There’s a lot of talk about consumer spending on Black Friday and Cyber Monday — and rightly so! On Friday, November 26th, and Monday, November 29th, 2021, millions of shoppers from all over the world will flock to physical stores or online to find some of the best shopping deals of the year.
Last year, Black Friday online shopping saw a record $9 billion in revenue — a 22% increase from 2019. This makes Black Friday 2020 the second biggest online spending day in United States history, behind Cyber Monday. This year’s Cyber Monday is set to be even more impressive with sales reaching $12 billion in revenue — a 35% jump from last year.
However, the way people shop during Black Friday and Cyber Monday is changing, in part because of the pandemic, but also due to the growing convenience of online shopping. As more people become familiar with online shopping, it’s worth contemplating how technology can be utilized and optimized to provide the best experience for your business and your customers — specifically during these two days of hectic but profitable shopping.
Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN)
This is one specific technology that can be a great equalizer for small retailers, allowing for the rapid, no-fuss deployment of a highly scalable wide area network platform. SD-WAN is the key to accelerating business at the network and service level, where many small retailers operate. It enables organizations to rapidly deploy new technologies without requiring advanced IT skills — an approach that can be particularly transformative for smaller retailers. Additionally, SD-WAN can be configured with built-in intrusion detection to reduce the number of times attackers “stay” in a network environment. This feature dramatically reduces the size of breaches and their devastating impacts. With the increasing sophistication and worsening impacts of mega-data breaches heading into the holiday season, now is the time for businesses to implement smarter security management solutions.
Prepare, Collect, Store, and Protect Data
It’s no secret how important data is nowadays and Black Friday weekend is another excuse for businesses to look into new and innovative technologies to help manage their data. Think about how many more people will visit your site in the hope of getting a deal, and how much additional and useful data will be generated. It’s important that retailers be prepared for this huge wave of data in the first place. Much of the data created are large files such as pictures, descriptions, and videos, and businesses don’t want these files to bog down access to their site. The solution: having sophisticated and affordable data management to effectively manage all of that data, so as not to overload the transactions. After all, businesses don’t want to miss out on the potential profits of Black Friday because their website can’t handle the traffic.
It is also incredibly important that this data is fully protected at all times. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great opportunities for retailers to collect customer data that can be analyzed to provide valuable insight into buyer behavior. However, as efforts to collect this data intensify, it becomes even more critical to store and protect it securely. While complying with data privacy laws can be particularly difficult for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the demands on SMEs are still the same as they are for large enterprises; they must take full responsibility for ensuring compliance and protection of their customers’ data. There is no excuse for negligent security practices, like leaving customer information databases exposed. The consequence of not respecting the protection of sensitive data can lead to heavy fines, not to mention the consequent damage to the reputation of the brand. With this in mind, SMEs should focus on flexible and cost-effective solutions that can prevent data loss; for example, encryption of inactive data. Only with these types of capabilities can a small business be confident that the data it stores is truly secure.
Lastly, it is important that businesses reserve adequate space for their data and applications, and ensure that they are highly available. Many retailers still collect, send, and process data over offsite networks and datacenters. The challenge with this is that if that offsite datacenter experiences a network outage or failure, it will surely lead to downtime, which will ultimately affect the buyer’s experience, both in-store and online. Instead of just sending and storing data in a hub hundreds of miles away that every store in the network relies on, retailers should consider implementing an IT solution at the edge. A hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution with state-of-the-art IT capabilities brings a mini datacenter directly to every store.
Check out our retail brochure to learn more about StorMagic and how we address the needs of retail businesses. Discover how food, fuel and pharmacy retailer — Giant Eagle — improved uptime and protected sensitive customer data across 200+ in-store pharmacies with StorMagic, in our customer case study.
Reach out to our sales team at [email protected] for more info about our solutions and how they can help small retailers manage, collect, store, and protect their customer data this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.