Cloud Rocks Retail World

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Retailers are investing in cloud technologies more than ever before, and seeing positive results.

A new Accenture report says the industry has increased its investment in cloud tools, spending $15 billion last year compared to just $4 billion in 2011. Many retailers in the space jumped in the mix after seeing how other verticals, like healthcare and banking, have benefited from implementing cloud computing solutions.

The retail industry is accepting cloud computing in three ways to transform core-business strategies, according to cio.com. The first is selling their products in a marketplace where more than 30 percent of commerce happens on mobile devices and more than 80 percent of customers will use a mobile device or app to make an informed purchasing decision.

“Accordingly, this mobile-first mindset has led retailers to focus on offering a convenient, seamless mobile experience for their customers, whether they are visiting an eCommerce site or a physical store. In the latter case, savvy retailers have responded by offering free Wi-Fi in their stores (as its availability influences where a customer will decide to shop), and they are also targeting mobile-friendly customers with in-store coupons and sales offers, in part because 8 in 10 customers say they are more likely to purchase from a retailer who provides offers that meet their interests,” cio.com reported. 

The second way the retail industry is accepting cloud computing is through creating products. Retailers are utilizing data analytics and the valuable insights gained from it to make decisions about which products to produce and sell.

“This analysis removes the guesswork about what will sell and which styles will flop on the shelves,” Roman Kirsch, CEO of a Berlin-based fashion start up, told cio.com. “We don’t just know which new styles are popular, we can also identify retro trends that are making comebacks, which styles are on the way out, and that helps us to precisely manage our production.”

Managing inventory is the third way retailers are embracing cloud computing. As cio.com reported, Hallmark Cards, a $4 billion greeting card giant, utilizes a Retail-as-a-Service solution that runs in a private cloud. This allows them to do real-time inventory tracking, creating more time for efficient customer service.