I recently was part of a webinar hosted by CDW focusing on Cloud for Retail. I had the privilege to be a part of the panel highlighting the benefits and trends for retailers. The panel was comprised of Shane Zide from CDW, @ShaneZide; George Bentinck from Cisco Meraki, @Meraki_se; and Chip Epps from Onelogin. Considering the impact cloud is having on retail, the 60 minute webinar highlighted just a few significant trends. None-the-less it provided a solid approach for those attending. I lead by highlighting current trends which I feel are impacting retailers the most… financial flexibility and time to capabilities. The connected, empowered and informed consumer has exerted significant pressure on the retail business model. Today’s business model must be nimble and flexible – capable of delivering on the brands promise. The advantages of utilizing a cloud strategy will positively impact retailers’ business models. Specifically by enabling:
- Greater Financial freedom by moving CAPEX obligations (data center investments) to OPEX budgeting (cloud hosted non-essential applications like HR. suite) – by doing so a retailer may be able to re-invest funding into more engaging brand experiences.
- A more nimble approach to brick & mortar store fronts – ultimately redefining the purpose and size of the store to meet the opportunity. For instance, the ability to extend your brand to new venues (festivals, bowl games, or locations airports or urban settings)
- Increased productivity for the sales assistant – who will be connected to the right information at the point of influence, on the store floor. By utilizing cloud based apps the rep can become a sales advisor and will know more about the products, merchandise and services the consumer is interested in and where they exist in the supply chain.
- A greater customer experience – we know the shopper is connected and retailers must deliver an experience that matches expectations. It must be engaging across the Omni-channel
At the end of the day, retailers will have more flexibility to scale stores up and down based on the demands of the operating environment if they consider how to integrate cloud solutions. Remember cloud is not a destination, just a tool. It is a tool to improve upon the brand experience, engaging the shopper throughout their journey, to reduce cost and to become more nimble. The good folks in CDW Retail and their extensive partners are extremely knowledgeable and offer Cloud Consulting Services. Take them up on it and prepare for the future. Additional Resources from CDW Cloud Readiness.
Find me on Linked-in
Follow me on Twitter