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How Aussie retailers can best prepare for EOFY sales

As we approach the end of FY20, customers are expecting sales from retailers around Australia to clear stock before the new financial year, and for the COVID-19 conscious consumers, it is likely that transactions will be made online.

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Here are four things retailers need to consider to prepare for EOFY sales:

Cybersecurity

Unlike limited-time, one day only sales, the rush of the end of financial year sales could last for weeks, so local retailers need to reassess the strength of their cybersecurity measures and ensure they’re compliant when it comes to online payments, is the advice from McAfee regional director of MVision Cloud Asia Pacific, Joel Camissar.

“With this in mind, retailers can best prepare for the rush of online sales by doing a vulnerability scan which can help protect against malware threats and vulnerabilities—while also helping retailers meet PCI compliance requirements to ensure secure credit card transactions,” he told Retailbiz.

“The placement of a security seal shows shoppers that their sensitive information will be handled responsibly. With the growth of scammers taking advantage of the current situation, retailers can play a role in educating their customers to shop only from retail sites with a recognised security seal.”

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F5 Networks director of solutions engineering, Marc Brown said application security is a vital part of ensuring smooth and safe online transactions, especially during sale events when cybercriminals are highly active.

“In the next couple of months, these cybercriminals will be searching for retailers with weak security infrastructure to infiltrate with credential stuffing and denial of service (DoS) attacks,” he told Retailbiz.

“The need for security is two-fold for retailers, as they must ensure the protection of not just their operations but their customers as well. It’s important for retailers to have real-time visibility and analysis of all their transactions, application traffic, and security in order to track and act on any inconsistencies.”

Data analysis

With people flocking online to get a good deal, tuning into your community and adapting to the way they engage are critical to meet customer needs and to optimise ROI, according to Datorama (Salesforce company), chief marketing officer, Leah Pope.

“To make the most out of this annual sale event, retail marketers need to be able to combine, analyse and act on data from multiple channels in real time, through a single system of record,” she told Retailbiz.

“If a campaign isn’t generating sales, especially during flash sale events like these, adaptability is of utmost importance. Retail marketers must use their connected data to track and measure performance and efficiently reallocate their ad spend to the right channels and platforms to ensure real results.”

Customer experience

There are four key elements that retailers should focus on moving forward, Cognizant head of industries business for Australia and New Zealand, Gaurav Sharma told Retailbiz.

“The first is convenience, as exemplified by services such as click-and-collect. Many retailers have already included contactless, curb-side pickup, and home delivery and these are services that will no doubt gain widespread adoption.

“Next is consultative engagement. Store assistants play a vital role in brand experiences, but with more consumers shopping online, retailers must think how they can replicate that in-store vibe and experience, through virtual assistants, chatbots and AI-driven automation technologies.

“Community also plays a crucial part in driving store traffic, but with social distancing requirements, retailers should instead look to collaboration and communication technologies.

“Finally, trust is key to maintaining and fostering relationships with customers. Right now, there is a heightened sense of fear and scepticism when it comes to product safety. For these reasons, retailers must focus on providing customers with traceability solutions, packaging innovations and clear communication.”

Lenovo Data Centre Group general manager for Australia and New Zealand, Nathan Knight believes retailers need to strive towards a ‘smart normal’ instead of a ‘new normal’ in preparing for EOFY, as consumers continue to favour online shopping.

“The ‘smart normal’ asks businesses to not downgrade its continuity plans as restrictions ease, but instead, rethink where their employees need to be and where their investments into technology need to continue, to deliver value to their customers,” he told Retailbiz.

“Consumer expectations have dramatically changed over the past few months and trends such as online shopping will govern this year’s EOFY period so retailers need to tap into lessons learned and innovations used to manage increased online traffic in recent times on a long term basis.”

Web performance

With sales being a key focus area for retailers at this time of year, it is imperative that businesses maintain their application performance and keep up with spikes in online traffic and demand, was the advice from AppDynamics regional director for Australia and New Zealand, Benjamin Weldon.

“The digital customer experience has never been more important. By understanding user behaviours, businesses can gain valuable insight into how they can best accommodate one of their most valued assets, the customer. This can be achieved by investing in technologies that enable businesses to understand their customer more intimately and tailor their experience.”

Rackspace Technology managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Sean Girvin said with customers increasingly shifting spend online, retailers must remain flexible and continue investing in their e-commerce platforms.

“The need for scalability and the ability to pivot cannot be underestimated, because change can occur rapidly and without warning. Retailers that improve access to customer data insights will also be better positioned to make informed and timely decisions.”