The holiday season is unquestionably among the most important times of year for businesses in a variety of sectors. A high level of success in this relatively short period can have a major impact on an organization's overall bottom line.
There are many, many factors that decision-makers must take into account when preparing and executing their plans for this period. One of the most oft-overlooked yet critical of these, as Smart Data Collective contributor Michele Nemschoff recently highlighted, is data latency.
Consumer attention spans dropping
Consumers' increasingly short attention spans are one of the main reasons why businesses need to concern themselves with the issue of data latency, according to Nemschoff.
Notably, she cited a recent IBM study that found the average amount of time that a consumer spends on a given website has reached an all-time low, while bounce rates have escalated. These trends are likely exacerbated by the sheer, overwhelming number of options available to customers.
"Today's consumer is inundated with ads and promotions from hundreds of retailers trying to get their attention," Nemschoff wrote. "With so many distractions and options, retailers that fail to offer what the consumer is looking for in a timely manner will be passed over for a retailer who better understands the need of the consumer and able to meet those needs more quickly."
By improving data latency, a business can significantly upgrade the speed and overall quality of the online experience it offers to its consumers, particularly during a traffic-heavy time of year, such as the holiday season.
Another key consideration, according to Nemschoff, is mobile. Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones and other mobile devices to shop and browse businesses websites. Organizations need to cater to these shoppers or else they may lose a large percentage of their potential customer base.
If data latency is not addressed in this area, mobile consumers will likely experience frustratingly long load times and navigation issues, Nemschoff noted. This will hurt the firm's bottom line. By ensuring that data latency is not an issue for mobile customers, though, businesses can gain a significant advantage over their less sophisticated rivals.
The WAFS solution
Of course, simply understanding the need to cut down on data latency does not lead to results. To actually achieve this goal, business decision-makers need to make this objective a priority and embrace the tools that can effectively improve data delivery performance.
Wide Area File Services (WAFS) may prove critical in this regard. With a WAFS solution in place, network traffic can be managed far more effectively and efficiently, as files are transparently replicated between servers. This makes navigating the organization's website a faster and less frustrating experience, which is likely to yield major dividends for businesses of all kinds. Importantly, these gains will not be limited to the holiday season, but rather will be experienced throughout the year.