10 Reasons Retail Businesses should move to the Cloud
Retailers need to become more agile, yet many are hindered by legacy in-house IT systems that are difficult to integrate with new technologies and are costiy to run.
Cloud computing offers a way for retailers to gain greater agility and compete better, particularly with pure-play eCommerce rivals who have the advantage that they are not held back by legacy systems.
A cloud-based solution such as Openbravo Commerce Cloud offers many advantages, which we briefly summarize below.
Improved channel operations
Your customers expect a personalized interaction with you regardless of the channel. However, many retailers operate in a disjointed way due to outdated legacy systems that prevent them from effectively integrating operations such as inventory, shipping or POS.
By moving to the cloud, it is much easier to deliver the seamless customer experience that consumers demand.
Greater supply chain visibility
Thanks to cloud computing, retailers can gain much better visibility into their supply chain across the entire enterprise as every part of the business is connected to the cloud.
That means less stock-outs, optimized inventory levels and enables retailers to capture real-time location data on inventory so ensuring that it is optimally positioned in the supply chain.
Easier supplier integration
With the cloud, you can colaborate more easily with suppliers and so capture real-time status of consignments, digitized documents from suppliers, carriers and logistics providers, or data from third-party loyalty programs to help you make merchandise decisions.
If desired, you can also move to an endless aisle fulfilment model by enabling your sales associates to access inventory held by third-party suppliers that your stores do not carry.
Personalized customer service
The cloud helps you gain real-time access to customer data so enabling store associates to instantly pull up the sales history of a particular customer or check on the status of an order, irrespective of the channel used to place the order .
With a 360-degree of the customer, retailers can get closer and offer personalized recommendations or special offers that are more likely to be succesful. This is particularly important in omnichannel retailing as customer journeys are fragmented across different channels.
Greater insights into business performance
A retail business generates a considerable amount of data but traditionally that data has been fragmented across functional silos and different IT systems, which makes it difficult to see well your retail business is performing.
By moving to the cloud, you can tear down those IT silos and allow information to flow more smoothly throughout the organiation.
Secure and reliable
Two of the biggest concerns for retailers we talk to about cloud computing are security and reliability. Retailers want to know secure is their data when it is hosted in the cloud and how reliable is the cloud computing infrastructure.
In the case of Openbravo Commerce Cloud, our service level agreements offer higher levels of availability than those typically achieved with on-premise systems.
As for security, the cloud creates new security concerns but cloud-stored data is generally safer than data stored locally on your own servers. In addition, the cloud infrastructure providers used by Openbravo use a comprehensive set of deterrent, preventive and detective controls and back-up procedures to provide the highest levels of security.
The retail world is evolving rapidly so you need IT systems that can adapt to meet fast-changing business demands. The cloud has big advantages over on-premises computing in that respect as it eliminates the time you would spend on capacity planning, procurement, or obtaining budget approval for capital expenditure associated with a traditional IT project.
The ability to scale your IT systems on demand is one of the big advantages of cloud computing and it is particularly relevant to retailers. Your stores experience peaks and troughs in transactions depending on promotions, the time of the year and even the weather. Your IT systems need to be able to easily handle that variability and cloud computing helps you do that cost-effectively by enabling you to contract the level of resources required for you actual usage and rapidly scale them up, if required.
Lower operational costs
With cloud computing you only pay for what you use. That can produce a big saving on operational costs because the utilization rates for in-house computer hardware are often less than 20 percent In addition, hardware and software updates are managed by cloud service providers, which again reduces your opex budget.
From capex to opex
In today’s challenging retailing industry, capital expenditure is subject to tremendous scrutiny. That makes it difficult to justify IT investment when the money could be spent on areas with more obvious benefits, such as store refits. One of the big benefits of cloud computing is that new IT projects can be funded from your opertations budget, allowing them to launch under much less scrutiny.
To find out more about Openbravo’s mobile payment capabilities, watch our on-demand webinar, “Seize the opportunity: move your retail business to Openbravo Cloud“.