Brought to you by Cisco AppDynamics
By Abhilash Purushothaman, Regional Vice President (Asia), Cisco AppDynamics
Key retail dates such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Singles’ Day, as well as the seasonal sales that run throughout December and January, present retailers with a golden opportunity to drive revenues ahead of what is likely to be a tough year end for many brands.
Indeed, soaring energy prices and sharp increases in living costs mean that more than ever before, consumers are looking out for brands that are offering low prices and great deals over the holiday period.
At Cisco AppDynamics, we recently conducted global research (across 12 countries) exploring online shopping intentions this holiday season. We found that while 88 per cent of consumers in Singapore say that they typically wait for online shopping dates (such as Black Friday) and holiday season sales to take advantage of low-cost deals, a staggering 97 per cent admit that it is more important for them to find great deals and cheap prices this year, given rising costs of living and the uncertain economic situation.
Whether it is stocking fillers for children and partners, household essentials or food and drink for family celebrations, people are having to make their money go further this year. And they will undoubtedly look favorably on any brand that can provide the products that they need at lower prices.
Consumers want great deals…and great digital experiences
In response to this heightened demand, retailers need to ensure they are leading with their very best offers this season. They currently have a huge opportunity to attract new customers and drive sales by offering compelling deals.
However, as well as focusing on price, brands should also ensure that they are delivering seamless digital experiences to customers at all times. Online shoppers have become incredibly discerning about the applications and digital services they use; in fact, 86 per cent of consumers in Singapore feel that the experience they get when using a shopping app is now just as important for them as the deals that are on offer.
Retail leaders are all too aware of the dramatic rise in expectations around digital experience over recent years. People have come to rely on applications and digital services in almost all areas of their lives and, as a result, their expectations for these services have gone through the roof. They’ve seen the incredible types of digital experiences being offered by some retailers and they’re now wanting this each and every time they shop online.
In the current environment, shoppers are undoubtedly feeling under pressure to find cheap prices and they know that they need to move quickly to secure the best deals. Ninety-nine per cent state that it is important that shopping apps and digital services provide a fast and seamless experience without any delays or disruption.
Customers are expecting retailers to up their game when it comes to the availability and performance of digital services, from the moment they first use an application, right through to the product arriving at their front door. Indeed, 96 per cent of consumers in Singapore feel that this year, it’s important for retailers to provide regular updates on the status of online purchases, given ongoing supply chain issues and increased anxiety around receiving holiday gifts on time.
It doesn’t matter how good the deals are that retailers are offering; people simply won’t forgive poor online shopping experiences – they’ll just be left feeling frustrated and angry. In fact, 72 per cent of consumers state that retail brands will have one shot to impress them this holiday season and if their application doesn’t perform as they expect, then they won’t use it again.
Brands must ensure they are ready to deliver optimised application performance
Retailers can’t afford to take any chances when it comes to digital experience, not when the stakes are so high this holiday season. A single slip-up could see huge numbers of customers deserting them, possibly forever.
Business and IT leaders need to ensure that their IT teams are able to monitor and optimize IT availability and performance at all times. But the reality is that many IT departments simply don’t have the tools and insights they need to do this.
Across the retail industry, digital transformation initiatives are driving the rapid adoption of cloud native technologies, meaning that IT teams are having to manage and monitor availability and performance across vastly complex cloud native application architectures. But in most cases, they’re struggling to get visibility and insight into their applications and infrastructure running on public clouds.
Modern cloud environments have introduced new levels of complexity, with organizations scaling their IT use up and down based on real-time business needs. And while legacy monitoring solutions have evolved to track both cloud and on-prem deployments, most weren’t purpose-built to manage cloud native environments efficiently.
Today’s highly distributed systems utilise thousands of containers, generating an immense volume of metrics, events, logs and traces (MELT) telemetry every second. And most IT teams lack the tools to make sense of this deluge of data and to quickly troubleshoot application and performance issues that span hybrid environments.
This is why it’s vital for retailers to implement a modern, cloud-native observability solution which allows their IT teams to manage and optimise increasingly complex and dynamic applications and technology stacks.
They need a solution that enables them to monitor the health of key business transactions distributed across their entire technology landscape. With access to quick insights from the business transaction’s telemetry data, technologists can quickly identify the root cause of issues and expedite resolution, leveraging the power of AI and business intelligence to prioritise their actions in the right places.
Those brands that are able to match great holiday season deals with seamless digital experiences will undoubtedly be best placed to take advantage of current consumer demand. On the other hand, those that overlook the critical importance of application performance and focus solely on price, risk missing out on this unprecedented opportunity and seeing customers walking away en masse.