Cloud computing will continue to drive retail change through 2018

By: Teamwork Retail

Retailers that have yet to adopt cloud computing in any capacity may soon find themselves in the vast minority if they continue to rely on outdated equipment. The technology enables businesses to gain operational flexibility compared to on-premise systems, improving productivity, collaboration and customer service.

A Transparency Market Research report indicated cloud computing will influence the retail industry and IT sector through 2018. The firm explained the global cloud landscape was worth $79.6 billion in 2011. By 2014, the technology increased at a compound annual growth rate of more than 23.2 percent, reaching $149 billion. In 2018, this figure is projected to total $205 billion, achieving a CAGR of 8.4 percent.

The research firm asserted cloud solutions “have revolutionized and introduced new ways” in which data, applications and corporate services can be accessed.

“A cloud computing service is the most popular buzz in the internet market today. Known to deliver hosted services through [the] Internet, the concept is still considered as naive – but is so far generating tremendous interest and growing business among several users in the world,” Transparency Market Research said.

Applying cloud computing to the retail space
Traditional point-of-sale systems are holding retailers back from extending operational efficiency across the entire organization. Employees are dispersed throughout various locations, making data accessibility critical. Cloud suites are available through the Internet, so personnel with PCs, tablets and smartphones can view content stored in these environments.

“Cloud computing is changing the retail industry for good.”

Companies with a cloud-powered mobile retail POS system are able to leverage the most relevant data related to their consumers and inventory levels. Salespeople on the floor with tablets in hand can quickly view a shopper’s loyalty rewards information or check whether products unavailable at the store are at another location.

Cloud computing is also flexible in other ways, especially pricing. Cloud suites are available through subscription-based models or through pay-as-you-go options, so brands only are charged for the services they consume. This capability is ideal for small retailers that cannot afford expensive systems that may never be used to full capacity but still require upfront capital investments.

Companies not using cloud computing may be missing out on revenue opportunities. Companies not using cloud computing may be missing out on revenue opportunities.

Don’t miss out on revenue opportunities
Retailers still unconvinced about the cloud’s potential should consider other opportunities the technology delivers. A study conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Canopy found 75 percent of chief financial officers believe their companies are not generating as much revenue without the necessary cloud applications and infrastructure in place. CFOs believe their businesses missed earning more than $71 million in 2013. If their organizations implement the necessary cloud solutions, decision-makers think they will achieve earnings of approximately $138 million in 2015.

Executives are well aware how important solutions such as cloud computing are to their companies’ future success. More than 70 percent of CFOs fear their brands will be uncompetitive in their industries soon, with 76 percent of these respondents worried this concern will occur by the end of 2015.

With cloud computing, retailers and other businesses have the foundation necessary to remain competitive for the foreseeable future.

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