Managed IT

Preparing for Black Friday

Written by Victoria Wilson

Ah, it's nearly that time of year again.

Shopping for goodies and gifts at the lowest prices is near the top of the to-do list for many consumers, which has fuelled the incredible growth of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday phenomenon.

Brands across the retail sector are focused on attracting customers to their physical and online storefronts through marketing, sales and following trends closely. The online deals are particularly attractive to a generation of shoppers who seem busier than ever, always searching for the best deals.

According to the ONS, internet sales represented 18% of retail sales in 2018, compared to 4.9% 10 years ago. 

As a retailer, this means your website - its speed, availability and security - should be a high priority entering the final quarter of 2019. And now is the time to plan.

Your top concerns go beyond website design and sales forecasts to the bigger questions: 

  • How can I prevent customers seeing the dreaded 404 page or, worse, a complete website crash during peak traffic times?
  • How can I protect my business from DDoS attacks by hackers who want to cause chaos and hurt our sales?
  • How can I promise customers that their payment details and personal data are secure throughout the shopping process?

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Here are 3 key solutions for the retail sector,

1) Prioritise Uptime

Did you know...

  • 40% of online consumers will abandon a webpage if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
  • 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with a website's performance are less likely to buy from the same site again. (Source)

If your e-commerce site is hosted in your on-site servers, then unexpected traffic spikes or increased demand may be too much for your network to handle. That's where managed cloud hosting can amply provide the stability your network needs. Whether your data is hosted in the SysGroup cloud, or within our racks in world-class data centres like NGD or LDeX, these data centres have an infinitely powerful capacity to easily process increased network traffic.

Working with a managed cloud provider gives you access to expertise in designing your IT infrastructure, supported by 24/7/365 network monitoring and support. With real-time visual traffic maps, they can see and respond to increased demand so your users and customers are none the wiser!

A seamless customer experience will enhance your reputation and your sales, so don't enter another holiday shopping season without reliable cloud hosting for your IT infrastructure.

2) Guarantee Payment Security

As a retail business, you understand the importance of maintaining PCI compliance.

The PCI DSS levels apply to all merchants, processors, acquirers, issuers and service providers, regardless of size or number of transactions, that accept, transmit or store online any cardholder data. These regulations help to both protect consumers and prevent fraud or loss of cardholder data.

Achieving PCI compliance involves a variety of measures including a self-assessment questionnaire and quarterly external vulnerability scans or on-site data security assessments.

For many retailers, a managed services provider (MSP) can provide guidance on maintaining compliance, along with services like disaster recovery and security tools like firewalls to prevent fraud, lost or compromised cardholder data. With a secure e-commerce site, your customers can shop with confidence and ease.

3) Invest in Managed IT Services

A MSP can help your IT team prepare for Black Friday and the holiday shopping season with ease. Because cyber-security threats are always evolving, MSPs are on the frontlines of new firewalls, anti-DDoS tools and more, which gives you access to enterprise-grade security tools at a fraction of the cost.

Their outside perspective and expertise can help you to identify weak spots in your infrastructure where you could be vulnerable to cyber-attacks, malware or phishing, a particular concern during the high-volume shopping period coming soon.

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