The Australian retail sector is under increasing scrutiny, as consumers and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) pay close attention to market competition. By the end of the 2022-2023 financial year, there were more than 155,000 businesses operating across the Australian retail trade industry, representing an overall increase of over 20,000 businesses since 2017 (1). At the same time, Australia’s total retail turnover increased by more than $14 billion in 2023 to approximately $425 billion (2).

Australian retailers are recognising the need to adapt and leverage technology to keep pace in a rapidly evolving market. Investment in automation and artificial intelligence (AI) is reportedly one of the top priorities for retailers in 2024, along with the need to provide a seamless, omnichannel presence to meet customer expectations (3).  

Maintaining a marketplace with minimal downtime is crucial as the industry becomes more digitally oriented, consumers’ expectations evolve, and any interruption or downtime leads to direct financial loss, reputational damage, and lost customer loyalty.  

To this end, hybrid observability has emerged as a crucial strategy for retailers wanting to stay ahead of the competition. Hybrid observability is a comprehensive approach that lets retailers gain insights into their entire system’s performance, encompassing everything from the front end to the back end on premise and in the cloud, including customer-facing applications and supply chain logistics. It’s critical for troubleshooting, optimising operations, and ensuring that every touchpoint in the customer journey is seamless and efficient.  

Importantly, it’s a technological upgrade that transforms how retailers can harness data and insights across their operations to make informed decisions. The retail sector is characterised by complex supply chains and inventory management challenges, and digital transformation has made these aspects even more intricate, with the integration of e-commerce and mobile commerce with physical stores.  

Hybrid observability provides a holistic view of a retailer’s technological ecosystem, integrating data from various sources into a single, unified platform for greater visibility into supply chain operations and inventory levels. This is vital for managing stock efficiently, avoiding overstock or stockouts, and ensuring that customer demands are met promptly and accurately. It also facilitates better decision-making regarding procurement, distribution, and inventory placement, which are critical for maintaining competitive pricing and high service levels.  

This consolidation delivers real-time troubleshooting and system optimisation to ensure that all components operate seamlessly. This means that retailers can pre-emptively identify and address issues before they impact the customer experience (CX), maintaining the integrity of their online presence.

Implementing a single platform for observability lets retailers streamline their operational monitoring processes. Traditional methods often rely on siloed monitoring tools that can lead to fragmented insights and delayed response times, compounding problems rather than solving them. Comparatively, a hybrid observability platform delivers a consolidated view that empowers retailers to proactively identify and address issues while simultaneously reducing downtime, optimising the performance of digital assets, and ensuring that online marketplaces are always available.  

Hybrid observability also supports strategic decision-making, giving retailers access to comprehensive, accurate data from across the business to identify trends, assess performance, and allocate resources more effectively. Retailers can tailor their offerings, optimise their marketing efforts, and refine their customer engagement strategies based on insights gleaned from an observability platform.  

As retailers leverage technology to adapt to the evolving market, hybrid observability solutions offer a strategic advantage. By providing a comprehensive view of the entire technological ecosystem, hybrid observability empowers businesses to optimise operations, minimise downtime, simplify supply chain management, and improve inventory accuracy for seamless CX.

Agility and responsiveness through informed decision-making is invaluable, and unified observability lets retailers address their immediate operational needs while also laying the foundation for sustainable growth and success.

Richard Gerdis is vice president for APAC at LogicMonitor.