Cloud Benefits for Retailers
Retail businesses face the constant challenge of providing excellent customer service while staying competitive with online stores with reduced overhead. In the past, online retailers could offer discounts brick-and-mortar retailers found difficult to meet. Today, things have changed; agile business process and omnichannel sales funnels work to the physical store‘s advantage when supported by the right technology. Moving many processes to the cloud frees up operational capability to focus on the service in-person retailers are known for.
In our next webinar we will discuss how Cloud-based Retail solutions help transforming the shopping experience. Let me describe in this blogpost some of the benefits of adopting Cloud in the physical stores:
Cost Savings and Capability Expansion from the Cloud
Cloud-based POS systems transform the way retail businesses invest in technological upgrades. By removing the capital costs involved in updated POS hardware, server storage and data collection, you can dramatically reduce your total IT spend. The continuing switch to credit-card machines with chip readers is a good example of a static price point for a constantly updating technology suite. Leased systems offer instant upgrade with no added cost, which is exactly how cloud-based systems work. Most of the infrastructure is housed off-site, so you only pay for your subscription service.
Breaking Down Data Silos
In addition to the cost savings, communication can improve with a move to the cloud. Transparency across departments and easy access to analytics and other big data make it possible for sales and marketing to collaborate more easily. Customer service can access order history, and the warehouse can quickly process returns and exchanges. The more access to data, the fewer hang-ups you’ll face when delivering quality service to customers. Cloud-based systems allow you to monitor your entire pipeline from incoming shipments to fulfillment centers – all from one portable platform.
Keeping Up with Technology
As customers expect a more personalized shopping experience, you also need to think about loyalty programs and preferred payment methods. Security is on the modern consumer’s mind, with major data breaches highlighting the importance of keeping personal information safe. Mobile payments are just one example of how to accomplish this; if you don’t have the data, you never have to worry about exposing it. Mobile-payment systems like Google Wallet, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay allow you to process transactions without taking on the responsibility of protecting consumer financial data.
With the cloud, you can stop supporting legacy IT systems that keep costs high. Instead, you can use one cloud-based product for all your inventory, order processing, logistics and more. If you still have legacy programs without a cloud-based alternative, cloud technology integrates easily and quickly.
Manage Marketing In-House
Everything you need to improve your customer experience comes from data collected at each store. With new beacon and RFID technology, you can track more information about customers than ever; for example, you can see where customers pause most often to look at displays, which displays catch their attention and which brands draw customers out of their comfort zones. Retail analytics go beyond purchasing data into in-store behavior. By switching to the cloud, your business can more easily add context-based services, like social-media content or quick access to reviews.
Motivate Your Move to the Cloud
E-commerce comprises a significant percentage of retail purchasing, but in 2017, top retailers still expect 76.5 percent of purchases to happen at brick-and-mortar stores. Today’s consumer may try in store and buy online in some cases, but the reverse is also true. Plus, brick-and-mortars have the advantage of instant gratification. Cloud-based technologies let you offer services that online stores can’t match, all while you collect more and better customer data than ever.
Don’t miss this week´s webinar, where Sergio Martínez, Sales & Alliances Director at Walhalla Datacenter Services, and myself will discuss how Cloud-Based Retail Solutions can tranform the shopping experience:
Thursday 31st of March at 17.00 CEST in Spanish