Today, retailers are experimenting with new products, services, and business models. But how much is your retailer business thinking about the cloud? Have you considered how a scalable software-as-a-service (SaaS) via a pay-as-you-use model could benefit your retail business? If you haven’t, you should.
We know you have more than enough to be thinking about already. Day to day, your time is taken up with figuring out how to make your customers happy, while ensuring your staff are focused and on task. You need to keep your business thriving, watch what your competitors are doing and stay up to date with all the latest trends in the industry. And even though you know you should probably be thinking about how to future-proof your business by taking advantage of the latest tech, you also have a company to run. You’re not alone.
So what happens next? Maybe, if you stay as you are, you’ll be okay. But more often than not, something happens, and it forces you to look up. Maybe a competitor moves into your space and takes a load of loyal customers off you. Maybe your staff are overwhelmed with administrative tasks, and struggle to offer the good customer service you expect. Perhaps your sales fall way behind expected targets, and you need to work out how to turn your performance around. It’s these types of events that will keep you up at night and compel you to make a change.
This is when you may start thinking about which tools and technologies are out there for you to take advantage of. You’re not necessarily thinking about moving to the cloud, but you hear about it. It’s probably the last thing that you want to do. You’re not quite sure what it is. Is it risky? Is it costly? How long will it take to implement? How much will it disrupt your business? Is it a fad? Is it really worth it?
But no matter what you do right now, you need to start understanding and thinking about the cloud. Once you’ve done that, you can begin to explore how it will make a real difference to your business, which parts make sense to transition to the cloud first, and how you’re going to make it happen.
Mapping out your retail cloud journey
What should a typical cloud implementation journey look like? In most cases, it begins by not really thinking about the cloud at all. Instead, retailers should focus on what their business goals are, how they can achieve them, and then look at the tools and technologies needed to support your vision.
In the new retail economy, experience and brand image matter more than product in the mind of the shopper. Medium’s article, “People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Better Versions of Themselves,” highlighted drinks brand Pepsi as an example, saying it was the first company in history to market itself by promoting the image of consumer that drank it, as opposed to the product itself, and that was 50 years ago.
Since then, consumers, aided by social media, have become far more conscious of who they are in the context of the products they use than even Pepsi could’ve imagined. In this society of ultra-conscious consumers, successful brands will be those that make consumers feel the way they want to feel about themselves.
To stay connected to what your customers want, then, you must focus on your brand equity and look at how you can increase it most efficiently. Look at the experience you deliver across your channels. Is it seamless? Is your online presence the same as your in-store experience? If it’s not, it needs to be. Your customers expect to be able to start a conversation or transaction with your brand in one channel and finish it in another.
Next, you need to look at your IT architecture, decide on your cloud approach and determine where your mission-critical data will reside. Are you going all in,
hybrid, or mainly on-premises?
It’s a big project, and it’s not going to be easy. But you can’t put it off forever. Begin by gathering your business into one platform and database, and then start working on making the customer journey seamless and memorable for all the right reasons. If you don’t give people the best experience with you, they will go to a different brand that does. It’s that simple.
Now is the time to make unified commerce a reality using cloud solutions infused with intelligence, such as with LS Central. Don’t risk getting left behind.
Are you ready to start your retail journey into the cloud? Please contact us at any time to discuss how LS Central can revolutionize the way your retailer does business.