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Retailers should focus on prices as well performance during holidays

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As we have just embarked upon the new year, retail leaders are planning for 2023. Many are understandably feeling cautious about what lies ahead. At the same time, retail brands are focused on making the best of the immediate opportunity in front of them, as India is a fast-growing market at 180-190 millions online shoppers in 2021 that’s estimated to grow to 400-450 millions by 2027. In fact, India might replace the US with the second-largest online shopper base, after China, by this year. Needless to say that the busy holiday season - which is the most important time of the year for retail sales - has taken on a new level of importance.

Cisco AppDynamics recently conducted a global research (across 12 countries) exploring online shopping intentions this holiday season. The research found that more consumers are seeking out low-price offers during key shopping moments this year to get a better value for their money and they are expecting brands to provide them with the very best deals.

Interestingly, online shoppers not only want great prices and for their packages to arrive on time - they also want brands to provide them with brilliant, seamless digital experiences when they’re using apps and digital services. If applications don’t perform properly, then customers will turn their back on brands, no matter how attractive their offers are. Retail leaders should note that price is critical, but so is application performance.

Consumers are relying more on holiday deals

Shoppers around the world now focus their holiday shopping around key dates. 81% of consumers say that they typically wait for online shopping dates and holiday sales to take advantage of the discounts.

This year, however, the need for people to secure the very best possible prices has risen to a whole new level. As many as 95% of consumers state that it is more important for them to find substantial deals this year, given rising costs of living and the uncertain economic situation.

Whether they’re buying gifts for their loved ones, household essentials or treating themselves to new clothes and devices, people are determined to stretch their budgets further this year. They still want to be able to enjoy this time of year in the same way as they usually would and they’re relying on online retail brands to provide compelling deals and discounts to be able to buy the products they need for less.

Digital experience is critical as shoppers hunt down bargains

Shoppers love finding deals at cheap prices and they know that they need to move quickly to secure the best offers. 95% state that it is important that shopping applications and digital services provide a fast and seamless experience without any delays or disruption. Consumers expect retailers to up their game when it comes to the availability and performance of digital services, from the moment they first engage with the brand, right through to the product arriving at their front door.

92% of consumers feel that it's essential for retailers to provide regular updates on the status of online purchases. With the ongoing supply chain issues, there’s increased anxiety around receiving holiday gifts on time.

Significantly, the research reveals that more than three quarters of online shoppers are now actually attaching the same level of importance to the digital experience retailers provide as they do to the prices on offer. Expectations around digital experience continue to soar as consumers are exposed to the most innovative and intuitive applications available on the market.

People believe that there is simply no excuse for brands delivering poor online shopping experiences, and they will be left feeling anxious and angry if an application or digital service that they’re using fails.

Ultimately, online shoppers will vote with their feet if they encounter poor digital experiences over the coming weeks. 64% of consumers claim that retail brands will have one shot to impress them this holiday season, and that if their digital service or application does not perform, then they won’t use it again. There are no second chances for retailers - with the first sign of a problem when using an application nearly three quarters of their customers will turn their back and walk away, possibly never to return.

Technologists must be equipped to succeed in the high-pressure holiday season

Of course, in today’s digital-first environment, the need for organizations to optimize IT availability and performance is critical at all times, irrespective of the time of year. Brands simply cannot afford any slip-ups in performance.

Retailers need to ensure that their applications, supporting infrastructure and third-party services (like payment services for example) are able to stand up to the huge spikes in demand that the holiday season brings. Although, it is easier said than done.

Retail IT teams increasingly find themselves trying to manage and monitor availability and performance across vastly complex cloud-native application architectures. In many cases, they’re struggling to gain visibility into applications and infrastructure running on public clouds. The result of this lack of insight is IT teams being constantly stuck in firefighting mode, trying to identify and fix performance issues before they impact end user experience.

IT teams therefore need a modern, cloud-native observability solution which allows them to manage and optimize increasingly complex and dynamic applications and technology stacks and enables them to monitor the health of key business transactions distributed across their entire technology landscape.

With access to quick insights from the business transaction’s telemetry data, technologists can easily identify the root cause of issues and quickly fix any emerging issues using the power of AI and business intelligence.

With improved visibility into IT availability and performance, technologists can ensure that customers are able to enjoy seamless and brilliant digital experiences throughout the holiday season and beyond. While doing so, they can ensure that their organizations are able to take full advantage of current consumer demand.