Black Friday, once a tradition in the United States, has evolved into a global phenomenon. Shoppers eagerly anticipate the day, marking the beginning of the holiday shopping season with remarkable deals and discounts. While this may be a joyous occasion for consumers, it poses a unique set of challenges for online retailers. In this blog, we will explore the impact of Black Friday on online retailers and the key issues they face during this ultra-busy online shopping weekend.
The Black Friday Rush: A Double-Edged Sword
Black Friday can be a double-edged sword for online retailers. On one hand, it offers an unparalleled opportunity to boost sales and revenue. On the other hand, the surge in online traffic and transactions can strain an organisation’s network and operations to the breaking point. A second of downtime can end up costing businesses more than just a fortune.
Issue 1: Website Traffic Surge
Web hosting platform Siteground states online traffic can spike up to 10 times more than average on Black Friday. That’s 1000%. That’s a lot of people.
IT Network Implication: Network reliability is paramount to maximise uptime and optimise transaction processing during peak traffic. Scalability and flexibility are needed to accommodate changes in growth, traffic, and demand.
Solution: To address this, online retailers must invest in scalable infrastructure, employ Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), and optimise their website for performance to handle the increased traffic load efficiently.
Issue 2: Inventory Management Challenges
Preparing for Black Friday requires retailers to stock up on inventory to meet the anticipated demand. However, striking the right balance between having enough stock and not overstocking can be challenging, even for the IT network.
IT Network Implication: The integration of multiple systems is essential to optimise and streamline infrastructure for efficient inventory management.
Solution: Implementing data analytics and demand forecasting tools can help online retailers make informed decisions about inventory levels, ensuring they have the right products in stock.
The Security Tightrope Walk
As online retailers gear up for Black Friday, cybercriminals are also on high alert. The surge in online activity provides fertile ground for various cyber threats, including hacking attempts, data breaches, and fraudulent activities.
Issue 3: Increased Cybersecurity Threats
IT Network Implication: Growing cybersecurity threats require robust network security measures to protect customer data, business continuity, and reputation. Which, obviously, is very important.
Solution: Online retailers must bolster their cybersecurity measures, including implementing robust firewalls, regular security audits, and educating employees about the importance of data security. Did you know methods such as phishing attacks (read our blog on that topic here) make up to 83% of threat vectors?
Issue 4: Fraudulent Activities
As the volume of online transactions skyrockets on Black Friday, so does the risk of fraudulent activities.
IT Network Implication: Optimising technical support is vital to maximise cost-effectiveness and efficiency in identifying and mitigating fraudulent activities.
Solution: Implementing fraud detection and prevention systems can help identify and mitigate fraudulent activities in real time, safeguarding both the retailer and the customer.
Logistics and Customer Expectations
Fast and reliable delivery is a key factor in satisfying customer expectations during Black Friday. Failing to provide a seamless customer experience can lead to customer dissatisfaction and lost sales.
Issue 5: Shipping and Delivery Challenges
IT Network Implication: Scalability and flexibility in logistics systems are needed to accommodate changes in shipping demands and to ensure timely deliveries.
Solution: Online retailers can collaborate with reliable logistics partners and use advanced supply chain management systems to streamline the shipping process and meet customer delivery expectations.
Issue 6: Customer Experience
Delivering an exceptional customer experience is paramount on Black Friday.
IT Network Implication: Maintaining competitiveness by leveraging transformative technology is essential to optimise the technical infrastructure for seamless customer experiences.
Solution: Retailers should optimise their websites for mobile devices, offer seamless checkout experiences, and provide real-time inventory updates to enhance the overall customer experience. Siteground say a “one second delay in loading time equals a 7% loss in conversion and a 11% decrease in page views”.
Conclusion: Navigating Black Friday Successfully
Black Friday undoubtedly offers lucrative opportunities for online retailers, but it also presents a series of challenges that must be navigated successfully. By addressing website performance, cybersecurity, inventory management, logistics, and customer experience while considering IT network implications, online retailers can not only survive Black Friday but also thrive in the competitive shopping season.
As the retail landscape continues to evolve, staying agile, prepared, and customer-centric remains the key to success. By understanding and proactively tackling the issues posed by Black Friday, online retailers can continue to meet customer expectations and grow their businesses in the digital age.
At Axians UK, we have a track record of helping mainstream online retailers succeed in solving their networking challenges to ensure peak network reliability. If you want to find out how we can enhance and future proof your network, get in touch using the form below.