As retail business owner there is overwhelming workload that requires your attention. You need to keep track of your inventory, monitor your cash flow and balance the books – all the while; you’ve got customers that need you. Additionally, if you have an e-commerce site, dealing with shipments and payments can be time-consuming. Then there’s the question of VAT, taxes and payroll.

Retailers must continually adapt and transform their in-store and ecommerce shopping experience to meet ever-changing consumer demands. Many retailers are either considering or adopting cloud computing to more effectively address customer expectations and improve their business operations. One such company is TD Mercado.

The stakes have risen in retail. The consumers grasp of digital technology puts retailers like TD Mercado on the peg to remit a seamless shopping experience across all avenues, complete with personalized proposals in real-time based on a consumer’s location and buying traits.

And, that’s just the beginning.

A move to Cloud can address these insufficiencies and build capabilities custom made for today’s consumers.

How does cloud assist the improvement of retail business outcomes?

The improvement of retail business outcomes by use of CIOs is achieved with concentration to a few key areas as listed below:

Channel Operations

Many retailers use legacy systems that are obsolete to run daily operations including shipping, inventory, Point of sale (PoS) terminal among others. Some retail operators even work in silos. When you consider the current market bias and route operations it is easy to notice that they are out of step and are not set up for delivery of seamless customer experience. Retail-as-a service will finally be a feasible solution with cloud. The seamless running of TD Mercado shows that Retail-as-a-Service on cloud bringing several operational processes on to a single platform like restocking and sales associate management, improves not only the management of day to day, but also the customer experience. Letting a cloud provider run the RaaS software and hardware updates further adds to cost reduction and improved efficiency. It also involves and ease in geographic expansion and a drop in IT expenses without the cost of developing conventional IT infrastructure.

Supply Chain

Our case study of TD Mercado has shown that in very many instances, retailers struggle especially when it comes to productive supply chains to manage their business all the while making sure deliveries, stocks as well as inventories are in place. The use of a cloud based supply chain operating platform with TD Mercado  allows us to capture real time status, manage interregional shipments and digitized documents from logistics, suppliers, carriers and the governments. The main advantage in this is that it provides discernibility into its inventory from order, across transit modes, to its final destination. This cloud feature is not only for large companies like TD Mercado, it is also offered to medium-sized and small-sized retailers allowing them entry into industry top inventory processes like Master Content Management (MCM), which generates a process to more effectively share IT data with business. MCM will assist retailers understand social data and thus influence consumer behavior. This will decrease overhead costs, drive out complexity, long-sitting inventory and wasted shelf space all the while controlling stock outs. A big advantage to it is that retailers like TD Mercado will finally be able to push local products into global markets without investing in new stores.

Marketing and Merchandising

When using the internal and external customer data, retailers so far have not made good merchandising decisions. Retailers need to merge the digital data and world data to enhance and personalize the in-store experience. Cloud can help them a great deal in doing this. With Cloud, services move a step ahead to give consumers quick access to information by scanning a quick response i.e. QR code in the shop while at the same time getting other information from friends in their social circle.

Sales, Services and Support

Customer loyalty is very important to a business. An excellent feature from cloud that has been outstanding on cloud is support. TD Mercado runs its support in TDWS cloud. Therefore every interaction with a customer is important as it can either build loyalty or erode it. This also helps with customers who check in to a store with their cell phones, retailers are more likely to know about them and provide them with a more personalized set of services and products. It can also be applied to retailers who are competing with pure online traders. adopting cloud is an effective move especially since it offers customers a seamless experience. Retail CIOs therefore must seriously assess their operational proficiencies in collaboration with the business to become seamless in terms of placement, buying, merchandise promotion, inventory visibility as well as developing pricing strategies, incentives and metrics across channels.

Retailers so far have centered on the easier competencies. Now is the time to leverage the cloud to tackle the heavy stuff. The above stated points will boost your retail business regardless of its type. An additional advantage is its convenience to you as a retailer that includes;

Data access

The better cloud-based PoS systems have apps for iPhones that put live sales data right in front of you quickly and efficiently. With web-based tracking ability, you can easily manage your inventory and POS system from anywhere.

Easy integration

With this type of point of sale solution, you can seamlessly integrate your customer reward programs, gift cards, loyalty programs, and payments into a cloud-based platform.

Instant upgrades

You can stay on top of security issues and technology updates because your PoS software provider will keep implementing any upgrades whenever they become available.

In summary, the cloud has come a long way, and no doubt more retailers will try it out – any technology that makes things quicker and more flexible is likely to go down well with retail boards.

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