Hybrid IT is what needed to make retail services on ‘Cloud’ Nine
Cloud computing allows end-users to utilize a network of remote servers hosted over the internet to store, manage, and process data instead of relying on a local server or system.
The edge over competitor depends upon how quickly you transform your business with the help of technology and similarly for global giant Walmart it is imperative to rope in Microsoft for its marketplace.
According to analysis global retail sales are expected to prosper nearly $28 trillion in 2019, up from $22.512 trillion in 2015. In this context to fulfill the demand, big retailers are shifting to new technologies. The rise of omnichannel retail (mobile, desktop online) is also increasing their need to adapt. The customers expect to be able to make purchases from whatever channel they choose in a swift and efficient manner.
Technologies in cloud computing
- Software as a Service (SaaS) is the distribution of software hosted by a provider in a central and remote location and made available to consumers over a network. SaaS uses a pay-as-you-go pricing model, which decreases or increases the number of software licenses based on need, without having to procure, install or maintain software or hardware or incur ongoing maintenance costs. When retailers use the SaaS delivery model, they can access, business applications, such as accounts payable and customer loyalty virtually.
- With Platform as a Service (PaaS), the complete application development and deployment platform (both hardware and software) can be delivered as a service, typically over the Internet. Developers can create, test, deploy and host applications quickly without having to bear the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying software and hardware.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides hardware components such as servers, network equipment, memory, CPUs and disk space. With IaaS, a retailer could run all operations without installing and maintaining in-house data centers.
Based upon Market research analysis, the three service models of Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) will tremendously impact retailers. But in the retail industry, SaaS is expected to hold the largest market size during the forecast period of 2016-2021, as compared to the other two service models, as retailers have an affinity for enhancing functionalities that are customer-facing.
Where is the cloud?
Big companies and retailers are betting big on this technology. It is going popular amongst the e-commerce as internet penetration increased and customers are using mobile applications for quick product and price comparisons before purchase options.
The cloud-based data processing capabilities give retailers edge to react to changing market conditions, intact with customers and promising cost-savings and operational efficiencies. Going through some or all data processing to the public clouds e.g., Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, etc., used to be a major technical test, new big data services have made projects uncomplicated and more cost-effective for enterprises.
Here are a few other things you can do with the cloud:
- Create new apps and services
- Store, back up and recover data
- Host websites and blogs
- Stream audio and video
- Deliver software on demand
- Analyze data for patterns and make predictions
The trends of opening plush showrooms have made e-commerce companies look over their strategies where customers are looking for a product of their likings with ease before changing mind over offers.
How retail is in the cloud?
In modern times where technology is revolutionizing the business, retailers are magnifying themselves competing in the global marketplace that is astonished by the growth in mobile devices.
The mobile-first mindset has pushed retailers to focus on offering a convenient, seamless mobile environment for customers while searching an e-commerce site or a physical store. The company targets mobile-savvy customers with Wi-Fi zone and they will decide to shop with in-store coupons and sales offers, in part because 8 in 10 customers say they are more likely to purchase from a retailer who provides offers that meet their interests.
Berlin-based fashion startup, Lesara is using data analytics to make number-based opinions about production and selling. For it, Lesara collate data from various online modes, including e-retailers, search engines, and social media to make real-time, informed business choices. The analysis can also identify retro trends that are making comebacks, which styles are on the way out, and that helps us to precisely manage our production.
Hence, Lesara can identify a new style and offer it for sale on its website in 10 days. And due to its range of smart data, it’s able to identify and produce more than 50,000 unique fashion items each year.
Cloud computing is also enabling retailers to more effectively manage their inventory. Hallmark Cards, a $4 billion company that sells greeting cards and other products in nearly 40,000 stores worldwide. Retail-as-a-Service private cloud, Hallmark with retail partners can conduct real-time inventory tracking, including stock availability, store orders, and shipping details.
Benefits of cloud computing:
- Swift deployment of new capabilities. The use of a common warehouse, combined with scheduling and automation, means that new capabilities can be deployed much more rapidly. This is due, in part, to faster testing and ensuring tests are thorough and complete (for both unit and integration tests).
- Enhanced consistency and quality and new potential. A common image repository — one in which common and reusable images are tested and hardened — ensures consistent, higher-quality results.
- Improved efficiency in the use of IT infrastructure. Cloud computing helps provide significant reuse of existing compute, storage and data resources by simplifying access to them.
- Quicker integration with partners, vendors, customers, and suppliers. A cloud-based test environment requires standardization and consistency. This approach allows external partners (such as outsourced development firms) to plan test phases more efficiently and confidently because the environment is consistent and well known.
A report from The Economist Intelligence Unit and IBM find that, among 572 business leaders surveyed, almost three-fourths indicate their companies have piloted, adopted or substantially implemented cloud in their organizations – and 90% expect to have done so in three years. And the number of respondents whose companies have “substantially implemented” cloud is expected to grow from 13% today to 41% in three years.
The cloud technology is widely recognized as a game changer for big and small enterprises solutions. Its strength for cruising business remains virtually untapped. Interestingly, this research substantially reveals organizations intend to pursue on the cloud to enhance their business capabilities, only 38% cite cloud as a leading priority for the entire company.
Somewhat, the cloud is still viewed by many as a leading IT solution, with 62% citing cloud as a leading priority for their IT organizations. The potential of cloud computing for retail extends far beyond the thought of the IT. Retailers place a lot of significance on reputation and customer perception – both of which can be positively maintained within the cloud.