How the cloud saved Black Friday

christmas shoppers

With Christmas fast approaching and November drawing to a close, there is one thing on every consumer’s mind; Black Friday. What was exclusively an American tradition has also taken the UK by storm with retailers slashing the prices of well-known products for one day only.

Asda started the trend in 2013 by reducing the price of electricals, specifically TVs for the Black Friday trend. When these sales launched, the news was covered in customers punching, kicking and stampeding their way towards these shiny new products.

These scenes caused the image of Black Friday to be a one of chaos, danger and actually quite scary. Unsurprisingly, the year after saw an increase of online sales by 37.5% with 21% of overall sales being accounted for due to online sales.

The year following, Cyber Monday was introduced. Cyber Monday is practically the same as Black Friday; sales, discounts and offers are available but exclusively online. The introduction of this caused a 60% increase in online traffic in comparison to a normal day. In America alone, the number of consumers who walked into the high street store in 2015 dropped by an astonishing 1 million people.

In the midst of all this online traffic, some of the most well-known brands struggled to cope. At least 15 retail websites crashed, including John Lewis- which is one of the most festive related companies out there with their annual Christmas advert which takes over social media every year.

It is even being predicted which websites will survive the Black Friday online chaos.

This threat to missing out on what could potentially be hundreds of thousands, if not millions of sales, caused businesses to contemplate the solution and the prevention of these high traffic induced outages.

The company, CentreEdge were just one of many businesses who experienced outages. After their entire team addressed the situation, they came to the decision that they needed to migrate to the cloud. You can read about their journey to cloud adoption here.

So, why would companies move to the cloud due to Black Friday?

The cloud offers DRaaS which means if an outage does occur, systems will pick up where they left off with no data being lost and a fast recovery time to ensure the outage doesn’t disrupt business productivity or threaten customer service.

Customers expect seamless customer experience and service all year long, but even more so when it comes to the shopping event of the year; Black Friday. The ability to supply a seamless experience will not only increase sales but will also improve brand and customer loyalty. Businesses need to seriously evaluate their operational capabilities allowing them to become seamless in terms of the buying, placement and promotion of their merchandise.

Black Friday means one thing when it comes to stock; high demand, fast sell-out. The slash in pricing and promotional offers in peak Christmas shopping season results in consumers buying more and buying fast. With the cloud, real-time data will largely reduce these problems. This is especially beneficial for online retailers who have their stock managed by external manufacturers. The cloud can bring this information together and make it accessible for both parties on any device for a more streamlined, integrated process, allowing businesses to calculate how much stock is needed and what has the highest demand.

With cloud computing follows retail-as-a-service or RaaS. This introduces operational processes, such as sales management and restocking, on to a single easy-to-access secure cloud platform. This will completely revolutionise the likes of Black Friday within the retail sector, as they will have a sufficient system in place to deal with all processes on the shop floor, or on the website. The cloud integrates the two shopping experiences to allow for easy viewing of stock, orders and deliveries.

Businesses continually aim for the most cost effective way to provide their IT needs. When it comes to Black Friday, businesses can simply increase the number of IT facilities, applications and users they need, how? With the cloud, simply add or remove what you need from your monthly subscription. This is hugely beneficial for staff fluctuation with retailers hiring temporary employees during busier periods such as Black Friday. The ability to scale up or down allows businesses to meet the demands of this busy period and improve customer experience with more staff on hand to communicate queries with.

Cloud computing allows retailers to be kitted out with up-to-date, high-performance technology that will be able to cope with the peak in activity. What’s better than simply being provided with the kit is that individual businesses do not need to worry about system updates to ensure their kit can cope. Instead, cloud service providers will perform synchronised updates to all applications and systems when required. Retailers can now stop worrying about tech coping during the high sales peak of Black Friday and instead focus on delivering great customer service.

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