Everybody's talking about the cloud, but if you run a retail business, you may not be aware of all of the ways that cloud connectivity can help you change your business for the better. If you're not too familiar with cloud computing, it may sound like something too technologically complicated for your brick and mortar retail store. It's easy to assume that the latest advances in technology are for high tech businesses, not small retailers. But nothing could be further from the truth – cloud technology has the potential to positively impact your business in several ways. And since retailers have been slow to make the switch to cloud computing, learning the benefits now and adopting the cloud can give you an important jump on your competition.
Give Yourself the Same Computing Power the Big Names Have
If you don't understand anything else about cloud connectivity, understand this: it can level the playing field between you and a multinational chain when it comes to computing power. Big retail companies pay large amounts of money for servers, web design, and IT talent, and small retailers often can't compete on the same level without help.
Cloud services are basically pay-as-you-go arrangements. You pay for the storage and speed that you're actually using, and the cloud company provides the hardware and software that you'd otherwise have to spend big bucks on. What does that mean? It means that when you're at your busiest, and your most profitable, you don't have to worry about your website or POS system crashing because your in-house equipment can't handle the traffic. However, during your slower periods, you won't have to pay for speeds and power that you only use during the holiday rush.
Retail is a business that ebbs and flows, and it doesn't make good business sense to pay for power you don't need when you're in a slow period. At the same time, an inability to handle the traffic that you get during high volume stretches is also bad business. Cloud connectivity is the answer that provides you with the balance that you're looking for.
Improve Your Mobile Applications
Mobile applications are key to surviving in today's retail environment. Customers want to be able to virtually window shop before they enter the store, and they want to be able to do it from anywhere they happen to be – from work, from their cars, from the café they stopped at for lunch. They also want to be able to interact with the store through their mobile devices – put items on hold, check to see if their size is in stock, get recommendations, and make purchases.
Moving to cloud technology can make your mobile applications better, faster, and more interactive. In short, it improves the customer experience. Customers remember when a store gives them what they're looking for during their shopping experience, and they also remember when that doesn't happen. Right now, customers want a satisfying mobile experience in addition to the in-store experience. This is your chance to give it to them.
Increase Your Marketing Opportunities
Current technology gives you a nearly unlimited amount of ways to understand who your customers are and what they want, and to personalize your marketing for each customer to encourage sales. From loyalty reward programs to emailed surveys to mobile check-in apps and QR scanners, the opportunities to get inside your customer's heads are endless.
However, all of those opportunities mean a lot of data to sort through, and many small retailers simply aren't up to the task. Cloud computing services can help you store, analyze, and apply all of the data that your customers are giving you, which should allow you to use that data more effectively than ever before. Take advantage of programs that can help you see clear trends and patterns in your customers' shopping habits so that you can gear your marketing toward providing them with more of what they're looking for, and letting them know that your shop is where they can find what they're looking for.
Don't be afraid of the cloud – make it work for you. Taking the step to implement cloud services in your retail business now can have a big payoff down the line.
To learn more, visit celestix.com.