With many economists predicting a gloomy 2023, UK retailers are laser-focused on resilience.
With many still recovering from the pandemic and increasing competition, we’ve seen an explosion in ecommerce and social commerce, with physical retailers being forced to become e-tailers, shifting a significant amount of their activity online to avoid being swallowed up by competitors.
With all this in mind, online retailers cannot afford to miss a sale this year. This means delivering a flawless digital shopping experience is essential. Globalisation is enabling customers access to all corners of the world, providing them with unlimited products and services to choose from. This year, however, retailers not only have fierce competition to contend with, but also reduced consumer appetite. The current economic climate, tied with hyper-consumerism and ESG concerns weighing on the consciences of many, will no doubt have a significant impact on retail sales.
A digital business relies on seamless, responsive and reliable technology. It’s no surprise that an outage of your website or fulfilment systems can lead to a loss of sales, but now even slow responses are enough to put customers off. This is particularly the case during intense sales (such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday) where time is of the essence.
Retailers need to ensure their online store, order management systems and warehouse management systems are primed and ready. In the same way retailers would invest in the traditional in-person customer experience, it is essential to have the IT infrastructure to facilitate a smooth journey from first click through to purchase.
Social media and general internet use shortens our attention span, and this has been exacerbated by the pandemic where for the most part everyone was forced to shop online. Customers now have a much lower tolerance for slow sites and glitches, therefore retailers need to be mindful of this to avoid losing out on business.
Any technical issues must be identified and addressed quickly. To do this, an organisation needs to have full view of all systems and areas of a tech stack. Unified observability provides a holistic view of their entire operation and its technology, which identifies and flags any potential issues. This enables retailers to have a clear vision of how their operations are running end-to-end and reassures them that everything is functioning as it should, which is particularly important during busy periods.
Prevention, however, is always better than cure. AIOps can be a hugely beneficial tool for retailers and their IT operations. AIOps involves the application of machine learning techniques to IT operations, allowing IT to correlate current and historical data with speed that operators are unable to achieve using traditional manual processes and siloed tools. Predictive AIOps enables operations teams to see slow-forming anomalies before they become outages and fix the problem before users are impacted.
The key is to bring together IT service management, operations management and predictive AIOps on a single platform. This allows AIOps to collect vital data and present it to the operations team, providing them with the information needed to understand the root cause of an emerging anomaly or outage and fix it in near real time, preventing loss of sales and protecting retailers’ reputation.
Another way retailers can be one step ahead this year is through the use of AIOps to garner historical data. This data can be leveraged to identify behavioural patterns and trends from previous years and compare past results with current performance. Retailers can use this insight to inform and enhance sales performance, as well as ensuring they have the correct stock in place to fulfil customer needs.
Whilst the impending economic hardship certainly creates a fresh set of challenges, enhancing the customer experience through technology will help retailers succeed. Having a complete overview of business systems and operations, along with leveraging data to make the right business decisions, will provide retailers with the armour to tackle these testing times head on.
About the Author
Stuart Carrison is Senior Engineer at LogicMonitor. We’re in the midst of an information revolution, and monitoring is at the center of it. Businesses are moving from asking, “What happened?” to predicting what’s coming, solving problems before they start and using data to unlock opportunities. At LogicMonitor, we’re committed to expanding what’s possible for businesses by advancing their technology. After all, monitoring shouldn’t just help businesses see what’s in front of them—it should create new ways for them to grow.
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