Later this month, 29th November to be exact, the annual Black Friday shopping craze takes place locally.

While South Africans have embraced the shopping day, we’ve also embraced laughing as the various online retailers go offline as locals flock to websites in search of deals.

That’s bad news for customers but especially for local businesses. Data collected from PayGate reveals that the number of transactions taking place on Black Friday has doubled every year for the past three years. The organisation believes that transactions will grow by as much as 30 percent this year.

Of course, that depends wholly on how prepared online retailers are for the mass of traffic it will be getting on that Friday.

So how do you make the best effort to remain online for the duration of Black Friday while managing your cost expenditure? General manager of cloud at Dimension Data, Grant Morgan has advice for local retailers operating online.

“Online retailers really need to look at their cloud strategy as they head into the holiday shopping-rush. On Black Friday you have an inordinate magnitude of customers coming to your website looking for deals, and you need to make sure your infrastructure can handle that,” says Morgan.

Making use of a cloud solution means your company won’t have to layout the funding needed for infrastructure to deal with a weekend of higher than usual traffic. The other benefit of using cloud is that these services are scalable so if you find traffic bogging down services on Black Friday, additional capacity can be spun up as needed.

Preparation

Despite taking place on one day, right at the end of the year, retailers spend months planning for Black Friday and part of that means preparing for the worst to happen.

In this regard, a managed services provider that offers a fully automated platform that can determine when disaster strikes should be what you strive for.

Your managed services provider should also have an end-to-end view of your system in order to plan for potential bottlenecks. These bottlenecks can be anything including factors within your control and those outside of it such as banking infrastructure.

“The ones that can’t be eliminated should be constantly monitored so that reaction times and fixes, should problems arise, can be quick,” advises Morgan.

Proactive planning can help in the event of a crisis.

Security above all else

As Black Friday will result in a bevy of financial transactions, security should be front of mind.

Managed services providers and system integrators can assist when it comes to this matter. Together with you, service providers can look at your systems and eliminate vulnerabilities and limit exposure.

“They will help you to choose the correct controls to use against an industry-standard framework and recommend the technology that gets applied in that environment, to ensure you as the client are secure. Once you as the client have implemented the right security controls, your managed services provider can proactively respond to an incident on your behalf,” explains Morgan.

It’s vital that business owners be aware of the risks they face and avoid adopting a “it won’t happen to me” mentality.

Ecommerce requires constant re-investment, tweaking and fixing among other things. For those that feel they are in a good space and are feeling complacent, the message is simple – don’t.

While Black Friday is successful for many retailers – online and offline – failing to capitalise on the online market could be the difference between your company getting a sale on Black Friday, or your competitor getting it instead.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]