While the retail industry is facing unprecedented challenges, what’s clear is that Aussie shoppers continue to splash out big when it comes to the holidays. In fact, the Australian Retailers Association predicts Aussie spending to be at almost $1.7 billion just in April alone this year – a figure that is up 14.5% from 2022.

However, what’s even more significant is the continued growth of online retail. Consumers are turning to digital shopping for convenience, choice, and speed, and that’s presenting a meaningful opportunity for retailers, particularly those who offer and promote low prices.

In a recent Cisco AppDynamics survey, 82% of Australian consumers reported that this year, given the uncertain economic conditions, they will rely on brands that offer deals and discounts more than ever before.

Shoppers now demand seamless digital experiences

Great deals alone aren’t enough to satisfy customers and keep them coming back for more. Retailers must recognise that in the age of e-commerce, digital experience is just as critical as price. 68% of Australian consumers state that the digital experience is as important as the deals that are on offer, and 88% of Australian consumers want a fast and seamless digital experience without any delays or disruption. 

Consumers have become far more sophisticated in their use of applications and have come to expect the same high-quality online shopping experiences each time they make a purchase. 82% of Australians claim they won’t take any excuse for poor online experiences, regardless of the deals on offer.

Today, consumers are all too aware that there is always an alternative out there that can immediately deliver the type of digital experience they want, and no longer think twice about permanently deleting a poorly performing app and switching to another brand.

Retailers need unified observability to deliver seamless digital experiences

The message for retailers is clear, they must ensure they deliver seamless digital experiences to shoppers at all times. Any slip-up, and they risk losing customers, revenue, and reputation.

However, managing IT availability and performance is becoming increasingly challenging for many retailers. The rapid adoption of cloud-native technologies such as microservices and Kubernetes to support digital transformation initiatives has left IT teams struggling to get to grips with highly dynamic and sprawling multi-cloud and hybrid environments.

The difficulty of this challenge is expected to escalate as retailers increasingly implement no code and low code platforms to enhance their application release speed. This not only results in a rapid increase in data volumes but also demands IT teams to handle a broader range of cybersecurity attack surfaces. IT teams lack the necessary tools to analyse this flood of information. Technological experts are finding themselves stuck in a reactive mode, struggling to detect and rectify performance issues before they negatively affect the digital experience.

How retailers can regain control over their data

To address this challenge, retailers and their IT teams must ensure they possess complete and unified visibility. Retailers must be able to oversee the performance of crucial business transactions across their entire technology landscape. With immediate access to business transaction telemetry data, technologists can swiftly pinpoint the source of problems and immediately kickstart the resolution process.

Performance and security monitoring should also be integrated, to understand how vulnerabilities and incidents could impact both end users and the business. By utilising business transaction insights, technologists can gauge the severity of threats and prioritise them based on the context of the threat.

Beyond this, real-time generation of business transaction insights and their presentation in business-level dashboards are crucial to filter out irrelevant data and focus on the data that relays important business information. This capability enables retailers to validate their investments and measure the effectiveness of their e-commerce platforms.

Consumer expectations around digital experiences have skyrocketed and retailers must keep up. The key to success? Observability. It’s how retailers can consistently deliver exceptional, seamless experiences that online shoppers have come to expect. This approach positions retailers to drive market share and revenue in a period of robust and sustainable growth in e-commerce, despite the challenging economic conditions.

Simon Pearce is chief technology officer at Cisco AppDynamics, APJC.