Cloud computing has gained massive popularity within the business world. The retail industry, specifically, has benefitted from cloud based software solutions and cloud computing in that these kinds of virtual networks allow retailers to streamline their operations across multiple store locations as well as their corporate offices. 

The improved communication, advanced technology, and enhanced security that cloud based systems provide has equipped retailers of all industries and sizes with the tools they need to create better work environments for their employees and better shopping experiences for their customers. 

While there are many advantages to upgrading your operations to a single, efficient cloud based system, this article will focus on the following top key benefits:

  • • Cost Savings
  • • Security
  • • Flexibility
  • • Data Insights
  • • Quality Control
  • • Disaster Recovery
  • • Loss Prevention

    Read on to discover how these key benefits can amplify your retail business. 

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Cost Savings

Unlike networked hardware solutions, cloud based systems are available as SaaS, or Software as a Service. This means that you can subscribe to the SaaS, using a pay-as-you-go pricing model that fits your business needs. Cloud based SaaS requires a radically lower initial capital investment compared to on-site legacy solutions, making cloud based solutions ideal for small businesses that want to save money.

In addition to saving your up-front costs, cloud computing can also help you save money in other areas of your retail business, as well. You could possibly downsize your IT department, if you choose, because cloud based systems are capable of troubleshooting most IT issues before they start.

Security

When cloud computing and cloud based systems first came on the scene, many business owners were leery about the presumed security of this brand-new technology. Fast forward twenty years, and cloud based technology is no longer new, but rather tried-and-true. In fact, cloud computing currently offers better security than legacy computing networks, and when data breaches do occur, it's usually due to a weakness in the legacy-side of a system, and not the cloud-side.  

According to RapidScale.com, 94% of businesses saw an improvement in security after switching to the cloud, and as an added bonus, 91% of those businesses reported that using the cloud made it easier for them to meet government requirements when applicable. 

Flexibility

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a worldwide shift in the way businesses function. The biggest operational shift that occurred was the sudden influx of remote work. Seemingly overnight, most offices reduced their on-site employees by 75%! Their off-site employees had to be equipped with reliable cloud based systems they could use to keep up with their work responsibilities from home. 

As a retailer, you might not have sent your cashiers home to work remotely, but you probably reduced your daily staff and did as much managerial work from the back office or your home. Even traditional phone technology cannot compare with the flexibility provided by cloud based calling apps that can be installed on any computer or device to support clear voice communication. The bottom line is that in this day and age, retailers need flexibility. 

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Data Insights 

In the retail digital marketing world, personalization has the power to make or break your promotional campaigns. This means that retailers need to prioritize CRM data storage as well as the ability to accurately analyze and leverage the customer data that's constantly being collected. The cloud can help retailers process and analyze their CRM data faster and with deeper accuracy, enabling them to understand insights better so they can launch highly targeted marketing campaigns.

The data insights a retailer can gather and analyze thanks to cloud computing has the power to go beyond CRM, as well. In fact, you can compile data from every source imaginable, including your social media followers, email subscribers, website visitors, and loyalty program participants. 

Quality Control

Cloud based systems allow employees in multiple departments and across multiple locations to access the same documents, reports, and data. As the owner, you can set specific employee permissions and control which employees have access to what information. The result is that the documents, reports, and data that are generated will remain consistent and intact at all times. 

Unlike manual reporting, which is prone to human error, cloud based computing systems utilize  automation. To generate each document, the cloud based system pulls data from original sources, and the end result is improved quality control. By keeping your reports accurate and allowing your authorized employees to review the same reports, you can eliminate confusion and faulty data.     

Disaster Recovery

Every business, no matter its size or location, manages its operations using IT and data communication systems. These systems store highly sensitive data, including financial information, records of sales and transactions, and customer profiles. However, the systems themselves, regardless of how well built and secure they are, could potentially fail at one point or another. This is where cloud based systems save the day. Cloud based systems are able to capture and store recorded data in real time, unlike legacy systems that take snapshots every 15 minutes. 

Cloud-based backup systems include direct-to-cloud backup, cloud-to-cloud backup, and SaaS backup, the latter of which refers exclusively to backing up applications created in SaaS. The major upside to choosing a cloud based backup system is that doing so eliminates the need for storage on a local device, and this is true, however the more diverse your backup system(s), the safer the recovery will be.

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Loss Prevention 

Cloud Data Loss Prevention, or cloud based DLP, protects a business's sensitive information from cyber-attacks, inside threats, and accidental exposure. For retailers, DLP is especially critical since their Point-of-Sale systems store valuable customer account data. 

Legacy DLP systems cannot compete any longer due to the fact that operations systems have organically shifted from legacy to the cloud. If you currently use legacy standalone DLP technologies at your retail locations, you are basically relying on old core engines that specifically protect on-premises data and neglect cloud-stored data. Why leave your cloud data vulnerable to threats? The best way to prevent losses and safeguard your mission critical data against hacks and cyber-attacks is with a cloud based DLP solution, period.    

FTx Solutions provides retailers of all industries with the cloud based systems they need to cut costs and stay competitive. Specializing in Retail POS, Warehouse Management Systems, and Digital Marketing Solutions, as well as Customer Loyalty Reward Solutions, FTx has been serving retailers for decades, and we can serve your retail business, too. Learn more about how FTx retail products protect retailers by reading our articles, Network Failure & POS and Data Backup & Recovery, or contact us today to discover what FTx MSP can do to protect your retail data.