Retail Has One Chance to Get User Experience Right. Here’s How Your Business Can Prepare
As restrictions lift and more people venture further from home, the retail, hospitality and travel industries are now experiencing a resurgence after a quiet year. It’s now full steam ahead for the restaurant, hotel, and venue industries — so much so, in fact, that in LinkedIn’s recent list of the most in-demand jobs, in-person sales positions have grown considerably, with titles such as salesperson, store associate and retail salesperson ranking high.
However, this resurgence comes with an increase of digital conveniences put in place before and during the pandemic. To put their best foot forward and gain the trust of resurfacing customers, organizations have one shot to get user experience right and set their businesses up for success.
Digital is Here to Stay
Although in-person retail is making a comeback, it’s safe to say many of the technologies developed before and during the pandemic are now the norm. Late last year, research firm Gartner predicted that by 2024, 80 percent of ordering and replenishment will be touchless for most organizations. In 2021, Gartner also reported that 82 percent of chief financial officers at major organizations will increase digital investment, covering areas like information technology, sales, supply chain, and more.
Whether ordering a meal online, accessing a menu with a QR code, booking a hotel room with a few taps on a screen, or paying for all of this via a payment application, one thing remains the same: if any of the apps that keep these businesses running crash, lag or experience a security breach, the effect on the end user can range from losing patience or, even worse, having personal data exposed. As many businesses try to recover from the economic slumps of the pandemic, they can’t afford to lose much-needed customers to a competitor.
Support IT Through Full-Stack Observability With Business Context
Now is the perfect opportunity for leaders in retail and hospitality to support and fund the technologies that will keep users browsing, buying and coming back for more. In a recent report, our team at AppDynamics surveyed more than 1,000 IT professionals across a range of industries, finding more than 75 percent of technologists said their organization needs to connect full-stack observability to business outcomes within 12 months in order to remain competitive.
What's full-stack observability, you ask? It’s a tool IT professionals use to monitor, and can put the wide and complex data that keeps applications and the businesses they support into context as well as run and function well. For example, if you have a pizza delivery app and there’s a bug preventing customers from paying for their order, having a strategy centered on full-stack observability allows an IT team to easily pinpoint the problem and address it before the customer ever notices anything.
This is especially important when combined with business context because it allows IT to map performance back to the company's overall goals. This means IT isn’t working in a silo — they’re working with business leadership and security teams to make sure the end user is getting the best possible experience.
Investing Wisely Now Will Set Your Business Up Well Later
If you’re a business leader, there are a few questions you should be asking sooner rather than later: What are your business' goals? How does IT fit into them? Have you put time, energy and money into your business’ security strategy and tied it to your overall goals? If any of these answers are incomplete, it’s time to rethink and re-strategize.
After determining what needs to be done, it’s crucial to put a tangible plan in place to make it happen. For business leaders to ensure the best possible results from a digital investment, they need to invest in IT, in terms of both technology tools and the people that manage them. Prioritizing IT talent and budget will ensure that business leaders can lay the groundwork to address any issues that may arise later. When it comes to user experience, being proactive rather than reactive is key.
No matter which part of the retail or hospitality world a business operates in, engaging a strategy centered on full-stack observability and giving your IT teams the tools they need to succeed will only help as companies navigate the waters of post-pandemic life. Making these decisions now ensures that your business can weather future storms and protect its employees, brand and customers.
Joe Byrne is a regional CTO at AppDynamics, the application intelligence company and part of the Cisco family.
Related story: Making Change: Put the Digital Customer Experience First
Joe Byrne is a Regional CTO at AppDynamics, the Application Intelligence company and part of the Cisco family. With AppDynamics, enterprises have real-time insights into application performance, user performance and business performance.
His primary focus is on working with customers and prospects on APM strategy and helping with digital transformations. He also works closely with Sales, Marketing, Product and Engineering on product strategy. Prior to AppDynamics, Joe held technology leadership roles at Albertsons, EllieMae and Johnson and Johnson.