How E-Retailers Can Thrive During Hectic Holiday Shopping Season

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How E-Retailers Can Thrive During Hectic Holiday Shopping Season

Imagine customers walking into your store on Black Friday and picking up their favorite gadget, only to put it back down after taking a peek at the long checkout line. That’s a very real scenario: As retailers, banks, digital payment processors and security become increasingly available in the cloud, online shopping is becoming a more cost-effective and secure alternative to traditional in-store retail. Technology has revolutionized the shopping experience and raised consumer expectations to new heights. E-retailers have to stay on the ball, too. What do e-retailers need to know to compete and thrive at the digital edge? This eWEEK slide show, using industry information from Equinix, offers some tips on this.

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Online Speed Starts With Cutting Ecosystem Latency

The first step in the digital transformation journey for a retail company is to get away from slow loading pages for their consumers. There is also high importance tied to cutting down the latency to the various partners who are part of the sales cycle ecosystem—low latency to ad-ix, cloud providers, fraud service providers and payment processors. This step toward transformation can start by cutting down latency in connectivity while consuming cloud services easily.

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Modern Web Architecture Can Work Wonders

An architecture that relies on dispersed interconnection nodes strategically placed at the digital edge can ensure proximity to all the counterparties with which a given retailer needs to connect. Proximity is essential because it’s the only way to guarantee the fastest, most secure, lowest-latency experience, ultimately leading to faster “checkout lanes.”

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Customers Have More Choices Than Ever

Along with convenience, the online world also comes with a plethora of choices; hence e-retailers have a limited window of proving the value of their online store by offering better choice, more competitive pricing and quicker access to the right products. Helping social media sites monetize “pins, likes and shares” and helping brands and retailers direct those into purchases are another way to make the most of data.

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Target Like Never Before

It is extremely important for e-tailers to customize environments and personalize offers to their customers’ individual needs and priorities. User consumption data is a huge asset available to online e-retailers, providing them with a clear view of exactly what consumers are looking for. Using this data to target the right ad at the right time will make it easier for the consumers to buy.

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Preparedness Can't Be Overemphasized

The readiness of e-retailers to tackle the cyber holiday shopping season, which extends far beyond Cyber Monday, now has become very important. Consumers often see the huge rush of advertisements targeting them, but there is a lot that can happen at the back end, where big and small, popular and niche e-retailers anticipate the demand and work to get their infrastructure sorted to handle the massive online traffic.

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Balancing Security With User Convenience

A great market opportunity for e-retailers is no different for cyber-hackers. Dialing in any less than the right amount of approvals/declines to maximize profitability of user transactions could come at a heavy price. In the light of recent cyber-security attacks, protecting the retailer brand from hacked payment data, DDOS attacks and fraud is a given foundation for any online business model. What used to be inventory-related worries for brick and mortar stores has elevated to larger concerns around security, which is even more critical when it has to do with the identity and payment details of their customers.

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Digital Payments Are Breaking Records, So Use Them

Going beyond the major payment card brands is a way to open the doors to more consumers, such as accepting those brands via NFC/mobile wallets. When PayPal announced last month that its mobile payments service Venmo was available for use at more than 2 million online U.S. retailers, it was another drop in the ocean of industry developments we are seeing in the digital payment space.

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Loyalty Points Provide a Good Payment Experience

Another prevalent industry trend is the integration of loyalty points in a retailer wallet as a new payment experience. This industry is one of the fastest-changing sectors, impacted by the rapid growth of digitization, regulatory pressures, e-commerce and mobile adoption, competitive forces and consumer demands. The latest innovation in digital payments strives to create faster, more convenient and more secure transactions among networks, mobile carriers, banks, e-commerce providers and non-traditional payment vendors. 

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Cross-Border Market Opportunities

As there is a Cyber Monday in the U.S., there is also a Singles’ Day in China. Every market has its own online shopping triggers, and the nature of this business model allows foreign retailers (think Alibaba in the U.S. or Amazon in India) to compete for those dollars. While retailers know location is a key component in the success of a shop, they are now realizing that has also become true for IT. They must be in a highly interconnected place if they want to continue to compete and develop their business.

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