Surviving the holiday shopping frenzy: How retailers can offer the best experience

Consumers are now much more selective about what constitutes a truly amazing digital experience because they have grown to rely on applications and digital services for practically every area of their life. 

Customers can participate in online sales events, so firms are pressured to provide outstanding online deals and amazing digital and application experiences. 

In fact, a staggering 80 per cent of Australian customers stated they would only use online shopping services and applications and that finding the best prices would become even more crucial.

Research from Cisco AppDynamics illustrates the value that online buyers place on flawless digital experiences as they search for the best offers over the holiday season.

Seventy-eight per cent of consumers believes that a shopping app’s user experience is just as important as the discounts offered during seasonal sales and important shopping holidays such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Singles Day. Even if 73 per cent of respondents say it doesn’t matter how great discounts businesses offer, there is no excuse for bad online shopping experiences.

Consumers rely on holiday sales to stretch their dollars

According to James Harvey, Executive CTO EMEA at Cisco AppDynamics, while it is now common for online shoppers to wait until key shopping dates and holiday season sales to take advantage of discounts and low-cost deals, the stakes are higher in today’s environment, where so many people are facing financial difficulties. Due to rising living costs and an uncertain economic outlook, as many as 95 per cent of consumers believe it is more important for them to find great deals and low prices this year.

Zero tolerance for poor digital experiences 

More than 12,000 consumers in 12 countries participated in the research, which shows how consumers’ expectations for the digital experience are higher than typical. Ninety-five per cent of users say it’s critical for applications and digital services to offer a quick, seamless experience without any hiccups or interruptions. 

Online shoppers don’t have the time or patience to deal with poorly functioning applications, and they react strongly when they do. This is because they are in a rush to find the best deals. According to 63 per cent of consumers, if the digital services and apps they plan to use to find great deals this holiday season don’t work, it will make them feel anxious and angry.

Even during the holiday season, online customers will remember a retailer who needs to provide a seamless digital experience. According to 64 per cent of consumers, retailers have only one chance to win them over this holiday season, and if their digital service or application fails to deliver as promised, users will not return.

This percentage, which has risen from 57 per cent since our App Attention Index research was conducted last year, is intriguing because it demonstrates how important digital experience becomes when users place such a high value on finding excellent deals.

Need for modern, cloud-native observability solutions 

The requirement for retail IT teams to focus on application availability and performance during the holiday season is nothing new. At this time of year, technologists are used to working around the clock to ensure that the apps and associated infrastructure can handle the surge in demand.

Controlling IT availability and performance have become more difficult as retailers have increased their use of cloud-native technologies such as microservices and Kubernetes to achieve broader digital transformation goals.

Ahead of what is expected to be a difficult year, retail leaders will be eager to take advantage of increased consumer demand throughout the holiday season. But they must understand that offering inexpensive pricing can only achieve success with others. They will only be able to attract new clients and boost revenue if they pair fantastic discounts with smooth digital experiences.

Retailers remain confident in the face of economic uncertainty

In another study conducted by Salesforce in partnership with the Australian Retailers Association, 83 per cent of ANZ retailers expressed strong confidence in their company’s ability to close deals despite changing social and economic situations (ARA).

Retailers today are adjusting to a more competitive, complex, and resource-constrained world due to external causes, including growing prices, supply chain difficulties, and shifting legislation, according to Jo Gaines, Area Vice President for Retail and Consumer Goods at Salesforce.

“Those that modernise their tech stack and leverage new technologies like artificial intelligence can create a more productive workforce that better understands who their customers are beyond a single moment in time.

“This, alongside improved cross-functional alignment between sales and marketing, customer service and sales operations, is enabling efficiencies and freeing-up sales reps to focus on what they were hired to do: focus on the human side of selling and build meaningful relationships with their customers.

“In the face of uncertain economic times, short-term sales opportunities are taking a back seat in favour of long-term relationship building. In the year ahead, retailers must focus on fostering customer loyalty to drive recurring sales and consistent growth.”


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