Meeting Customer Expectations on Black Friday

William Smith

Experts discuss the numerous challenges to maintain the customer experiences during this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Insights
Meeting Customer Expectations on Black Friday

Black Friday has arrived, but there are concerns about how the shopping holiday will pan out for retailers after the changes in customer behaviour over the past two years.

The similar Chinese phenomenon of Singles Day proved a disappointment this year, with sales for the 11-day event rising at their slowest rate ever (albeit still managing to be up 8.5% on last year).

Online and Offline

What makes this year particularly interesting is the increased importance of ecommerce, and retailers must ensure their online systems meet increased customer expectations.

“This year, with the benefits of economic recovery coming out of the pandemic to hand, retailers must be prepared for the inevitable avalanche of traffic that has the potential to overwhelm their online platforms, whilst maintaining the same reliable, secure and personalised experience that their customers have come to expect,” commented Laurence Pitt, Director, Cybersecurity Strategist at Juniper Networks

While the pandemic may have boosted digital functions, companies are still struggling with the effect on staffing amid phenomena such as the “Great Resignation”.

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year will be one of the hardest on retail ever. The usual spike in customer queries, plus distribution network issues and lean teams in the wake of the Great Resignation – it’s a perfect storm,” commented Celine Maher, Vice President, UK and Ireland at Zendesk

“Not just for in-store sales assistants rushed off their feet and IT teams for ecommerce sites struggling with the threat of bandwidth demands – the impact on customer service teams is overlooked. In fact, recent research showed 68% of CX agents reported feeling overwhelmed in the past year. This sales weekend, businesses need to work harder and smarter than ever to keep customers and employees happy and achieve success.” 

Customer Data Concerns

Of course, with a preponderance of customer data flying around the internet, shoppers are naturally worried about the security of their data. “Online shopping activity increases significantly during peak periods, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and can provide rich pickings for the opportunistic cybercriminals,” commented Keith Glancey, Director of Technology, Western Europe, Infoblox. “Online shopping’s popularity creates an even larger attack surface to defend. It’s never been more important for retailers to have full network visibility so that they can respond quickly to cyber incidents, which could result in lost revenue and reputational damage.”

 

 


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