Online sales always peak around the national public holidays and special occasions. But last year’s lack-lustre year-end sales on your e-commerce platform were not as voluminous as before. Your marketing heads and logistics teams are breathing down your neck to:
“give us faster connectivity to our other operational headquarters”
“assist us to derive usable intel from the sales data from the other regions’ branch offices”
“help us enhance the platform to convert more shopping cart items into purchases”
Whenever they fail to meet KPIs, IT invariably gets dragged in as a potential bottleneck!
It’s the week of Valentine’s Day, and your team is already huddling together to brainstorm preemptive solutions to keep your marketing colleagues and CEO happy.
How can your current infrastructure be improved to give the operational divisions such seamless connectivity and great customer UX that any failure to meet sales goals will be distinctly a non-IT-related failure?
How can you convince your CFO to allocate more funding for the long-asked-for upgrades when he or she is squarely on the side of profit centres and considers IT expenditure a drain on the limited CAPEX budget?
Use the 4-step MNEMONIC!
Keeping the spirit of Valentine’s Day, how can IT make the work of the other departments achieve even greater mileage? By citing the four letters of the mnemonic CARE to point you in the right direction. So, what exactly does CARE stand for here?
Connectivity with Love
The critical foundation of a solid e-commerce platform and all the connectivity links that feed and receive data is of course fast, reliable, high bandwidth connectivity without the usual pain points. Not only that; the connectivity must be Industry 4.0 ready and offer:
- Seamless, orchestrated, secure data pipelines down to the last mile for best customer experience
- On-demand, self-service and easily scalable to reduce cost and allow scalability as needed
- Multi-cloud or hybrid-cloud centric for instant interconnection to other data centres or public cloud platforms
- Secure and affordable public cloud connectivity
- Software defined for API programmability, network automation and virtualisation benefits, zero-touch deployment and easy ecosystem management and expansion
- Pluggable into an already-established global fabric of points-of-presence to extend your reach anywhere in the world
- Better business outcomes for all functions in your organisation through an SDN (software-defined networking) platform that fosters tight collaboration and response
Always on my mind
Only when resilient connectivity is in place can customer obsessiveness be truly possible. Your customers should always be on your mind, ensuring that they are happy with what you offer. Enriching an e-commerce platform today increasingly involves:
- Solid customised content feeds using content and media platforms supported by remote peering
- Low-latency video, 3D graphics/VR/AR data and audio enhancements to your shopping portal for a truly unique, flexible and responsive user experience that converts clicks into revenue
- Abundance of self-service, on-demand and highly-automated connectivity to deliver real-time pre-sale and post-sales support
A resilient connectivity architecture encompasses inherently secure, always-available, totally backed-up and redundant data and systems. This ensures maximum uptime internally—to facilitate the best work from all departments—and at the customer-facing side—which inspires confidence and trust in your web stores.
If your organisation operates more than one physical warehouse or store locally and worldwide, secure and robust branch connectivity is mandatory!
Your e-commerce supply chain would also be connected very well to your organisation database via the cloud and private connections—they need to meet your corporation’s high internal standards in order not to be a bottleneck.
Only a network infrastructure that is intrinsically software-defined will facilitate such a tight, versatile fit with that of every vendor you work with.
Optimising your organisation’s infrastructure for resilience involves all the key tenets in the hyperscale connectivity checklist above, but at a broader level involving more third-party collaborations such as data centres, managed-service providers and/or network service providers.
Exceptional personalisation and personal data privacy
The personal touch in absolute obsessiveness is further enhanced by highly-personalised content, communication and sales support. This is achieved via artificial intelligence and machine learning powered by data analytics, smart mobile apps and the offering of humanised touchpoints at strategic phases of the shop-to-customer relationship.
Such intense personalisation may raise concerns of personal data protection. Any anticipated doubts or fears that your customers may have must be allayed through your flexible and resilient backend so that your organisation is agile enough to tweak its DNA to better navigate the ever-changing customer preferences and personal-privacy concerns.
Finally, data protection has to be inherently hard-coded for best-in-class network security and failure mitigation.
The main point of digital transformation hinges on top-notch connectivity and resilience: any baby steps taken in that direction will have a multiplier effect on the efforts of the rest of the organisation.
In the days leading up to your big Valentine’s Day sale, your job is to analyse where your C and R stand, and what issues you can muster up to your stakeholders to help the rest of the organisation boost the CARE.
In any case, your digital transformation efforts are likely to cut operational costs to make you look good. AND, if you are lucky, you may win yourself a Get Out of Jail Free card after the Valentine’s Day sales reports are tallied!
I love you.