Guest Column | November 23, 2021

How Retailers Can Maintain The Optimal Online Experience During Peak Shopping Season

By Lex Boost, Leaseweb USA

eCommerce Retail Tech

Retailers have had a lot to gain from the increase in digital transformation over the past few years. Shopping online is now the new norm and has caused the global online shopping market size to reach nearly $4 trillion in 2020 alone. 

Leading the charge for two of the most lucrative online shopping days for retailers are, of course, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. During Black Friday of 2020, $9 billion was spent online worldwide which was a nearly 22% surge from the previous year. Likewise, online sales reached $10.8 billion on Cyber Monday last year. 

Retailers also have a lot to gain in the overall holiday shopping season beyond just these two days. A recent survey revealed 31% of U.S. consumer respondents began shopping before the end of October this year and they will continue into the New Year. 

A new era of retail is here and enterprises who are not adjusting risk being left in the dust this holiday shopping season. Large enterprises have the upper hand and have learned that not focusing on online infrastructure during this time can cause millions of dollars in lost revenue. 

Online services need to be a priority for retailers. The worst outcome is for an organization’s website to experience downtime during the busiest time of the year. Even an outage for a couple of minutes can cost companies millions in operation costs and impact the overall reputation of an organization in the eyes of a customer.

The Role Of Technology In The Enhanced Online Shopping Experience 

Enhanced technology has made shopping extremely convenient for customers. Unfortunately, this applies more pressure on retailers to maintain excellent service. Customers will always want to shop on the fastest, most secure, and most reliable website. They do not want to miss the promotions that retailers are offering or to have the website crash when the items are ready for checkout. Especially during the busiest time of the year, customers want the same reliable experience — if not even more so. 

Luckily, as online shopping has transformed over the past few years, so has the infrastructure that powers the encounters. An infrastructure that can handle large flows of traffic without delays is ideal for keeping customers satisfied. Here’s how retailers can avoid some of the most common issues to deliver an above-average shopping experience this year. 

Prioritize infrastructure. An enterprise's infrastructure should be handled well throughout the entire year; however, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the rest of the holiday season are especially crucial times to have the most reliable infrastructure. Managing and maintaining the infrastructure during a hectic time is a daunting task and should be handled with care. Partnering with a trusted cloud-hosting organization can take away the stress of managing those time-consuming tasks.

Consider a provider with metered or burstable billing. A restriction that many companies worry about when preparing their infrastructure for high volume workloads is the cost of maintenance. Cloud-hosting solutions that offer metered billing are the best options for high-volume needs for retailers. This method allows companies to pay only for the service they use. 

Alternatively, there are cloud-hosting solutions that provide burstable billing which allows retailers to meet short-term demands when necessary — without having to continuously commit to a high level of usage. This allows companies to not break the bank to provide excellent service to their customers. Burstable bandwidth billing connects the server to a port with committed and maximum speeds in megabits per second, whereby committed bandwidth is typically included in the server price. 

Use solutions built to scale. To meet the challenging demands for infrastructure brought on by the holiday season, retailers need to rely on a cloud hosting service that allows them to grow. Scalability is a benefit that is provided by a trusted cloud-hosting solution. As the online world over the past year and a half has demonstrated, it is difficult to predict what the next new challenge will be. 

Companies need to have their dedicated servers ready whenever there is a spike in demand. As mentioned before, the quickest way to make a customer dissatisfied is to provide them with an unresponsive site when they are ready to purchase. 

E-commerce businesses should seek services that allow infrastructure to be flexible. A successful online retail platform requires a choice of powerful dedicated servers, public and private clouds, CDN, cybersecurity, and hybrid solutions to optimize any e-commerce infrastructure.

Make All Holidays Merry And Bright 

The stakes are high every holiday season. Money and reputations are at risk every year, but success is attainable by partnering with the right hosting solution. The right provider can not only help retailers flourish during peak online shopping periods this holiday season, but also prepare them for surprises in the future. A new era of retail has been ushered in by evolving technology and it will only continue on this path - it’s time to adapt.

About The Author

Lex Boost is CEO of Leaseweb USA.