Derived from the French word retailer, retail means to cut off a piece or to break bulk. The history of retailing goes back centuries. It started off as a primitive business but has today grown immensely to a full-fledged model- from traditional village fairs to street sellers to malls and online outlets. This transformation has paved the path for many retailers to leap on this sector and foster changing customer needs while reaping dividends. Many organizations are sinking millions of dollars into technology to convert transformations into profitability. However, all these investments have only partially proved fruitful to grab consumer attention and convince them to make a purchase. In recent times, forward-looking retailers believe that building digital capabilities and embracing cloud computing can help them create an experience that is every bit streamlined, seamless, easy to navigate, and well-stocked in tandem to end-users’ expectations. 

How Cloud Computing Helps Retailers to Achieve Agility?

Today every retailer is on the lookout for technologies that can help them roll out new capabilities across distinct stores and channels in weeks, ‘not months or years’. They look forward to integrate processes having potential to drive innovation and generate maximum throughput. Besides, the evolution of new consumer technologies, e-commerce platforms, including social media, complemented with price transparency and stiff market competition, are confronting many retailers to integrate solutions that match changing consumer behavior without widening the investment bracket.

According to a research conducted by Cisco, cloud is the perfect technology that can bring agility to retailing firms while keeping up with speed, performance and cost factors. With cloud-based solutions, products/services can be delivered at a fraction of infrastructure and resources’ costs. Well, the efficiency of cloud computing is not a newfangled subject of study. Being a scalable and economical computing model, it will enable the retailers to meet diversified demands of their customers without pressuring selves to build, maintain, or manage new IT capacities.

The Conventional Retail Market Challenges

Resistance to change which is always difficult to confront – is one of the challenges curtailing retailers to drive change and innovation within calcified organization. The other side of the equation is manual processes, which are somehow susceptible to deception and ineptitude, particularly when more is tried to be done in less time. As the time passes by, the level of competition and impulse for product-rich experience is putting pressure on retailers to touch the finishing line and offer more value driven services to their end-users – in a real-time. Inefficiency to appeal end-users’ rapidly changing desires defines why many retailers are thrown out of the market. 

The Changing Retail Landscape…  

Expectations and Change in Buying Habits: The way people buy spending endless hours and roaming shop to shop is getting changed in the recent times. They want immediate access to varieties and the best price for the product they are looking forth. This is the promise of cloud-focused retail solution that encompasses the traits to cut the mustard. Most of retailers have foreseen the future of this emerging technology and are testing the waters. They truly comprehend that today’s digitally-driven consumers expect a tailor-made experience for them that doesn’t eats up their bandwidth and precious money.

Each customer is distinct with distinguished set of needs – thus it is important for retailers to have complete knowledge about customer behavior. In this regard, cloud computing can bring retailers closer to their intended customer groups by allowing seekers to try, feel, and read information about the specific products to render best purchase with the help of their smartphones. As smartphones have the facility for geo-tracking, it will intimate retailers when a customer visits their store. This, in turn, also shares the knowledge about customer preferences so that personalized experience can be created for them.

End-user Experience Matters: Today’s customers seek personalized experience and convenience for them. They don’t want to be restricted by the time limits. As a result, they prefer to order products when they are free, or at night – this fuels up the need to balance product quality in harmony to the experience quality. For many retailers, adapting to these realities is quite challenging, but the necessary changes are mandatory to success. With more and more products accompanying Bluetooth tags, it will guide the shoppers about the exact location of the product they are hunting for.

Moving ahead, by adding shoppers logging into Wi-Fi networks and in a holistic retail environment will enable retailers to gain insight into customer demographics. Besides enabling Wi-Fi network, activities performed by retailers on social media platform, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn gives them another opportunity to know their customers. These platforms are highly prevalent with millions of users linked to them.

Shoppers are no more interested in outdated channels or shopping practices rather they look forward for real-time inputs. Here, cloud is again to the rescue. The disruptive technology boosts collaboration and provides a way to work across social and physical channels in the most proficient manner.

The Enlarging Data will Transform Shopping Experience…

Well, the data is getting bigger and retailers will need this data to discover about their customers for creating tailored experience. Many forward-looking thinkers believe that machine learning competencies will completely transform the definition of the way shopping’s take place. As a result, they emphasizes on the need for retailers to add these requisite capabilities to their arsenal. Herein, advanced cloud and analytic solutions will allow retailers to stay competitive and relevant to their customers. Big data and cloud provides a weapon to truly comprehend your customer needs and wants in the real-time. 

Bumping on digital front-ends or capabilities is not the only way to take your business to success peaks – it demands business acumen, right technology, and pragmatism. It also involves forward-looking management that is open to feedback, innovation, and improvement. Cloud hosting is filled with all the requisites that can help the retailers to thrive. This disruptive force is everyday changing the retail landscape, allowing retailers to extend their brick and mortar retail environment to the web so that customers’ sitting in any nook and cranny can be benefitted with the products and promotions with the comfort of their homes.