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Retail IT: How Ready Are You for an Omni-Channel Black Friday?

Aternity October 31, 2016

Black Friday is just around the corner, and IT teams at omni-channel retailers are right to have the chills. The good news is that online sales are expected to be a real treat for retailers this year. Last year, analytics firm comScore calculated that consumers spent $70.1B buying gifts online during the holiday season, a 14% jump from the previous year.

According to Adobe Digital Index, around $1.73B was spent online on Thanksgiving 2015, 25% more than the previous year. And for the first time, mobile shopping trumped the desktop, attaining a 57% share.

The truth lurking in the statistics

As strong as these e-Commerce results are, they are dwarfed by the total shopping numbers for the same period. According to the National Retail Federation, total spending for the 2015 holiday season was $626.1B. Strikingly, in-store shopping still makes up the lion’s share (89%) of holiday purchases.

Now for the not-so-great news. Retail IT is still struggling to deliver an excellent omni-channel experience. According to the A.T. Kearney Achieving Excellence in Retail Operations (AERO) study and analysis, retailers are investing heavily in technology, yet are not able to quantify the value in their investment. What the A.T. Kearney study is pointing out here is the fact that:

90% of retail sales still happen within the four walls of a physical store, yet almost none of the investments we see today are about helping store associates do their jobs better. Instead, most focus on consumer-facing technology, even though 80% of consumers say they experience poor service when directly interacting with in-store technology.

End user experience monitoring for excellent customer experience

Although online retailing is projected to increase again this year, omni-channel retailers also need to focus on delivering an excellent in-store customer experience. What can retail IT do to address this critical link in the omni-channel experience chain? The A.T. Kearney study and analysts in the industry recommend a shift in focus of these investments. To provide a seamless experience to the customer, Retail IT needs to monitor the technology-dependent retail workforce at the point of sale (POS).

To learn how a global retailer used SteelCentral Aternity End User Experience Monitoring to monitor the POS operation and successfully avoided several ‘Black Friday’ problem scenarios, read: ‘A Check-Up at Check-Out | 3 Tips to Ensure Excellent Customer Experience at the Point of Sale

Due to the disparate nature of the retail infrastructure environment, IT lacks the visibility into how it impacts the workforce as they run business critical applications like POS, inventory management, and CRM to serve customers. End user experience monitoring can help retail IT troubleshoot end user issues quickly, and reduce mean time to repair, enabling a positive impact on revenue, margin, and the brand. Watch this short video to learn more:

The Infographic below illustrates other common use cases where End User Experience Monitoring has helped our customers:

SteelCentral Aternity Customer Use Cases Across the Retail IT Enterprise

Get ready for your own Black Friday

Learn how other retailers are leveraging End User Experience Monitoring to create a seamless customer and workforce experience with Aternity.

Stop by the SteelCentral Aternity breakout session or demo at the upcoming Riverbed Disrupt Virtual event.


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