Key industry leaders have weighed in on how Australian retailers can manage increased demand from this week’s Click Frenzy online sales event, from app performance management to increased security awareness.

Monitoring your app performance

During the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have become increasingly reliant on applications and digital services to conduct daily life from working at home using video conferencing and communicating with friends and family, according to App Dynamics regional director for Australia and New Zealand, Benjamin Weldon.

“In particular, we have seen the challenges which online retailers have experienced as they battle with spikes in online traffic and demand,” he told Retailbiz.

“Online shopping events such as Click Frenzy present a huge opportunity to retailers and are more important this year than ever. But so too is the pressure for brands to maintain availability of services, fulfill demand and orders, and provide high quality customer experience. Customer tolerance for loading errors, broken links or poor online performance of any kind is already low.”

The good news? Performance issues can be easily detected with application performance monitoring which allows retailers to gain real-time visibility and insight into their customers’ online journey, alerting them to issues and enabling faster problem resolution.

Providing a seamless web experience

Cognizant head of industries for Australia and New Zealand, Gaurav Sharma said Australians are already spending more time online than usual, and as Click Frenzy drives traffic to websites, retailers must facilitate smooth e-commerce experiences.

“This requires a renewed focus on both customer experience and accessibility, as well as website resilience and ensuring correct load-balancing and backup for back-end systems to facilitate a seamless customer experience,” he told Retailbiz.

“What inadvertently gets overlooked, however, is experience and accessibility for every shopper. Most online stores today highlight the fundamental inequalities in our current digital world, in which e-commerce experiences are built for a user-normative experience.

“In these current economic conditions, demographics for online retailers are expanding to include people who would have never shopped online and therefore may not be familiar with e-commerce so it’s essential that retailers create an online customer experience that is accessible to all.”

Nuance chief fraud prevention officer for security and biometrics, Simon Marchand agreed that convenience and ease of access are paramount for a positive customer experience; however, the seamless experience must be balanced with security to safeguard customer data.

“As consumers react to the growing volume of fraudulent activity—they expect greater protection from the companies with which they do business. In fact, many will take it upon themselves to move away from services that rely on archaic methods, such as passwords, in favour of more innovative approaches like biometrics,” he told Retailbiz.

Security measures must be in place

The Australian retail industry needs to maintain proactive security measures, with more consumers being targeted by cybercriminals rather than internal IT systems particularly during busier periods such as Click Frenzy, Rackspace managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Sean Girvin told Retailbiz.

“In recent times, Australia has seen an increase in cybersecurity risks, with the most common types including phishing for personal or business information, ransomware, fraud and social engineering. There is no room for the industry to be complacent,” he said.

His advice to retailers is to prioritise security assessments, create and implement response plans and build awareness both internally and with their customers around the importance of cybersecurity.

McAfee MVision Cloud Asia Pacific regional director, Joel Camissar echoed Girvin’s viewpoint, suggesting that sales events such as Click Frenzy are an ideal opportunity for cybercriminals to take advantage of phishing and malware attacks

“The retail industry must know what to do to ensure that the personal and financial information for customers are safe and secure,” Camissar said.

“During a major shopping event like Click Frenzy, retailers are under pressure to keep up with increased demand and they are using many different pieces of technology and software. Retailers are encouraged to be extra vigilant to have full visibility and control of their processes and technology, whilst providing their employees with extra training on how to keep their customers’ data secure,” he added.