Cloud Computing in the Retail Industry

Kenny Kleinerman
Web ServicesCloud Use Cases
01 May 2022

Cloud computing is widely used by businesses around the world for data storage and backup, software development, and testing, disaster recovery, etc. However, the use of cloud computing is not limited to one industry. From

cloud computing in healthcareand insurance to cloud computing in smart automotive, marketing, retail, and many industries are now adopting the cloud because of the immense benefits that it offers.  

For the retail sector, adopting cloud retail solutions is the need of the hour.

With the ever-growing demand for online retail and increased competition, retail businesses need to use all the advanced technologies at their disposal in order to keep thriving. Cloud computing is one such technology that simplifies workflows, reduces IT costs, and improves customer experience.

In this article, we’ll provide a thorough understanding of cloud computing in retail, retail cloud platforms, cloud retail solutions, and all the related concepts, including how Ridge can create the ideal retail cloud.

 

Cloud Adoption In Retail Industry

 

Cloud computing in retail

Image source

From better inventory management and personalized shopping experience to improved customer experience and security, cloud computing is transforming the retail industry in many ways.

Some of the key use cases of cloud computing in the retail sector include:

Price Management

The price of products is one of the major factors that affect the consumer’s buying decision. That’s why it’s important for sellers to keep track of competitors’ prices, analyze historical sales trends and margin implications, and then use this information to set competitive prices for their products in stores and online. But doing all this manually takes a lot of time and can produce inaccurate results.

However, cloud computing in retail provides accurate data and can save a huge amount of time for data specialistsit can take data from multiple sources and prepare it for pricing analysis. Additionally, cloud-based retail solutions can automatically update stores and online prices.

 

Inventory Management

Managing, monitoring, and maintaining inventory is one of the most challenging tasks for the retail industry. It’s even more difficult for businesses with many store locations to track and monitor their inventory in real-time. However, retail cloud services provide real-time data, enabling real-time monitoring and tracking of inventory. Cloud computing in retail also eliminates the need for companies with multiple stores to manually sync their inventories of different stores.

 

Managing Warehouse Remotely

With cloud computing in retail, you don’t have to be physically present at the warehouse to manage everything. Rather, you can manage the warehouse remotely from anywhere because the retail cloud lets you access your real-time stock volume at any inventory, your delivery centers’ locations, etc.

 

Personalized Product Recommendations

Different consumers have different preferences, and showing personalized products to each consumer greatly affects conversion rates and profit. However, personalization requires data from multiple sources. Cloud-based retail software offers tools for data cleansing and manipulation that can help combine multiple data sources. Cloud computing in retail also helps retailers set up A/B testing scenarios, validate performance, and more.

 

Benefits of Cloud Computing In Retail Business

Cloud in the retail sector offers a wide range of benefits:

Cost Savings

Cloud computing in retail helps save money in many ways. With the cloud, you don’t have to buy, maintain, and update systems and IT hardware because the cloud service provider maintains and updates the hardware. This means you don’t have to hire employees and pay them to perform these tasks. Moreover, with the cloud, you only pay for the storage and resources you use, which further reduces costs.

Cloud retail solutions also offer indirect cost savings by eliminating time spent on budget approval, planning, etc.

 

Enhanced Online Shopping Experience

The retail industry produces a lot of data on consumer orders and sales, which can be used to deliver a personalized shopping experience, offer special membership, show promotions, etc. However, many retailers are unable to fully utilize this data to their advantage. 

Cloud-based retail solutions allow retailers to predict consumers buying behavior and analyze trends and consumer interactions. For example, retailers can analyze which type of products a consumer buys frequently, determine whether a consumer usually prefers discounted items, and track other shopping patterns. This information can then be used to show the type of products that a consumer prefers.

 

Improved POS System

A good POS or point-of-sale system is essential for an enhanced customer experience. Cloud-based POS systems are completely scalable, and they update automatically without any downtime. Retailers can use cloud-based POS systems to make checkouts and payments quick and easy for consumers.

 

Better Inventory Management

Cloud computing in retail enables real-time inventory tracking and monitoring. This means you can instantly access data, check stock availability anytime from anywhere, and prevent overstocking and understocking. Cloud retail solutions also help automate order placements.

Disaster Recovery

Just like any other industry, data in the retail industry is a valuable asset. So, it’s important to take measures to protect it. Traditional data recovery takes a lot of time, which can be costly. However, with cloud disaster recovery, you can quickly recover your critical data and access it from anywhere. 

Cloud computing in retail allows you to back up your data or initiate disaster recovery from anywhere at any time.

 

Manufacture New Products

Consumer demand changes day by day. In today’s competitive world, only those retailers that consistently offer products consumers want can survive. 

Cloud retail solutions offer advanced data analytics capabilities that allow sellers to understand consumers’ requirements based on their feedback and reviews. Merchants can then use this information to create new products with the features that consumers want. Additionally, they can also decide to discontinue products based on consumers’ feedback.

 

Improved Security

In the retail industry, it’s important to keep the data and information related to the consumers safe and secure. 

 

Types of Cloud Computing in Retail

Cloud computing in retail can be divided into two subcategories: cloud computing services and cloud computing environments.

Cloud Computing Services

Types of cloud computing services

Image source

 

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

In the IaaS cloud computing model, a third-party cloud provider provides storage, virtual private servers, networking, and other infrastructure resources to businesses over the internet. IaaS services are also sometimes called cloud infrastructure services. 

In the retail industry, IaaS offer several benefits, such as reduced overhead, no downtime, better efficiency, etc.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

In PaaS, the cloud provider delivers software and hardware tools, such as a source code editor, debugger, compiler, etc. Developers use PaaS tools to develop custom applications for the retail industry.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

In SaaS, the most used cloud computing model, the cloud provider delivers cloud-based, ready-to-use application software over the internet. SaaS applications are hosted and managed by a third-party cloud provider. 

SaaS in the retail industry offers benefits for both online and offline retailers, such as cost-saving, personalized consumer experience, flexibility, and scalability.

If you’re interested in learning about cloud computing service models in detail, check out our article on IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.

 

Retail Cloud Computing Environments

 

Types of cloud environments

Image source

Public Cloud

In a public cloud environment, one cloud provider delivers on-demand computing resources and infrastructure to multiple businesses over the public internet. This means any retailer can purchase a subscription to a public cloud. 

Public cloud providers can offer any of the three cloud computing services, IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS. Public cloud services are usually available on a subscription or pay-per-use basis.

Private Cloud

In a private cloud computing environment, cloud computing services are provided to only one dedicated customer over a private internal network. Because of this, it is also called the corporate or internal cloud. Private clouds offer the same benefits as public clouds, such as flexibility, scalability, and elasticity, \ but with additional control and customization options.

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud is a combination of both on-premise data storage and private or public clouds. By using a hybrid cloud, organizations can reap the benefits of both public and private clouds, saving their most confidential data in the private cloud and the rest of the data in the public cloud. Hybrid cloud in retail helps with powerful data analysis for creating products that consumers want and delivering personalized customer experience.

Ridge Cloud

By combining the agility of the public cloud with the geographic distribution and high performance of localized computing, Ridge’s distributed cloud empowers retailers to boost their digital transformation with innovative customer-facing services, such as video analytics and contactless payments. Ridge Cloud is specifically designed to address this challenge and empowers retailers to deploy and scale cloud-native applications—without needing to invest in new infrastructure.

 

Cloud Retail Solutions

Some of the popular cloud-based retail solutions include:

Shopify

Shopify is a popular e-commerce platform that was created in 2006. This cloud-based platform offers retailers an easy way to set up their online stores. Shopify also allows retailers to customize their stores and sell their products in different places with features for managing payments, inventory, and shipping.

Lightspeed

Lightspeed is a cloud-based POS and e-commerce software provider that helps retailers and merchants run their businesses smoothly. This cloud-based software is a great way to provide outstanding customer experiences.

 

Cloud Computing in Retail Examples

Hallmark Cards

Hallmark Cards is one of the oldest greeting card manufacturers in the United States. Other than greeting cards, the company also sells Christmas ornaments, home décor items, gift wraps, etc. 

The company uses a Retail-as-a-Service solution that runs in a private cloud. This allows the company and its retail partners to track their inventory in real-time and keep tabs on stock availability, store orders, etc. Additionally, by using the cloud, the company can focus more on providing an exceptional customer experience without worrying about computing systems.

Zalora

Zalora is an e-retailer and a famous name in online fashion and lifestyle shopping. The company shifted to the cloud after it launched several product brands, and its website couldn’t cope with the load. Once the company moved its infrastructure to the cloud, its website was able to handle even a 300-400% increase in traffic without any performance issues.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How is cloud computing used in the retail industry?

Cloud computing in retail is used in many ways, including pricing management, inventory management, remote warehouse management, and more. For example, cloud computing can provide real-time data and help with real-time monitoring and tracking of inventory. As the competition in the retail industry is increasing day by day, it’s essential for retailers to adopt the cloud in order to thrive.

What are the benefits of cloud computing in the retail business?

Cloud computing in retail offers several benefits. In addition to cost savings, improved security, flexibility, scalability, and disaster management, cloud retail solutions help create new products based on consumer reviews and feedback, provide personalized customer experience, and manage inventory more efficiently.

What is IoT in the retail industry?

IoT (Internet of Things) is a system of several interrelated physical devices that are connected over the internet. These devices and objects can transfer data over a wireless network without any human intervention. IoT in the retail industry is mostly used for GPS and RFID technologies that allow businesses to keep tabs on their products throughout the supply chain process. 


Author:
Linkedin Kenny Kleinerman, Head of Content | Ridge
As the Head of Content at Ridge, Kenny is in charge of navigating the tough subjects and bringing the Cloud down to Earth.