More and more, retailers are opting for cloud-based software to enhance their business processes, and this trend is likely to continue. Mobile access to data and cloud-based retail management systems are fast becoming the software of choice for many. In this article, we outline a few upcoming trends in cloud-based software that retailers should look out for.
Increased omnichannel capabilities
The cloud will continue to deliver retailers the best possible opportunities for increasing the business’ omnichannel presence. By capturing information about customers through frequent-buyer programs and combining this data with the Internet of Things (IoT) tracking and mobile connectivity, retailers can follow customers’ shopping behaviours.
Using this data, retailers will be able to make the customer real-time offers that suit their needs perfectly, increasing the chances of a sale. This may be in the form of electronically sending the customer a personalised coupon (through text or email, for example), or by making an offer in store. What’s more, this data can be shared with other sales assistants via mobile point-of-sale devices. This way, the whole team has excellent visibility in terms of the customers’ needs and can adjust their approach to suit the individual.
The cloud will prove to be an asset to retailers in terms of increased efficiency and productivity. By moving data to the cloud, retailers can make IT infrastructure part of their operational budgets and expend predictable amounts on an ongoing basis for only the IT they actually consume.
According to Chris Opat, senior vice president of Cloud Technology Services for CompuCom®, “by offloading management of the physical IT in their store locations to a managed services provider, retailers gain several advantages. For one thing, they don’t have to scale up their IT support staff every time they expand into new territory.”
Data will drive company decisions
By enabling the mass storage of valuable data in the cloud, this software gives retailers easy, fast and accurate data about sales, trends and more. This means that we will see retailers relying more and more on the cloud to make important decisions, including forecasting.
In line with this trend, machine learning is already being adopted by many large retailers, such as Walmart. According to Forbes, Walmart “already uses machine learning to optimise the delivery routes of their associate home deliveries.”
Retailers should be following suit and ensuring the potential of cloud-based data is being used to its full capacity. Take for example the “Dish the Fish” fish stall in Singapore, who uses a cloud-based point-of-sale and retail management platform. This software allows the company owners to track sales and inventory, and moreover, allows them to use this data to make smarter decisions.
Retailers should take note and use cloud-based software to improve efficiency and productivity. Businesses offering mobile payment technology empower customers and are therefore at a distinct advantage. With the surge in the development of technologies like Apple Pay, customers are increasingly focused on mobile wallets, so retailers should adapt to the increasing demand for these types of options.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.