The face of retail is changing. With advancements in technology, consumers are growing to expect consistency regardless of when, where, and how they interact with the retailer. They also want access to the same products, pricing, and promotions that they get in-store, no matter what channel they are placing an order from.
Gartner estimates more than half of large enterprises will deploy hybrid clouds by the end of 2017 and retailers are particularly suited to adopt a cloud-driven strategy. With hybrid cloud solutions, retailers have access to the technology and infrastructure they need to address the demands of consumers and provide a more personalized shopping experience. There are two key factors driving this adoption: agility and analysis:
Retailers require agility and scalability to accommodate spikes in traffic and continued operational growth in order to offer their customers the best experience. Not only does a hybrid cloud IT infrastructure scale quickly and on demand, but it also enables quick integration across all platforms, which significantly reduces IT services costs and operational inefficiencies, and keeps the end-user experience consistent across all channels.
Hybrid cloud models are particularly suited for big data solutions and are able to aggregate and analyze large amounts of consumer and business data that allow retailers to respond quicker and make decisions with better information. This also allows retailers to build detailed customer profiles and develop personalized shopping experiences, offering the product recommendations, discounts, and event details that each customer wants and needs. A cloud usage survey conducted by the IBM Center for Applied Insights found that enterprises utilizing this kind of big data and hybrid cloud solution are gaining competitive advantages, with 65 percent making better data-driven, decisions, and 54 percent reinvigorating their customer relationship programs.
While many of the benefits of hybrid cloud are the same across all industries – high availability, greater flexibility, reduced cost – retailers in particular are able to use hybrid cloud solutions to transform their IT infrastructures and optimize the in-store and online experience, streamline operational processes, and improve target marketing efforts to maximize sales and ensure long-term growth.