Consulting firm Accenture has been discussing the importance of hyper-relevance in e-commerce and across online experiences. What is hyper-relevance? Essentially, it’s argued that we are moving beyond an age of personalization toward a more contextual and individual online (and in this case, shopping) experience. That is, personalization has not always performed well historically, whether because the company in question has the wrong or not enough information about the individual consumer to make personalization truly personal - or because the infrastructure powering sites that employ personalization has failed to deliver when the stakes were high.
Every year around this time, companies start to tell (or be told) cautionary tales about the e-commerce ghosts of Black Fridays past. Here we mean recounting the calamitous failures of major online retailers, essentially falling short of a good customer experience or being completely unable to deliver website content at their biggest revenue-making moment of the year. And without fail, this pattern is repeated annually – both the cautionary pleas to take action against such catastrophes and the retailers who have somehow declined to take heed.
We’ve reached that time of year when most e-commerce sites are finishing up their efforts to strengthen and secure their website performance before big holiday shopping kicks off in earnest. The frenzy is unpredictable - and no retailer, big or small, is immune. As more shoppers move online for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, and the shopping season extends to become a season unto itself, there are more unpredictable factors over a longer period of time, meaning that preparation, risk assessment and stress testing are essential. Many different stumbling blocks can get in the way of site performance and, ultimately, of capitalizing on major marketing campaigns you’ve invested in. The bottom line is that you may even alienate customers with your online traffic jam (they went online to avoid the crowds!), keeping them away not only during the holidays but later, too.
Everyone shops online these days - and everyone expects instant results when they start their online shopping journey, whether in simply searching for products or getting personalized recommendations. A lot of technical work is going on behind-the-scenes to enable this seamless shopping experience, but the end-user doesn’t need to know… and certainly doesn’t need to experience the delays that come along with many major e-commerce platforms.