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How online retailers can avoid a downtime nightmare

Jan-Jaap Jager, Vice President, APAC and Emerging Markets, Acronis | June 3, 2015
More money than ever is being spent online and big brands need to make sure they're open for business online 24/7. This means bolstering the backend IT to keep systems and websites up and running.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Online sales have been an absolute boon for retailers as in-store revenues decline. Cyber Mondays and Thanksgiving weekends have in the last few years recorded phenomenal jump in online sales across the Western world.

In Singapore, rising labour costs and high rents are common complaints among businesses. But even as these costs continue to put pressure on companies, a small but growing group of e-commerce companies are thriving as they cut out these cost constraints.

Although Internet sales in Singapore amount to only US$7 million a year compared to China's US$100 billion, e-commerce firms say Singapore is a good base to test-bed strategies before they launch or expand into other Southeast Asian markets.

Giosis, the firm behind the online shopping site Qoo10, saw its transaction volumes double last year. E-commerce sales already makes up 15 per cent of total retail volume in markets like the US and Europe. In Singapore, it is less than one percent of the total retail sales. Qoo10, Zalora and Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten are among the larger online players in Singapore.

Point being, more money than ever is being spent online, and big brands need to make sure they're open for business online 24/7. That means bolstering their backend IT to keep systems and websites up and running.

Cost of downtime

Because imagine if the web site of an online retailer went down. It could happen for any number of reasons: natural disaster, an overloaded server, or human error. Your server crashes, your website is offline, and before you know it, you've lost millions in sales and your customers are spending their dollars elsewhere. It's your Nightmare Before Christmas come to life.

Can you imagine if Amazon went down on Cyber Monday? Year on year Amazon has reported a growth of more than 40% in its online sales over the last couple of years.

Unfortunately, this hypothetical nightmare can be a reality. Many companies are susceptible to downtime because their backend IT environments are becoming increasingly complex and hard to manage -- with both physical and virtual servers holding critical data and supporting essential ecommerce and web applications. And only 37 percent of companies have IT departments that consider their data protection plans adequate in those complex environments. This is a legitimate problem for brands hoping to have a successful, stress-free online holiday shopping season with near-zero downtime.

To make things even more stressful: everything is a time crunch. IT used to have hours or even days to bring a server back up, but with today's fast-paced consumers chomping at the bit, it's essential to get systems back up within a matter of minutes.

 

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