The holiday season creates a massive surge in technology. If your business or service relies on the internet or any form of new technology, you need to be prepared for the spike in activity coming your way. If you haven’t already implemented the following precautions, now is the time to program your smartphone to auto dialing your IT department as soon as something starts to fail.
Here is our list of the top five technologies that will save your online business this holiday season:
1. Balancing the Load
With such a massive hit one website can take with a high volume of traffic – thanks to such marketing ploys as Black Friday and Cyber Money – online sites risk going down. You can prevent this with a sensible solution known as Application Delivery Controllers. ADCs are pretty awesome tools. What they do is act as regulators which provide load balancing which ensures peak performance of an online property during peak traffic. They secure web applications and essentially keep everything on your website operational when the going gets tough. Plus, they maintain security so that even when your website is getting pummeled by anxious shoppers, nothing leaks through the cracks.
2. Chat It Up
Have you got a live chat program connected to your website? Well, guess what? With heavy online holiday traffic one great way to get your customers through the maze of your eCommerce operation is to provide live chat. You’ve likely seen it as a window that pops up on some websites. It’s that floating box that asks you if they can be of service. If you’ve often looked at that thinking it’s a chatbot of some kind, think again. It’s directly linked to live operators who can provide you with instant customer service to guide you through your shopping experience. Without it at your website you are not really helping your customers.
3. Easy Pay, All Through the Day
Considering the fact that more and more shoppers are turning to their mobile devices to do their shopping, your website needs to be able to help these eager customers to spend their money. This includes having the capacity available to accommodate hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands of customers weaving their way through your virtual checkout process at any given moment. Your system requires pay-as-you-go technologies that are designed specifically for this purpose. It enables customers to shop with their mobile devices while riding the subway into work or while waiting for dinner to finish cooking. Having the right system in place keeps your business operation online.
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4. Once They Are In Your Store…
For retail outlets, the challenge is not so much getting customers inside your store as much as it is getting those customers to act on in-store sales and promotions. Since the idea is to encourage additional in-store purchases, you need to have the right technology up and running to address the potential feeding frenzy that can result from the correct ‘blue light special’ in-store promotion. This means that all in-house retail store systems are operational. This includes POS/card readers. Outdated equipment or equipment with old software can result in debit/credit cards not being read correctly and potential losses in sales. During the holiday peak sales season you cannot afford to have this snag get anywhere near your business. If anything, wish it on your competitor as you can bet they’ve been wishing it on you.
5. Got Mobile, Not Stationary
Speaking of retail sales solutions, with so many customers in-store over the holidays and two checkout counters, how are you going to keep up? One option is to implement mobile POS solutions to the mix. This can be in the form of a tablet which can be linked into your overall sales program. What the cordless POS outlets do, including POS debit/credit card readers, is that they provide freedom for payments to be processed and collected elsewhere on the sales floor. This enables staff to process purchases without having to make customers wait in line at a checkout if they don’t have to. Plus, with an instant payment option available on the sales floor, conversion rates increase. The longer someone waits in line to pay for something, the longer they have to reconsider the purchase.
How to Make All of These Technologies Successful In Your Business
Your business can have all the best technological solutions in place but what really helps keep your business on track during the influx of holiday shopping traffic is your staff. If your employees have a full understanding of how the technologies work and what their purpose is within your business, you stand a better chance of surviving the Christmas shopping rush with minimal problem. Including all members of your staff when these technologies are put in place helps in team building and can assist in addressing issues long before they can develop. With everyone on the same page and working together, even a minor glitch in a system can be overcome.
You do not want your staff to fear the technology. You want them to see how it can make their jobs a little bit easier and that will make a difference. The last thing you want to do is have a major outage that forces everyone to resort to using pen and paper to record sales and write receipts. With these five technologies in place going into this holiday season you can prevent having your retro business turned into an old-school dinosaur because of a server overload or an outdated POS card reader. Because as soon as that happens, you will lose customers and end up sending them to your competitor. Trust us, that is not why you are in business. This holiday season you do not want it to be a ho-ho-horrible Christmas sales season. You want it to be one for the record books.