With an expected 33 percent of the global market in 2015 and over 37 percent in 2018, the Asia Pacific region is becoming the leader of the e-commerce industry. While the leading e-commerce firms understand their customers and industry trends, they are also aware of the significance of business continuity which helps them to be available 24X7 and maintain their competitiveness in the industry. -By Chandra Sekhar Pulamarasetti
Convenience has been the root cause of many technology innovations and e-commerce industry is a classic example of how convenience drives innovation and novelty. The convenience of 24X7 access of information, products and services has been a big driver of the growth of e-commerce.
Business continuity planning has been a significant part of business survival and has been gaining importance since the last few decades. Irrespective of the firm size, organizations have been investing on business continuity plans and programs to ensure quick readiness and recovery in case of a disaster or an outage. With the advent of e-commerce era, the need for disaster recovery is expected to increase steadily.
Early this year, one of the leading online retail sites faced an outage as its e-commerce site went offline for about 20 minutes. As per a recent report release by the Poneman Institute and Emerson Network Power on the impact of data center outages, the average cost of a datacenter outage is US$ 740,357 and for e-commerce companies the average cost is even higher.
Reasons for e-commerce firms to adopt business continuity
Reputation Management – Reputation is of supreme importance to any organization, the better reputation an organization has, the more successful the firm would be. A customer would certainly not prefer buying from an e-commerce portal which has a high failure rate. The time taken by a portal to recover from an outage determines its credibility and reliability for a customer. With stiff competition, a longer delay than desired for recovery can prove fatal for any e-commerce platform. Customer is the king here and their satisfaction is of supreme importance for business success.
Availability demand – The service availability aspect is yet another factor driving the need for business continuity planning among e-commerce firms. Customers expect the sites to be available 24/7 & 365 days. Even during an incident of an outage, the customers expect the site to be back in few minutes and look forward to continue using the services without any further interruptions. A minor glitch is all that takes the customer to switch to a competition consequently hitting your business to a great extent. A while ago, the recovery time was considered as 24 to 48 hours which later gave way to hours and then to minutes. And at the moment, firms have been adopting a proactive approach to ensure that there is no scope for a downtime at all.
Regaining Customer Trust – Customers are spoilt for choice with the arrival of various similar e-commerce platforms catering to their requirements and services. Once you gain their trust, it is not an uphill task to retain them. But re-gaining the customer’s trust post an IT outage can be a difficult task. The customers do not forget nor forgive very easily these days; an effective business continuity plan can come to your aid at these times.
Outages invariably happen even to the largest and most efficiently run businesses. Outages can occur not only due to natural disaster but also hardware, software, network, power failure or human errors. A disaster recovery plan is of utmost importance and need of the hour for every e-commerce firms.
Investing in disaster recovery is a significant step to be undertaken by every firm. The financial impact for a business due to an outage is much higher compared to investing in a business continuity strategy or plan. With e-commerce business being mostly dependent on software and data, the requirement of disaster recovery is definitely imperative for their survival. The question of ‘if’ a disaster will happen, have become negligible here while ‘when’ will the disaster happen has been doing the rounds. During an outage any businesses dependent on IT cannot do the business at that point and hence business continuity has become a very prominent project for every firm.
E-commerce firms are here to grow and thrive and that is possible only if the access to customers is uninterrupted and smooth. An effective business continuity plan is more of a necessity than a luxury as the businesses in today’s world are dealing with newer risks and larger exposure than ever before.
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