Black Friday through to Cyber Monday is arguably one of the busiest shopping periods of the year with approximately £1.23 billion being spent by bargain hunters in the UK last year on the Friday alone.
This weekend is not only a bargain-hunter’s dream; it is also an indication that the future of retail is online. With the rate Black Friday is expanding, such as incorporating Cyber Monday into an entire cyber weekend of consumerism, what will the future of Black Friday look like?
It is entirely plausible that an entire week of Black Friday shopping mayhem will become a reality in the next five years, and that the majority of that shopping will be online. But what effect will this have on retailers’ technology applications and websites?
>See also: Retail analytics: big data and Black Friday
Jon Lucas, director at Hyve Managed Hosting, believes that the pressure on IT in five year’s time will be huge, and that a good hosting provider is the key to retailer’s success.
“Your provider should be prepared for the influx of website traffic of well over 220%. They should provide scalable options and promise peak performance during this high-traffic period.
“In the future, Black Friday could last as long as a week, so it’s necessary for your hosting provider to be prepared for this ongoing peak of traffic. If you’re a retailer, it’s unacceptable to have downtime during busy periods, as your provider should have been continually running tests on the website beforehand, mimicking the rush of traffic and adjusting the resources to make sure the website can hold up.”
Rob Strechay, VP of Product at Zerto, agrees, adding that retailers should ensure they have a solid disaster recovery plan.
“Avoiding unplanned downtime is especially important for retailers as they approach the high-pressure holiday shopping season. Even just a minute of downtime can equate to tens of thousands of pounds in lost revenue on a normal day – so imagine the loss around this time of year.”
“Many retailers overlook that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. With Black Friday expanding as rapidly as it is, retailers need to take into account that this added revenue brings with it an increased risk. The cloud must be part of the proactive plan to address this. Successful retailers will be the ones using the latest advancements in data mobility and orchestration to pre-position workloads to the cloud where they are able to scale more easily.”
“A lot can change in five years, especially in the software space,” concurs Bob Davis, CMO at Plutora.
“With data growing at an alarming rate it won’t come as any surprise that retailers will need to take even more precautions to keep all systems running during the weekend of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. However, it’s not just this weekend period that retailers need to be on form to cope with the huge surge of traffic. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are already showing signs of expanding out into a whole month of deals for keen shoppers. Any bout of downtime can be detrimental and can result in serious financial loss, yet serious customer facing outages can be caused by just a single software glitch.”
“To decrease the chances of this happening, organisations should develop their applications and services with robust management of their continuous delivery processes to ensure everything runs smoothly, all year round, but especially at this busy period. Migrating to cloud can significantly reduce test environment spend and provide organisations with a flexible infrastructure, allowing them to scale up especially when traffic peaks.”
It is clear that Black Friday and the wider opportunity will continue to grow through the years, and that retailers’ applications and websites are going to have to grow with it.
From a consumer point of view, the experience will become less chaotic as more purchasing will be able to be done online, which in turn will create more revenue for retailers. It’s just a matter of being able to keep on top of the influx.