Finding the right technologies ahead of time can help retailers thrive during the holiday rush
For consumers, it seems to happen every year: the holiday season sneaks up on us. I’m not sure why this happens since it is the same time every year yet, despite my best efforts to get ahead of things, it always feels like I’m not prepared for the holidays. While this is an inconvenience for consumers, it is a killer for businesses. Retailers need to be prepared because the ones that thrive during the mad rush of the holidays are the ones who planned ahead and mapped out how they could provide the best customer experience possible across all customer touch points, while also being ready to contend with market trends and technology challenges.
The 2016 holiday shopping season comes quickly upon us — have you prepared? If the last two years are indicators, online holiday shopping traffic will peak earlier than ever before, and those peaks will last longer. Retailers take note. You need to be prepared for every day during the holiday season to be like Cyber Monday. As you know, e-retail is a popular space and consumers know they have options. In fact, 40% of users abandon web sites that take more than 3 seconds to load.
To help you keep your customers from turning to the competition due to latency, below are some recommendations for proactive infrastructure holiday prep and optimization. These include:
- Scrutinizing your entire technology infrastructure (cloud, content delivery network, domain name system and transit services), including applications and connections to outside technology providers, such as content management system, translation and live chat providers to identify where performance is falling and why.
- Don’t just focus on uptime or page load times, but look deeper into how best to meet consumer expectations for performance, such as how fast traffic can be rerouted to another server if needed without a noticeable drop in performance.
- Manage vendor relationships regularly. Just because you don’t directly manage a third party technology does not mean they have to be passive when it comes to maintaining their performance
- Ask questions about your providers’ disaster recovery plans and operational redundancies. It’s in your best interest to hold your technology partners accountable.
Finally, to take holiday prep one step further, retailers should also consider an insurance policy to ensure the highest level of uptime and availability through the holiday season. This insurance policy is reinforced Domain Name System (DNS). We’re not just talking active failover, but a secondary DNS solution that operates in an “always on” manner to complement your existing infrastructure as an additional authoritative DNS service.
Breaking down DNS
Here’s how it works…When an end user’s recursive server initiates a DNS request, both your existing GLB appliances and the secondary DNS service will respond as soon as they receive the request. Whichever response reaches the recursive server first will be passed back to the end user, completing their request.
This process effectively creates a race to respond to each incoming DNS request, ensuring performance will only improve. All domain information will continue to be configured on-premise in the same manner in which it’s managed today. This information will then be synchronized with the secondary service (using one of several industry supported protocols) to ensure both solutions are returning the same information to end users.
Secondary DNS reduces the risk of outages to critical services while also protecting against delays in connecting users to these services as any degradation on either the secondary service or the on-premise solution will simply result in the alternative service winning the majority of the races to respond to incoming requests.
It’s not too late to incorporate these best practices for the upcoming holiday season. You’re not coded on lock-down just yet and something as simple as secondary DNS requires little to no time to implement and yet could save you a substantial amount of holiday revenue in the long run.