May13

The Cloud and the Retail Sector

shopping bagsDifferent sectors place different levels of importance on IT. For example, in the banking sector, it is relatively high, with 6% of revenue being devoted to technology, where in retail, it is just 1.7%. The average spend for commercial organisations, according to Dell, is 3.5% of total revenue.

Even though the percentage is less than the average, retail chains use on average 450 different applications to manage their data, and experts suggest that by switching to cloud hosting or by utilising cloud servers, this could be made much more cost effective and simple. This application figure puts retailers well above the average of application usage for other sectors, and so many think it is time that retail had a rethink on the way in which they implicate IT.

Social media is infiltrating every aspect of our lives, and the retail industry is also keen to use this to their advantage, tracking customer feedback using the platform: many customers are more than happy to give retailers feedback on social media sites. Some retailers have even gone one step further in order to analyse their customers’ reactions, by checking how long they pause at displays and offers in order to gain a better insight into what customers want.

But inevitably, as retailers get savvier with their data methods, there will be more information to store, and that could be where cloud computing comes in. By storing their information on the cloud, they could free up the need for large data bases, and save money by getting rid of the need for bigger and more expensive hardware.
Moreover, the cloud can be easily expanded, if the need for data storage does increase, and so retailers would not have to think too far ahead by buying pricey data units which they do not yet have the need to use. Retailers can often overspend by anticipating too far ahead, and then not using the hardware to its full capacity.

It seems generally in the retail sector, companies could use the cloud to both simplify existing IT methods, and ensure that the methods can be easily expanded in the future, keeping their methods future safe and ready for a new generation: a new generation in which the cloud can take business in all sectors forward.

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