How cloud computing empowers retail

Adopting a ‘digital-first’ business strategy

It’s almost impossible to come across a company today that hasn’t undergone digital transformation. Unsurprisingly, 91% of organisations have adopted, or have plans to adopt, a ‘digital-first’ business strategy.

But, with a focus on sustainable IT solutions, personalised systems, and business flexibility, what will differentiate these companies isn’t just the hardware, but also the systems that bring that hardware to life.

Cloud computing can empower your chosen hardware in multiple ways, so it’s crucial to research which services suit retail businesses specifically to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investment. In this article, we’ll share how retail organisations can seamlessly integrate cloud computing with state-of-the-art devices to stay ahead of the curve.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is what breathes life into hardware. Essentially, the way you use a device can change entirely depending on the systems and apps you choose to download. So, for some retailers, cloud computing may be useful for processing orders and payments, whilst others might use it to support communication across various sites.

Since it offers on-demand access to many useful online services and resources without requiring additional on-site infrastructure, cloud computing has firmly solidified its place in many aspects of modern life. For example, Netflix, WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams and Google Drive all use cloud computing to deliver the services people use on a daily basis.

By moving away from physical IT systems, cloud computing provides access to additional storage, applications, services, and data in a cost and space-effective way, making it an excellent choice for retail businesses. In fact, for many retailers, cloud computing has the ability to completely revolutionise the way they operate. Using retail-specific solutions, you can carry out a range of tasks — such as viewing your inventory and price management data in real-time, creating consistent omnichannel shopping experiences, and boosting employee productivity — on a single device.

The beneficial effects of cloud computing on hardware

As consumers begin to make more eco-friendly choices, retailers will need to boost their commitment to sustainability in order to stay afloat. Fortunately, cloud computing makes IT greener, enhancing the lifespan of a single device and enabling businesses to repeatedly upgrade the way they use it instead of buying a replacement. Consequently, you’ll be able to achieve your sustainability goals and save money at the same time.

In addition to making your hardware last longer, cloud computing gives you the power to tailor and personalise devices to suit your unique business needs. In the same way you would download an app to your smartphone, you can simply install whichever computing systems you require directly to your company device. As such, your hardware will always be completely fit-for-purpose without being impacted by sudden spikes or changes in demand.

Finally, cloud computing eliminates the need for devices to be close to data centres to work as each piece of hardware can access the network and in-house resources from remote locations. It’s that connectivity that enabled businesses to continue operating throughout the pandemic and, now, business leaders can use cloud computing to ensure their organisations remain agile regardless of the obstacles they may encounter. Plus, whilst many retail positions require employees to carry out their jobs in person, cloud computing does enable you to offer more remote work opportunities to back-office staff, making you a more attractive employer.

Why Microsoft Surface is the ideal hardware for retail cloud computing

One of the biggest advantages cloud computing brings to business hardware is the ability to integrate automation into various operations and processes using a central database.

Whether it’s a 24/7 customer service presence through AI and automated responses, or the provision of consistent security across online touchpoints, retailers can use their hardware to scale and become more efficient. Not to mention that cloud computing makes it simpler than ever to deliver a more consistent customer experience that boosts your reputation and revenue in the long run.

Designed for versatility and performance, Microsoft Surface is a range of portable devices that are known for their easy-to-use touchscreen functions and ability to highlight the value of Microsoft’s cloud solutions. Surface devices are 100% compatible with over 2,000 apps and systems designed specifically for retail business — all backed by Microsoft.

Better still, Microsoft’s tight security protocols, auto-update change management, and easy integration functionality are complemented by built-in support features designed to keep businesses online and moving forward.

Discover which solutions are right for your business

SHI’s three-decade relationship with Microsoft enables them to offer world-class licensing expertise and strategic services that support you in migrating, modernising, optimising, and managing your business to realise the full value of your Microsoft investment.

Want to learn how you can transform your retail business? Click here to talk to an SHI Specialist.

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