How has Cloud Computing affected the retail business

Contributed by: Sushil Kumar Mishra in retail practice at Xavient Information Systems

While there are various industries benefiting from Cloud Computing, it strongly stands to make a huge impact in retail. A few of the many ways how cloud-based technology is revolutionizing the retail industry –

  1. Time to Market: Essentially, Cloud computing and adjoining technologies have reduced the time to take ideas to fruition in the market. What matters herein the most is, who does it first? Retailers, particularly brick and mortar stores have a lot of product innovation initiatives. This certainly involves a big budget, which surely is not possible for every retailer. This affects the retailers differently based on their scale, market share and revenue. Hence, the initial few become the leaders, right after them are the followers and the rest are in the catch up game.

We see that leaders like Amazon, Walmart, Sephora, The Home Depot and the like have deployed their next generation products quicker than their competitors.

SaaS offerings like Cloud foundry, Amazon, Azure, google to name a few have created this opportunity, however this comes at a price, which the followers and ones in the catchup revenue zone can’t afford.

  1. Separation of concern: Unlike a lot of fortune 100 companies; that have had generations of innovative product lines, are matured and of industry standard, their supply chain systems are also backed by robust infrastructure; the smaller players cannot afford these farms of servers for data centers and matrix teams to support IT and business functions. This is where Cloud steps in. Cloud offerings like Pivotal, provide a lot of these services out of the box. Database, containers, in memory caches, logging frameworks, integration with performance tools, Security, multi-platform capabilities including Java, dot net, Java scripts frameworks, Metrics and analytics to name a few.
  1. Reduced cost:  Because of a one spot solution retailers have seen their ROI shoot in the right direction!! Even though any company which employs Information Technology and Tools today cannot shy away from being a technology company, given the seamless integration of people and processes, there are still many who find it economically challenging to run the show due to limited resources.  Year after year business direction causes high attrition. As such, being process oriented rather than people oriented becomes vital. Cloud computing provides the single point infrastructure helping in reduced people, licensing and maintenance costs.
  1. Customer Engagement:  There is no greater truth than the fact that it is Customer Engagement that pulls a consumer back to a brand, looking for more. Thus, cloud offers retailers to explore big data analytics and social media in order to not only connect with their customers but also stay updated about their preferences, likes, dislikes, inclination towards a particular brand, so on and so forth. The flexibility of cloud technology can thus be utilized to satisfy customers, improving the overall business process.
  1. Easier upgradation to Next-Gen IT solutions: With fair access to industry level tried and tested processes, the cloud industry is now matured, making it quite stress free to step into it.


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