We have officially entered the golden quarter. How can cloud technology help you secure a successful winter shopping period whilst building stable foundations that will help drive sales in 2020 and beyond?

Search ‘golden quarter’ on Google and you will find a plethora of articles offering advice on how retailers should prepare for the three month period that incorporates Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and the start of the January sales. In an increasingly competitive retail landscape, there has never been more pressure on retailers to deliver strong returns during this vital shopping period. But although it’s right for retailers to focus on the golden quarter, there is a risk that too much emphasis on it could lead to an overly short-termist view. The fact is that to survive into 2020 and beyond, retailers should be considering long-term strategies that utilise the right cloud-based technology platforms to enable them to adapt to changing consumer demands.

In this blog post, we will provide a retail survival toolkit that explains how cloud technology enables data to be held centrally, analysed and utilised to deliver insights, offer visibility, enable effective management and – ultimately – increase revenue and secure the future of your retail business.

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Retail Survival Toolkit: Cloud Technology Holds the Key

Today’s retailers are operating in a market where consumers are becoming increasingly savvy, increasingly sure of what they want and increasingly demanding of anyone they purchase from. Your retail business needs to have the right stock in the right locations at the right time, and in order to build and maintain trust you need to deliver exceptional consumer experiences that will keep people coming back for more. How do you gain insights that enable fast, effective stock management whilst allowing you to deliver seamless multi-channel customer experiences whether online, in-store, or over the phone? The answer is data. At Six Degrees, we believe that all forward-thinking retailers should consider utilising cloud technology that delivers meaningful data insights. There are several reasons why cloud technology holds the key to retail success:

  • Deliver insights across the business that support business and marketing strategy. Your business strategy – and the marketing strategy that supports it – should always be based on the requirements of your target market. By collecting the right data on your customers’ buying habits, their likes and dislikes, you can evolve a business strategy to better match what your target market is looking for – not just what you think it’s looking for.
  • Enable central visibility and availability of customer data. One sure-fire way to frustrate a customer is by losing data on a transaction – or not collecting it in the first place. Today’s customers expect to receive a joined-up service across stores, customer contact centres and online. The only way to achieve this efficiently is to maintain a centralised database that is easily accessible to all staff; something that is made significantly easier with cloud technology.
  • Ensure effective resource and stock management. In the flurry of purchases that happen in the run-up to Christmas, it is critical to avoid disappointing customers and losing revenue by having to turn them away or cancel online orders due to lack of visibility of real-time stock availability across locations. But how do you ensure that you get the right stock in the right locations, at the right time? Effective management of resources, supply chain and logistics – all through a centralised control system backed by robust data analytics – will allow you to ensure your stores have the correct stock to meet consumer demands in each respective location and online.
  • Maintain a high level of security at all times. Consumer confidence is everything to retailers – a breach of personally identifiable information (PII) can lead to both GDPR fines and irrevocable loss in consumer confidence. By hosting systems on cloud infrastructures, your business can make data easily accessible to the right people whilst maintaining high levels of security that will increase consumer and regulator confidence.
  • Drive future innovation and adapt to ever-changing demands. There’s no getting away from it – online, mobile and social media driven retail is here to stay, and the proliferation of customer experience and engagement channels will continue. Remaining trapped on legacy systems will prevent you from adapting easily to changing consumer demands. Cloud technology, on the other hand, has the capacity to help drive future innovation and build stable foundations that will help drive sales in 2020 and beyond.

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Looking Beyond the Golden Quarter

Retail is an industry driven by customer demands, which can only be met through understanding their needs, empowering employees to deliver brilliant services and having the right products available when and where they are needed. To do this, retail businesses need to bring data and workloads into a centralised cloud-based platform that has the processing capacity to analyse the data and deliver real-time insights to people across the business, from customer service to supply chain.

Wherever you are on your cloud journey, Six Degrees will lead your transformation to drive competitive advantage for your organisation. Contact us to learn more.