How Cloud-Based Tech Helps Businesses
How Cloud-Based Tech Helps Businesses
Cloud computing is often held as the beginning of the end for traditional retail businesses, but it can also be used as a valuable tool.
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It seems like everyone in the business world is talking about cloud technology, and small business owners would be wise to make themselves part of the conversation as well. While the predictions that brick-and-mortar businesses were on the verge of extinction may have been overstated, there's no doubt that online retailers are putting the squeeze on traditional businesses. Fortunately, cloud technology allows traditional businesses to offer many of the advantages online retailers can provide while still offering a congenial experience rooted in the real world. These cloud functions can help your business stay at pace with your online competitors.
Customized Consumer Experiences
The online retail marketplace has created expectations of immediate gratification that can be hard for a brick-and-mortar retailer to keep up with unless they have a cloud system in place. Nearly 80% of consumers say that they'll only engage with a business if that business provides promotional experiences tailored specifically to them. Part of this can be achieved through better order fulfillment. Stores can only keep so much stock on hand, and a customer showing up with the expectation of a product in a certain size or color is less likely to return if they can't receive it on the spot. Clouds can sync your store inventory directly to your supply line, allowing your clerks to automatically place an order for your customer and have it shipped to their door, and with cloud automation of delivery services, you don't even need to worry about handling the logistics.
Similarly, your online presence can funnel customers into your store. Modern customer relationship management platforms allow you to create websites that cater promotions and sales based off of the search results that led the customer to your site, and customer profiles allow you to gather more important metrics on your customers while also creating a smarter shopping experience based off of their past purchases. This ability to create a personalized relationship without direct engagement can create a sense of intimacy and draw customers to your storefronts.
A Control Interface That Grows With You
Point-of-sale systems are increasingly sophisticated affairs that allow you to control practically every aspect of your company's pipelines, but they're especially adept at changing with your company's needs. One of the biggest cloud POS trends is the move towards more tablet-based interfaces. Both retail outlets and restaurants can benefit from these "work anywhere" devices which allow clerks and servers to spend more time on the floor helping their customers and less tethered to a computer. And since everything is connected to the same centralized hub, that means that they can respond to changes in stock or inventory in real time, providing a more accurate and responsive experience for your clientele.
Integration of Mobile Wallets
Customers demand convenience, and while mobile wallet services like Apple Pay and Google Wallet haven't yet become the popular standard for transactions, it's a likely inevitability. Of course, being able to serve your customers in this marketplace means making sure your store is equipped to handle them. Based as it is on cloud technology, the kiosks and machinery that process these transactions are rather cheap, and mobile wallet providers are eager to provide incentives to retailers so that they can achieve greater market saturation. If the mobile wallet is your customer's online form of payment and you aren't equipped to handle them, that's an automatically lost sale, and situations like these are going to become increasingly more common in the future.
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