How Data Responsiveness Can Make or Break Your Holiday Season
Each year seems like a new bar to clear for holiday shopping. In 2021, online retail sales were up 11 percent over 2020 despite obstacles like bottlenecks in supply chains and rising prices. This year, the United States Postal Service is preparing to handle 50 million packages per day during the holiday shopping season, and retailers need to be ready, too.
E-commerce operations are facing a wealth of challenges, and data responsiveness is one of the biggest.
Retailers that have successful holiday seasons execute a digital strategy that ensures customers get consistent and uninterrupted experiences across all channels and devices, even during the most chaotic, high-volume periods. This has become table stakes for doing business, as digital.com reports that half of online shoppers will abandon their carts if pages don’t load fast enough.
To provide a latency-free, personalized shopping experience, retailers need to prioritize data responsiveness and support scalability requirements during peak holiday season. Unless you can ensure data is instantly available and accurate, customers and revenue may be lost.
Let’s take a closer look at why data responsiveness is so important, especially during the holiday shopping season.
Rising Consumer Expectations
E-commerce is no easy feat to manage. The culmination of inventory, delivery workflows and user experience makes operating an omnichannel system complex. Customers are expecting more of retailers and aren’t tolerant of latency issues, even as these systems grow with new channels, thus requiring more data.
The digital.com study says that 53 percent of consumers believe an e-commerce web page should take a maximum of three seconds to load. When a site takes longer than they think it should, 46 percent blame the company for not having the necessary infrastructure to run a functioning website.
With the stakes that high, you need to ensure you can process data quickly and gain real-time insights so you can act on it in the moment. Using in-memory computing, you can operationalize transactional processing and machine learning to make data more responsive, offering more visibility and performance that meets customers’ demands. A single source of record that holds order and inventory data can empower you to offer a consistent experience across all channels and devices, even during the highest holiday traffic peaks.
A Personalized Experience
Not only are customers expecting a seamless experience, they also expect a personalized one. Accenture reports that an overwhelming 91 percent of online customers expect relevant, personalized experiences and recommendations when they visit e-commerce websites, and 48 percent will leave due to poor product curation.
Consumers want offers that are customized to their needs based on past purchases and seasonality. You need data that can be consolidated and analyzed across all engagement channels in any given moment. The ability to process all that data at sub-second scale can turn your system of record from a data-loaded behemoth to a business accelerator.
According to a study by Constructor, hyperpersonalization is the top trend for e-commerce in 2022, and using advanced tools like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can automate search results and help raise conversion rates.
Increased Holiday Traffic
Not only do you need to be able to provide low-latency, seamless, personalized experiences to customers, you also need to be able to scale when it matters most. According to Fastly, U.S. e-commerce traffic in 2021 peaked 42 percent above the baseline on Black Friday and 38 percent on Cyber Monday, both higher than the 2020 peaks.
While you need to prepare for those peaks, preparation can’t wait until the last minute because the holiday shopping season is right around the corner. Major retailers recently reported an excess of inventory, and they need the technology to help them move it.
With sales and customer retention at stake, you can use advanced technologies like in-memory computing, AI and ML to scale when needed. Having responsive data allows you to remain competitive, accelerate customer growth, and provide continuity across all channels and devices.
When your data is accurate, quickly accessible, and actionable, it can make all the difference in having the most profitable holiday season.
Adi Paz is the CEO of GigaSpaces, an in-memory digital integration hub.
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