it's important to take short-term measures to boost holiday sales but even more important to consider the long term

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Are you a retailer trying to get ready for the 2018 holiday season? Well, I’m afraid I can’t help you.

Just kidding. Sort of.

I could just sit here and share yet another checklist to remind you of all the standard e-commerce table stakes you need to master. Things like load testing, inventory monitoring and management, mobile site optimization, security compliance, paid ads, email drip campaigns, social media campaigns and customer support.

However, what I really want to do is help you get ready for Cyber Monday 2019. And 2020. And 2025. And all the shopping days in between.

Where to begin? Let’s take a long, hard look at your commerce infrastructure.

Big doorbuster sales may be the bread-and-butter strategy for your standard Black Friday weekend, but if you’re looking for long-term success, you’ll need to think beyond new features and promotions. You’ll need to make sure your commerce platform is capable of carrying your storefront into the future, where the world of e-commerce (and commerce in general) moves at a rapid, and accelerating, pace.

Can your commerce platform get you where you need to go? If you suspect the answer is no — don’t panic! Following are four major insights on development, internationalization, channels and data that will help you get ready for the future.

1. Continuous Improvement Allows for Flexibility

Amazon’s dev team deployed new code to production at an average rate of once every 11.6 seconds, Director of Platform Analysis Jon Jenkins revealed at a Velocity Conference talk in 2011. What does this mean in layperson’s terms? It means that the folks at Amazon continually have been building new functionality, updating existing features, A/B testing, and fixing bugs to gradually improve their product and overall customer experience. That’s why they have such phenomenal business results.

If you’re looking to get ready for the future, you’ll want to make sure your org supports this technology-first approach to development. By merging small amounts of code frequently, continuous integration allows dev teams to write better code, be more productive, ship faster, and respond to customer experience requests quickly.

Through continuous deployment (or to a slightly lesser extent, continuous delivery), teams then can automate building, testing and deploying so that software continues to be released in short cycles, allowing for incremental updates.

Smaller, frequent updates offer flexibility, but they also offer the opportunity to build toward a big update without having to shut your entire site down. I recently got an email from a major retailer saying, “…we are about to code freeze for November.”

If your site is on code lockdown for two months before the holidays (that’s 16 percent of the entire year, by the way) because you don’t feel confident that your infrastructure and software can handle changes without crashing, you are falling farther behind every day. The Amazon Effect is real.

2. Tap Into New Markets by Going International

Optimizing your site for international markets means more than simply using a currency converter, or setting up international shipping options. It means personalizing your e-commerce content, defining your targeted products, and tailoring your sales strategy to specific regional markets.

If you’re a clothing retailer looking to tap into new markets,…