September 9 arrived once again to kickstart the 2019 sales season to the delight of many online bargain hunters out there. The annual 9.9 sales hosted by eCommerce brands, Lazada and Shopee, had millions of shoppers flocking to their shopping applications to make the most out of the promotions and discounts in the 24-hour window across the ASEAN region. In fact, Shopee recorded more than 5.8 million orders while Lazada saw more than 10 million shoppers visiting their platform last year.
With online shopping numbers set to grow even more this year, even the shortest downtime or slowdown in performance on their platforms can potentially lead to lost revenue opportunities and customer dissatisfaction. While Amazon was making an estimated $1.2million per minute on Prime Day 2018, it also experienced a loss in potential sales to the tune of $90 million during its 75 minutes downtime. This incident pretty much validates the fact that customer experience must be the top priority for eCommerce brands during such shopping events.
With the upcoming sales season right around the corner, how can eCommerce brands be better prepared for the traffic typhoon that will be hitting them soon? Here’s a list that eCommerce brands should be checking off to ensure that they are on track to make the most out of the sales season:
Predicting Patterns to Assign Resources Better
While marketers can rejoice at meeting their target numbers, the teams dealing with backend delivery of the application are often left scampering to manage the influx of traffic to their applications during shopping events like these. So, how do these teams then manage these spikes to ensure their application is up, running and performant throughout? Firstly, teams can use historical data from previous shopping events to determine exactly when these spikes occur.
Next, teams should also take into account the various promotions that the marketers are intending to stagger throughout the day. Half the battle is won by predicting the traffic flow alone.
Once there is an indication of the expected traffic flow, the teams can then work on optimizing the traffic flow while increasing customer touchpoints. Jeju Air, the fastest-growing airline in Korea, is a prime example of how an optimized, integrated solution that enhances reliability, security, and the ability to handle traffic surges, truly enhances the customer experience. Even though the airline regularly pushes out online promotions, its IT team is able to easily manage and divert traffic during surges to ensure the best experience to capture all potential sales on the site.
What makes your customers tick when shopping online?
According to F5 Network’s Curve of Convenience research, the Asian consumer base alone comprises of many different personalities when it comes to application usage, behavior and attitude towards security. For instance, seven in 10 Singaporeans will not hesitate to drop an application if data security has been compromised. Furthermore, half of application users surveyed in APAC are prioritizing security over convenience.
What exactly does this imply for eCommerce brands when it comes to shopping events and promotions? The influx of traffic can be (and has been) used as a ruse by cybercriminals to sneak malware into any organization’s system, allowing them to gain access to the treasure trove of customer data that these brands have accumulated. An attack of this nature launched during shopping events will naturally tick off customers, and potentially hinder future performance.
The challenge lies in delivering application with speed and security, something that Shinsegae Internet Duty Free has accomplished by implementing a robust security solution. The retailer was able to discover unusual traffic patterns to protect their system against threats to enhance their security without impacting the end-user experience.
Automation: The One ring that binds them all
We have established some of what eCommerce brands need to work on to achieve the desired outcomes from shopping events. The fact remains that the more layers and policies that are pushed out, the more delays can be expected, making it counterintuitive to do so. This explains why brands overlook security policies in favor of delivering services at warp speed.
But what if I told you that there is a way to achieve both security and speed? With automation, teams can integrate security policies that are able to run on their own without needing IT teams to manually screen for threats. By having automated security policies integrated into the system from the very beginning, delivering services becomes an easier process for teams, especially during peak periods.
With these toolsets and policies in place, eCommerce teams can ready their applications for the onslaught of bargain hunters coming their way, and online shoppers can safely continue their spree without a hitch this shopping season.