It’s no secret that the retail sector has been hit hard by the pandemic. The unprecedented drop in footfall coupled with the explosion of online shopping has meant that physical non-food stores suffered a 25% drop in revenue compared to 2019.
However, not all retailers have had a terrible year. Businesses that took a digital first approach, and used technology to reduce friction in their businesses have seen revenues stabilise and, in some cases, actually grown despite the obvious challenges.
Taking a frictionless approach involves using technology to reduce the amount of time and stress in a customer’s experience. Whether that be accepting mobile payments, speeding up online fulfilment or greater personalisation of customer experiences.
As the world tentatively prepares to re-open, it is more important than ever for retailers to leverage cloud technology and strive for a fully frictionless experience for their customers.
Benefits of frictionless retail
The ongoing removal of friction from retail experiences is one of the most revolutionary things to happen to shopping since the advent of the internet. Given that 86% of customers avoid entering shops with long lines, curbside pickup, order ahead technology and other frictionless innovations are invaluable at empowering shoppers.
Companies like Amazon are arguably taking frictionless retail to their logical conclusion. Over the last few years, viral videos have floated around social media of ‘Amazon Go’ stores where customers can walk in, pick up what they want, and leave without ever interacting with a checkout. Customer data is centralised on the Cloud, meaning as well as being charged automatically, customers could be informed of which branches have their regular items in stock near them. The concept has already begun to move from Twitter feed to the high street, and the full frictionless space is predicted to be worth $45 billion by 2023.
The pandemic has given traditional retail a huge shock, the businesses left standing will be those that can best relate to their customers’ needs, both today and tomorrow. With consumers demanding more agility, consistency and innovation from their retail experiences than ever before, retailers need to make sure they are utilising technology to reduce friction from their systems as much as possible.
How the Cloud reduces friction
Whether you want to migrate legacy data to the Cloud or implement it from launch, cloud storage is the central pillar of your digital retail strategy. Having your customer and business data in one safe, remote and accessible place means you can personalise customer interactions while removing friction from their experiences.
Hosting your customer data on the Cloud allows your business to see how long people spend in queues, order and pay ahead of their visits and a myriad of other game changing data points. Artificial intelligence and machine learning, built into the Cloud, allow you to learn about your customers habits, suggesting products and providing real time feedback. From providing Covid-safe curbside pickup to detailed customer profiles, cloud technology is transforming the retail space.
How to unlock the potential of frictionless retail
Flexible and cost-effective cloud solutions are the key ingredient of frictionless retail. By moving your data to the Cloud, you can see and interact with customer data in real time – and as AWS only charges for what you use, any retail business can start reducing friction today regardless of their budget. AWS grows with you, meaning you never have to pay for business success with painful and expensive cross-cloud migration.
HeleCloud has years of experience helping businesses of all shapes and sizes with their cloud services, whether they’re migrating for the first time or have been cloud native since launch. As one of just a handful of AWS Premier Consulting Partners, HeleCloud has the experience and knowledge to get your business primed and ready for the future of frictionless retail.
Learn more about how to access the new technology and trends following the transformation in the retail sector in 2021 in our latest ebook.