As we settle into 2021, retailers are preparing for a big year ahead of shopping sale events. From Easter sales to Mother’s and Father’s Day, and Black Friday, the list goes on. But this year, many retailers are establishing their online stores and applications to cater to the increased appetite for digital shopping over physical stores.

A survey conducted by Salesforce in 2020 found that, compared to 2019, 48 percent of Millennials and Gen Z consumers are more interested to shop for the holidays online, and 42 percent are more interested to shop in-app.

Without a doubt, COVID-19 has accelerated the need for applications to be high-performing, secure and reliable to deliver on seamless digital experiences, and now’s the time to get your retail app in shape for a big year ahead.

Here are four ways to bring adaptive applications to life, so that retailers can effectively focus on their core business, boost speed to market, and ultimately deliver on seamless, secure digital experiences—while adapting to the ever-changing marketplace and consumer demands.


Retailers who leverage automation when it comes to their applications will reap the rewards of a more streamlined and accelerated application development and deployment across different environments. This will ultimately get your apps to market faster, and more securely, creating differentiated digital experiences for your customers.

As we experienced with COVID-19, the retail industry was forced to address the change in environment almost instantaneously, and welcome a newfound reliance on web and mobile applications. Therefore, the ability to quickly adapt to a new or heightened demand is achieved best with automation.


Application security is a crucial part of ensuring smooth and safe online transactions for customers, especially when cybercriminals are more active during sale events. Four of five respondents to F5’s State of Application Strategy report call application security and delivery technology critical, and for retailers, the need for security is two-fold. They must ensure the protection of not just their own system and operations, but their customers as well.

By deploying comprehensive security solutions that defend your apps from bot, DDoS and DNS attacks, credential stuffing and unauthorised access, retailers will be on the front foot of the ever-changing threat landscape.


Now more than ever before, retailers should be prioritising the delivery of extraordinary digital experiences for every customer, at all times. F5’s recent State of Application Strategy report found that application performance improvement is the top goal (43 percent of respondents) underpinning their current or future edge deployments. Nowadays, it’s equally important for retailers to consider what impact a security solution may have on the user experience and prioritise solutions that don’t cause user friction.

Leveraging services such as API management, load balancing, container ingress, and disaster recovery will help retailers adapt quickly to a change in condition or uptick in demand (prompted by sale events), and guarantee a best-in-class performance.


According to F5’s State of Application Strategy report, nearly three quarters of respondents (75 percent) consider telemetry about application security and delivery important for meeting business outcomes. However, 95 per cent of respondents said they are missing insights from their existing monitoring and analytics solutions.

For retailers, it’s important to have real-time visibility and analysis of all transactions, web and application traffic, and security in order to accurately track and act on any inconsistencies. This will enable a consistent delivery of high-performing and reliable digital experiences. Harnessing the power of data and insights will significantly help retailers make better business decisions, and adapt to the changing demands of their customers and environment in which they operate.

Leveraging the elements of automation, security, performance, and insight solutions will enable adaptive applications for retailers so they can focus on bolstering their offerings and services, and continue meeting the demands of their customers all year round.

Michael Christie is director for solutions engineering – Australia & New Zealand at F5.