Importance of Availability During holiday Season

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The holiday season is meant to provide a break from the regular routine of life, to enjoy time out with family and friends. With shopping becoming an integral part of holiday celebrations, more and more consumers are looking to shop online from the convenience of their home, even as on-ground shopping takes a backseat. From buying gifts to booking travel tickets online, consumers are increasingly dependent on having an error-free shopping experience. Retailers looking to cash in on the surge in online shopping have their task cut out to keep their website and apps up and Available 24.7.365. As websites/apps expect 3 to 4 times traffic surge during peak loads, any unexpected failure or crash can not only result in the business loss but also impact customer loyalty forever.

Increasing online traction 

The total number of online shoppers in India is estimated to grow 3.5 times to touch 175 million by 2020, according to the report ‘Digital Retail 2020’ by Google and AT Kearney. Among the few initiatives driving online presence are government’s demonetization initiative, reduction in the cash transaction and ever-increasing penetration of mobile platform.

In addition, new technology trends like cloud, big data, mobile, etc. are elevating the convenience levels and further empowering consumers for informed decision-making. To elevate the shopping experience, customers want the online interface to be interesting, and fast in response. With the content shifting from plain text to visual i.e. images and videos, websites /apps are managing massive amount data size that users expect at the click of the button. Delivering an Always-On business will help convert consumer engagement to sales will require. 

Availability Gap

Unplanned downtime can not only result in loss of revenue but also impact productivity and reputation. According to Veeam Availability Report 2017, 82% of enterprises are facing a gap between user demand and what IT can deliver, or an ‘Availability Gap’. This gap results in unplanned downtime costs averaging $21.8 million per year which stifles innovation, as 66% of enterprises admit that digital transformation initiatives are being held back by unplanned downtime.

Are the online retailers really prepared to gain maximum from the internet traffic during this holiday season? The answer lies in their availability. The only way to mitigate the risk is to have the right technology in place to monitor, restore, and restart.

Engaging consumers: In the event of a blackout, direct a customer to a helpline or activate dark site. This assures customers with the dedicated message that the issue is being resolved.

Setting benchmarks: Understanding the present performance metrics for your website/app goes a long way in defining peak loads during the holiday season. One way to do this is to scan historical data of online traffic. Once performance patterns are formed, benchmark average daily traffic against past peak loads to generate insights in meeting high demands.

Analyze and load testing: Conducting mock test with artificial traffic and help analyze server capacity to accommodate peak loads without failing to meet the anticipated demand. If it fails to accommodate the increased load, get your technical team to resolve potential bottlenecks.  Continue to test till the website accommodates peak loads.

Sustain monitoring: Once the bottlenecks are removed, it is critical to automate real-time monitoring of backup and virtual infrastructure. This helps in notifying any potential issues before the website or application impact the users negatively. Additionally, this enables tracking of resource allocation and utilization, which is critical for maintaining Availability of IT services

Gaining edge this holiday season will depend on the planning and implementation of modern Availability solutions to ensure reliable and rapid recovery for Always-On business. The availability gap is the hidden true cost of your data center, and ultimately your online business. Don’t let it stop your business from seizing the opportunity this holiday season brings.