TheMarketingSite.com

Knowledge Library

Retail and the Cloud – How SA’s Largest Outlets Are Embracing Change within IT

Retail Marketing and Sales


A growing number of enterprise retail groups are adopting cloud service models. What is the motivation behind this shift in gear?
 
By Christelle Hicklin, Customer Experience Director at Mimecast South Africa.
 
The retail sector, like many governed by the ebb and flow of consumer attitudes and fluctuating spending habits, is a challenging environment in which to operate a profitable and efficient business.
 
Here, robust operational process and economies of scale is what sets the most successful groups apart from the competition. By focusing on pleasing the customer, both via price and efficiency, large retailers are able to realise consistently healthy revenue streams on an ongoing basis.
 
A strong emphasis on championing shopper needs and expectations is what keeps the retail sector ticking over. Unfortunately, this outward facing view has the potential to impact the evolution of internal processes within the organisation. IT systems and platforms are not typically reconsidered until their effectiveness has a direct impact on the daily delivery of services.
 
Despite this, a growing number of enterprise level retailers are beginning to embrace cloud offerings with vigour. After decades of investment in complex on premise systems, these organisations are beginning to move away from traditional IT models with an intention to reduce cost and complexity whilst improving service delivery.
 
The benefits associated with embracing cloud technology within this sector are clear.
 
Implementing proprietary technical systems on intended to support thousands of locations, Point of Sale (PoS) frameworks and customer support systems is a costly affair. Although retailers have traditionally ‘sweated’ these assets, realising maximum value during product lifecycles, the maintenance and staff compliment required to ensure operational viability has undermined the price effectiveness of this approach.
 
The cost of failure in this environment is also exceptionally high. To avoid downtime, on premise systems must become more intricate to include redundancy measures and support systems. This phenomenon often adds unnecessary complexity to retail IT frameworks.
 
Cloud service models, on the other hand, offer the same level of service delivery on a subscription basis. These offerings can also be scaled according to demand. Instead of purchasing another server rack to accommodate festive season demand, retailers can simply request to increase their capacity until consumer volume reduces.
 
These partnerships are accompanied by comprehensive service level agreements (SLAs) that ensure uptime and delivery. This reduces the demand for complex on premise systems – allowing retailers to focus on what they do best.
 
The primary point of entry into the retail cloud services environment is currently security solutions within the email and electronic messaging environment. This often leads to more comprehensive platforms that incorporate archiving and continuity offerings, which make legislative compliance easier and more cost effective to achieve.
 
In response, Mimecast has enjoyed a significant upswing in enterprise level retail agreements over the course of the past year.
 
The capacity for growth is significant. By routing, securing and archiving messaging systems via a third party cloud service provider, retail groups can begin to make use of operational information that highlights employee habits and potential weak points within the business.
 
Leveraging data analytics and a comprehensive email archive, an organisation could gain a better understanding of a particular department and why it is not functioning optimally.
 
Despite enterprise retail’s willingness to embrace the cloud service model, smaller players are still weary to make the jump. This could be due to a more pressing need at a national level to meet legislative compliance requirements whilst reducing costs.
 
Nonetheless, change is afoot within this environment. As a growing number of retailers begin to move toward the cloud so they will naturally realise the benefits associated with it.
 

Text100 Johannesburg
www.text100.com
D: +27 11 775 5707
F: +27 11 775 5718

Share The Knowledge
The key to retail success is ensuring a positive shopper experience

Retail Marketing and Sales

The countdown to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales has officially begun. With experts predicting shoppers will spend double the amount they did in 2015 – this year’s retail shopping bonanza is expected to be bigger than ever.

Share The Knowledge
Shopper marketing: The path to purchase has changed

Retail Marketing and Sales

If like most marketers, you believe that retail is the centre of the marketing universe then it may come of some surprise to you, to learn that it’s the consumer who is now that ’centre’.

Share The Knowledge
Retail leading the pack in digital transformation

Retail Marketing and Sales

As the physical and digital worlds continue to merge, it is becoming clear that as a retailer it is all about that providing the consumer with that consistent brand experience to strengthen that relationship and help them in their path to purchase.

Share The Knowledge
Five easy ways to be a safe and savvy online shopper

Retail Marketing and Sales

When that must-have item comes on sale while you’re browsing your favourite online shopping site, and before you know it, you’ve purchased it – to spoil yourself because you deserve it.

Share The Knowledge
Retailing: Embrace showrooming to ensure customer loyalty

Retail Marketing and Sales

As trends like online shopping, smartphones and social media have matured, so has the way in which customers research and purchase products and services.

Share The Knowledge