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Resellers selling into the retail sector are about to go through one of the most stressful weeks of the year as their customers gear up for Black Friday.
With this weekend marking one of the main moments consumers spend big before Christmas the emphasis might be on getting the best deals but for those with an eye on the IT the next few days is going to be about data.
On the one hand that means making use of the data around offers and stock to ensure that customers get current information about what a retailer can offer.
"Last year Black Friday itself was worth a total of £2.5bn in sales to the UK economy. However, if retailers fail to stand out against the intense competition, Black Friday could well be a Bleak Friday for them," said Chris Haines, director of consulting at Amplience.
“To make the most out of the week and the increasingly important Cyber Monday, retailers should be focusing on their digital content. Retail is steadily marching towards the web, and Black Friday this year will be fought out online and on mobile," he added.
But it is also about ensuring that data is protected, particularly over some of the busiest days of the year.
"Thanks to the popularity of ecommerce sites and credit card payments, the Black Friday shopping season has become synonymous with a peak in credit card thefts, site spoofing and DDoS attacks. It’s as much an occasion for cyber criminals as it is for consumers looking for a bargain," said Spencer Young, rvp EMEA at Imperva.
"Retailers must also take responsibility for investing time and effort in testing their security measures ahead of the season," he added.
There are also dangers that some retailers will get caught out by different shopping patterns and Ajmal Mahmood, customer solution architect, KCOM, warned against wrongly interpreting the sales the go through the tills.
"Buying habits change during big sales events, with some consumers making more impulse purchases, some stocking up on discounted items and some simply shopping as usual. It’s prudent for retailers to isolate the data collected during sales events, to ensure that they don’t significantly affect their personalisation algorithms across the year," he said.