When customers visit an online business they expect instant access and 24/7 availability. However, if pages take more than a few seconds to load, or transactions cannot be completed quickly, revenue from these potential sales may be lost. In addition, if the website cannot handle large volumes of traffic on sale days, the losses can be catastrophic. Hayden Sadler, Country Manager at INFINIDAT looks at what keeps the customer satisfied.

Nothing irritates a potential customer more than a site that keeps crashing. The solution lies in comprehensive data storage infrastructure, which needs to ensure data availability, eliminate downtime and be able to accommodate spikes in traffic volumes without interruption. An ‘Always On’ solution is critical for the eCommerce Customer Experience (CX).

Extreme shopping calls for extreme performance

Handling traffic during the course of a normal day is one thing, and an essential component of any successful online business. When it comes to the latest trend of ‘extreme specials’ on certain days, however, keeping the site up and running can be a serious challenge. Black Friday and Cyber Monday see huge increases in traffic to businesses offering special deals.

With 68% of shoppers buying Black Friday deals on their mobile phones in 2019, Takealot’s takings amounted to over R196 million – a 125% year-on-year growth in sales and 127% growth in orders. In addition, the BankServ Africa Economic Transaction Index (BETI) showed a 55% growth in online sales for Black Friday and 36.4% for Cyber Monday in 2018.

High data storage performance is essential to cater to this hugely increased demand but maintaining the level of capacity required for these infrequent events at all times can be cost prohibitive. For many Etailers meeting increased peak demand means shutting down other business services, including the application environment or additional infrastructure. This less than ideal scenario has a negative impact on the productivity of an organisation and could result in unplanned downtime in other areas.

Revolutionising e-commerce with an AI solution

When a business relies on its online presence to be up and available, it cannot afford any downtime or disruption to the user experience or its data in the event of a failure. The storage infrastructure therefore needs to be able to accommodate spikes in demand without any modification to the business or effect on it. This level of agility does not necessarily require masses of additional high-performance capacity at all times, nor should it result in additional cost and complexity.

Intelligent software can leverage commodity storage with a smaller volume of high-performance storage capacity to effectively deliver a ‘Capacity on Demand’ model using Artificial Intelligence (AI). Specialised algorithms and machine learning identify sudden increases in input and output and ensure that this is prioritised into the high-performance storage sets. AI ensures that spikes are absorbed automatically, without the need for any manual intervention. This ensures an ‘Always On’ data storage environment that is easily and effectively attained.

The bottom line is your bottom line

Delivering an instant response time is critical for customer retention in the online space. Storage providers should be offering platforms that reduce cost and complexity, deliver ‘Always On’ capabilities, and meet the needs of the business and its’ customers. The CX is the heart of the online retail world, and infrastructure needs to underpin this, or else customers and revenue will be lost.

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