity is vital to the success of your retail business. In years past these types of activities have been able to crash a website, leaving money on the table. So be prepared for everything!
- A highly available option is also extremely important to a retail sale of this caliber. If there is an alternative option available for running your system this will ensure that even if there were a technology outage, the alternative option would be back online quickly.
- How about those virtual lines? Choosing a solution that is robust with real-time feedback for the consuming lets them know that they are being taken care of. This is invaluable to the customer experience.
- Inventory accuracy is also vital as it ensures customer happiness when their experience is seamless and delivery is well executed. An accurate inventory database system is necessary for the overall superb customer experience.
- Mechanical redundancy is also important, and what I mean by this is that everything from the power to the backup generator should be evaluated. Recently in the airline industry during a power/generator test a failure occurred in the process that caused a fire. Due to the location of the backup system being on the same power flights were delayed and system access was impaired for the better part of the day.
So, wow! Who would have ever thought there was so much preparing and planning that needed to happen to be ready for any situation just for me to attend an online sale successfully.
And finally, remember that as the consumer, I really don’t care how it’s done, I just need a process so that when I attend an online sale the process is simple, it must work, and function properly from start to finish. Now it’s time for some online shopping!