The importance of the cloud is growing exponentially. Gartner forecasts that the cloud services market will grow 17.3% in 2019 ($206.2 billion) and by 2022, 90% of organizations will be using cloud services.
Cloud services are helping the retail industry in many ways from reducing infrastructure, storage, and computing cost to enabling real-time access to operational and inventory data. Cloud computing is transforming the retail sector in many ways from efficient inventory management, data security, improving user experience, enhancing profitability to disaster management.
Efficient Inventory Management
Efficient management of inventory is one of the common challenges faced in the retail industry. Big retail companies that manage multiple stores at different locations cannot check or manage their stock in real-time. With cloud computing, retailers can have wide visibility of their stocks. Cloud offers access to real-time data, cloud architecture and analytics platforms to build both predictive and prescriptive inventory forecasting that significantly decreases their issues such as stocks shortage.
Moreover, when managing multiple stores, you do not need to synchronize the inventories of multiple stores manually as you can access data and stocks any time and from anywhere to check the real-time stock availability.
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Improve Data Security
Retailers receive continuous flow of customers, and continuous data is being generated every day. Cloud computing plays an efficient role in managing such a huge amount of data generated from their sales, stock or inventory data, or a customer’s data etc. Moreover, such business-sensitive data should be handled with complete care. One of the main causes of business failure is the loss of confidential business data (personally identifiable information) which is Network Infiltration, DDoS Attacks (most common attacks on computers and the network/server) Ransomware (infect systems and compromise data).
Data security is, therefore, one of the biggest problems to be addressed. Most of the retailers maintain their sales figures, inventory reports, customer feedback among others on the local servers. Whereas it is always better to store data on the cloud. Cloud helps you secure the data using advance firewalls, encryption, event logging, internal firewalls, and physical security etc.
Improving customer experience
Customer data and sales data collected by retailers have not been fully utilized. Cloud services provider uses high-power computing resource and statistical model to analyse data. Retailers can use the data coming from connected devices to analyze the buying behaviour, trends and interactions with the brand with its huge database and can create an edge to the decision-making process.
By using consumer data analytics for predictive purchases, retailers can predict the buying behaviour of their customers Eg: What product the customers are buying every time. If they are buying discounted products or not, what is the price range of the product they are buying? This data is stored on cloud and with the help of analytics, retailers develop their marketing, pricing, or merchandising strategies to attract more customers. As cloud has become more secure, reliable, and affordable for data storage and processing the use of data analytics in cloud is also growing.
Often consumers find difficulty during checkouts while making payments. For quick and hassle-free checkout cloud-based POS systems can be useful that will reduce the time and enhance the consumer experience.
The retail market is struggling to maintain its profit. Hence, to maintain its profit margin they need to cut costs in various ways such as infrastructure, operations, logistics, etc. to stay in the business.
Cloud computing helps in savings IT infrastructure costs. Retailers can use it to reduce spending on software, infrastructure, licensing fees etc. Moving to cloud technology makes it possible for retailers to save their capital on server maintenance. Most retailers deal with big data continuously hence cloud technology becomes useful in their day-to-day operations.
Cloud-Enabled Disaster Management
The data is the most valuable resource in this digital age, one should always take appropriate precautionary actions to protect the data. Traditionally the data was recovered manually, which can be time-consuming and require constant maintenance and support. With the help of cloud disaster recovery model one can store data, which can be accessed from any location and at any time. A backup and disaster recovery in cloud can be initiated from any place and each step of the process can be automated.
Due to its scalability, cost-effective, and reliability, cloud computing disaster recovery has become the most convenient option for all enterprises. Such cloud disaster recovery uses cloud data centres located remotely to support business operations, which are impacted by several events.
Cloud technology has become an essential part of almost all technology companies and has recently gained a lot of attention in the retail industry. Small retail businesses seeing growth from integrating and gradually switching to cloud technology to reduce operation infrastructure costs, improve security, provide real-time access to inventory and provide a seamless user experience. eInfochips – an Arrow Company is an AWS and Microsoft Azure consulting partner. Due to the widespread expertise in cloud platforms, eInfochips’ cloud landscape has extended to various industry verticals such as retail, transportation, manufacturing etc. We help IoT solution providers to optimize their computing infrastructure with our edge and fog computing expertise.