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The hidden IT costs of Christmas

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A number of high street brands have been announcing record breaking online sales and growth in the use of online channels compared with 2013. Indeed, Sainsbury’s claims Christmas 2014 was its biggest to date for online groceries.

Kevin Linsell, Head of Service Development at Adapt advises on retailers looking to pre-empt the hidden IT costs of Christmas and keep infrastructure protected during this time.

“With the New Year here and end of season sales fading, retailers have begun boasting about their festive takings. Sainsbury’s takes the top spot for online grocery retail, with more than 110, 000 online orders delivered to customers in the days before the holiday. The company announced a record-breaking 29.5m customer transactions online and in store during the week before Christmas - and they weren’t alone. John Lewis also announced that 36% of sales over the Christmas period were conducted through its website - a 19% increase in the use of its online channels compared to 2013.

With consumer demands rising, retailers must provision an infrastructure that supports seasonal demand. Sainsbury’s and Waitrose were both scorned in December when they experienced technical issues on their websites due to unexpected demand, resulting in the cancellation of Christmas deliveries for customers. The cost for the retailers themselves is loss of customer loyalty and revenue.

So how to avoid the hidden IT cost of Christmas? With the popularity of online shopping and sales such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday set to continue into 2015, it is important that online retailers get it right. This New Year, retailers need to consider their capabilities ahead of time and:

-Review and assess value add of their suppliers

-Review business continuity plans

-Adapt and prepare for growth

This process can be tough, however, working with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) that takes the time to understand your business is a step towards ensuring success. Having access to experts who can and will work as an extension of your IT team and integrating core services is crucial to reliable service. An MSP that understands how to sustain business operations during busy periods could be vital for retailers looking to safeguard their online sales opportunities in the years to come.”

Published on Monday 12 January by Veebs Sabharwal

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