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If your business is looking to make the most out of the upcoming holiday season, you need to start preparing as soon as possible.
Otherwise, you might not be able to accommodate customer demand—which will mean, leaving an untold number of dollars on the table.
Last year, holiday retail sales spiked to $707.5 billion, with nearly $150 billion of those sales occurring online or through other non-store channels, according to data from the National Retail Federation (NRF). The NRF expects retail sales to climb even higher in 2019, with online sales growing between 10 and 12 percent—four to five times faster than traditional brick-and-mortar outlets.
Beyond that, customers are increasingly demanding omnichannel experiences. A recent Adobe Analytics study, for example, found that the number of shoppers buying something online and picking it up in a physical store rose 65 percent between 2017 and 2018. As shoppers become increasingly keen on the promise of omnichannel retail, we expect this number to rise this year and beyond.
Making the Most of the Holiday Season
It would be easy to absorb this uptick of sales and cater to these shifting preferences if customers staggered their holiday purchases throughout the entire year.
But a separate NRF item found that 56 percent of holiday shoppers still plan to buy gifts on the last Saturday before Christmas, with the bulk of those purchases coming online.
Ensuring your company gets the biggest slice of the holiday pie requires a two-pronged approach: you need to make sure you’ve got a handle on real-time inventory management so your stores are stocked with in-demand items and you also need to make sure your website and apps can handle peak-traffic periods—which requires a strong underlying database layer.
Otherwise, bad things can happen.
Just take a look at the recent Popeyes chicken sandwich snafu, where demand climbed through the roof and the fast-food chain couldn’t keep patties in stock. And when Amazon’s website went down for a little more than an hour on Prime Day 2018, the e-commerce juggernaut lost as much as $99 million in sales.
With the right tech infrastructure in place, however, you can keep your fingers on the pulse of inventory management while ensuring your website and apps can scale to accommodate the busiest times of the year.
Meeting Customer Expectations—In the Store and Online
In the age of instant gratification, it’s more important than ever to meet customer expectations. Otherwise, there’s a good chance they’ll turn to your competitors—who are always just a quick search away.
Some data to illustrate this point: According to Google, 53 percent of customers will leave your site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. On the flipside, when customers experience great service, they’re willing to spend 14 percent more, a study by American Express revealed.
Keep in mind that—in addition to fast loading times and high availability—you also need to do everything within your power to ensure your systems remain secure. Otherwise, if your network gets breached, you may incur significant fines.
Making matters worse, 51 percent of customers say they wouldn’t shop at a company that had recently been hacked. So if you want to maximize holiday revenue, you need to prevent that from happening.
How DataStax Enterprise Helps
Beyond that, our advanced security features ensure that your data remains protected and in compliance with regulations like PCI, HIPAA, and GDPR.
Add it all up, and it’s the easiest way to make sure your customers have great holiday shopping experiences—regardless of the channel they use.
To learn more about what you can do to make sure your holiday database infrastructure is ready for what’s shaping up to be the busiest holiday season ever, check out our new infographic by clicking the button below.
Here’s to a successful holiday season!