Cloud software is having a significant impact on the retail sector, especially when it comes to boosting revenue, cutting costs, and providing the type of real-time analysis needed to make better business decisions. From small retail operations with just a single store, to national and even international retail superstars, cloud software has become an important way to build competitive advantage and improve overall business performance. Here’s a brief overview of exactly how that is happening…
Reduced IT costs
By using a network of remote servers hosed on the Internet, cloud enables a “pay-as-you-go” IT system that is affordable and convenient for small retailers, as well as very robust and scalable for larger retailers. If you’re running a small clothing retailer, for example, you don’t have to worry about installing your own equipment or maintaining your own servers – everything runs smoothly on the cloud.
Instead of spending money each month on excess IT costs, retailers can then re-invest those dollars into running the actual business. And for larger retailers, it’s possible to trade up to enhanced functionality on the fly, all without the need for calling in IT vendors or installing new equipment.
Real-time visibility into the business
If you’re not running your retail business in the cloud, you simply won’t have access to the types of real-time insights that cloud software enables. That’s especially true in the digital device era, when retail store managers with smartphones and tablets can literally have real-time insights into how their business is running regardless of where they are in the world.
That’s especially important when it comes to supply chain logistics, where real-time insights can be the key to avoiding inventory stock-outs, lost deliveries and sub-optimal inventory levels. With cloud software solutions designed for the retail sector, store managers will always know exactly how much inventory they have on hand, as well as the status of deliveries and orders.
This type of real-time visibility does more than just empower store managers – it also empowers the retail staff on the floor. When these sales associates have tablets or other digital devices, they can tell customers exactly which items are in stock, when a delivery is set to arrive, or how to find a specific item at any retail location in the store’s network. It all adds up to a superior customer service experience.
Enhanced productivity through cross-department collaboration
At many companies, information about a business is “siloed” into different departments, making it difficult for, say, the marketing team to interact with the finance team, or the supply chain team to interact with the sales team. Ultimately, that results in a lot of lost productivity.
But imagine what can happen when retail store managers can see exactly how a specific marketing campaign is performing, or a budgeting team can see exactly what’s happening at the warehouse. It means much better insights into the overall operation of the business, and the end of the silo mentality. It also makes it possible to generate reports on an as-needed basis, rather than waiting for monthly or quarterly updates.
It’s no wonder, then, that cloud has become a multi-billion dollar market opportunity within the retail sector. It’s not just that retail stores have better information and better data – they also have the right tools to cut costs, boost sales and improve overall profitability. For any retail business looking to boost its performance, cloud software offers a very compelling opportunity.