| By Felix Shalom, Account Manager at HeleCloud |
2020 has put a stranglehold on business activity and given retailers the license to accelerate digital transformation. Cloud-based infrastructure provides the foundation for digital transformation programs, and retailers are already adopting Cloud to re-architect their survival, saving costs whilst becoming more adaptable to consumer behaviours. This is an ongoing process, with investment in the Cloud predicted to rise from $11.6bn in 2018 to $48.46bn by 20251
Consumer sentiment has remained largely resilient throughout the pandemic. Whilst significant restrictions impacted footfall and dissuaded people from the high street, UK consumers have money and are willing to spend if they are matched with the right products. Fig.1 demonstrates that in-store spending continues to decline, and e-commerce is quickly becoming the main vehicle for consumption. Lockdown has encouraged ‘forced experimentation’ with consumers buying various products online, consuming online services for the first time, or exploring separate ways to access or substitute products.
In a competitive and evolving industry, the retailers who choose to adopt and leverage Cloud, will become more strategic and agile in their approach to business challenges, setting themselves on a positive trajectory.
Data Driven Retail
Retailers now have more customer data at their disposal than ever before. Artificial Intelligence (AI), paired with Big Data, analyses this data and brings an important asset back to retailers – knowing their customers. Cloud provides the perfect framework for customer data analysis, and by adopting Cloud, retailers will become more competitive and data driven. This is a big shift from previous years, where retailers were driven by company structure and product quality to maintain success.
Furthermore, legacy Infrastructure is in no shape to handle the coming surge of data dependency. By migrating from legacy infrastructure to the Cloud, retailers can leverage features and emerging technologies to improve their business divisions. Retail firms can implement tailored marketing to customers, automate processes like product sourcing and shipping, and use predictive modelling to better forecast their finances.
By adopting Cloud, retailers are modernising and making data driven decisions.
Retail Agility and Innovation
Cloud offers the framework for retailers to innovate at pace and differentiate themselves from the saturated marketplace. Emerging technologies on the Cloud like blockchain and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) are available to help modernise retail organisations. Blockchain technology can be leveraged in supply chains, helping retailers estimate capacity at different points. Machine learning can be leveraged by finance departments, helping to measure the firm’s forecast deviation using actual demand down to stock keeping units or location level. Further examples of retail innovation include automated service chatboxes and predictive analytics to match products to customers.
Innovation largely centres around the consumer expectation. Consumers now expect to view and buy their products through a variety of channels. Retailers must adopt functionalities like click-and-collect that give customers more flexibility and improve their overall experience. Retailers can take it one step further on the Cloud, by creating customisable e-commerce platforms to sell products online and operate more innovative services like drop shipping and house delivery.
Retail Cloud Security
As online payment for goods and services become even more commonplace, retailers must continuously innovate at pace to stay ahead of cyber criminals. Cloud provides retail firms with greater visibility into their business process in real-time. These insights can help better protect the network and applications from cybercriminals. Cloud-based security services are cheaper than on-premises security solutions, yet they deliver equal or better security. Security services include DDoS protection, network monitoring, and security response.
Taking a proactive approach to defence against cyberattacks is critical for retailers. Using HeleCloud’s Managed Services, with an integrated, cloud-native security information and event management system, is the perfect proactive approach to cyber defence.
Contact our AWS qualified Retail Consultants to discover how you can unlock the full benefits of Cloud technology. From enablement to modernisation and security through to operational governance we have every step of your cloud journey covered.
1 Fortune Business Insights, n.d.
2 PWC – Consumer Sentiment Survey, n.d.