The retail game is changing faster than a Black Friday crowd storming down an aisle. Historically, the Retail world has been slow to adopt new technology. But in order to stay relevant and not go the way of The Gap, retailers are revving up to keep up with the ever increasingly savvy consumer. So what are those issues that keep the CIO of a retailer up at nights more so than an out of stock item on the busiest shopping day of the year? Most important, what are the reasons retailers should be utilizing cloud technology?
Scalability and Availability
From the largest to the smallest retailer, the ability to scale according to need or season and having an internal infrastructure that is reliable during high traffic times is what can make or break a retail business. IaaS can give the retailer an infinite ability to expand as their need dictates. This equates to less cost for the retailer (who incidentally passes it on to the consumer) in purchasing servers or hardware to keep up with the higher demand. Having the cloud also eliminates server failures, which is especially crucial in times of high volume. The server fluctuation that at holiday time keeps the CIO in panic mode has the ability to scale automatically according to the need with the use of the cloud. Accessibility, security and scalability without hardware are what gives the CIO sweet dreams!
Seamless Back-Up and DR
Cloud computing can offer retail operational backup and disaster recovery processes on an easy to use cloud platform. Manual tape back-ups are obsolete and on an inconsistent schedule or at the mercy of the employees to do it. Valuable information and data, like accounting systems, customer histories, shipping and logistics can cripple a retail establishment if it is lost. Cloud DR takes the servers and manual process out of the picture. If the actual brick and mortar store gets wiped out from a disaster of any type, the operational infrastructure is safe and sound in the cloud. It also minimizes the risk of completely going under after a disaster, which often happens with those retailers relying on their hardware to help them! The revved up retailer can rest easy on his cloud, knowing their data is safe and easily accessible.
Internal Communications and Support
The cloud offers the retailer the ability to segment and portion off their data and data access across multiple departments. Coupled with password and encryption it is a more secure way to handle sensitive data in a high turn-over industry. Another key factor is collaboration and the ability for multiple project managers at multiple locations to work together.
Internal operations and human resources also have the ability to work from a centralized database where employee manuals, training, and employee files can all be accessed or modified quickly.
The latest revved up predictions for retail in the coming year all interface with cloud technology and are additional reasons the retailer needs to stay current in the cloud.
The customer experience is key, but the bottom line is the bottom line. Retailers want to increase meaningful customer relations, improve their internal communications and support system infrastructure and stay up with the latest trends, but also have to do so within the realm of their budget. Cloud technology allows the retailer to pay for use as it scales, which is a key metric in sustainable retail. Mobile, personalized, integrated and timely retail options are what the market is requiring.
The revved up retailer realizes the cloud can deliver whether your shopping cart is virtual or metal with wheels. So get a leg up on the competition by putting the Cloud in your shopping cart and check out a better way of doing business.