Retail Re-boot: How the Cloud is Changing the Way We Shop


Cloud expert Mark Scaife talks dreaming, differentiating, and data…

Playstation, X-Box. Coke, Pepsi.

The most titanic of brand wars are slugfests with more than one winner. Price, quality and capability are differentiators which benefit the consumer, as well as the provider.

And so it is with the cloud.

The latest addition to businesses’ staple “pay-as-you-use” life-givers (think water, gas, electricity etc.) is at the expanding heart of a market share fight for which they should all bag a ringside seat.

In the red corner: Amazon AWS – the nippy innovator popular with Gen X ‘dream big’ card swipers. In the blue corner: Microsoft Azure – the purring corporate king, packing the most potent of punches.

So what’s a progressive, ambitious business to do?

Answer: Understand. Embrace. Thrive.

For this is truly disruptive stuff. The kind of world-changing technology that can transform EVERY business NOW. And which, in a retail setting for example, provides a no-brainer platform upon which to build a brilliant present, never mind future. Successful retail of either kind (physical or online) is dependent on the ability to respond to consumer demand in the most intuitive, dynamic, and cost-effective ways possible. In the public cloud, that ability is turbo-charged.

The cloud’s immense pay-as-you-use computing power is the app store to your iPhone. In the cloud, you can spin up vast capacity to shift more of what it is you sell, to more of those you sell it to.

You can flex that capacity up when demand is high, and scale it back when things slow down. And you only pay for the capacity you use.

That’s OpEx, not CapEx. Pay as you grow.

Those retailers already operating successful e-commerce models were the early trailblazers. eBay and ASOS have all had their heads in the cloud for a couple of years. In the States, the giant Amazon ‘Go’ store is signposting the future. Walk the aisles; fill your trolley; then just leave. Your card gets charged later. In the cloud.

It’s about saving everyone’s new most-precious commodity – time. So what should this mean for retailers keen on playing catch-up? It’s not as simple as just setting up in the cloud. It’s not just about moving your data. How you USE that data is the real differentiator. Turning on the tap – and REALLY leveraging the power of the cloud – means deploying Big Data Analytics, and Augmented and Virtual Reality to boost the bottom line.

Clever stock management; clever footfall mapping; clever targeted marketing; clever customer profiling; clever e-commerce. Clever everything. Oh, and all protected by clever security.

In fact, whole new customer shopping experiences capable of delivering real brand differentiation. That’s what next generation retail looks like, and those who choose not to embrace the change will wither and die. The top 100 retailers of today will be very different in five years’ time. Some of those in the next top three may not even currently exist.

So, whatever you do, don’t be afraid

Speak to your trusted digital enablement partner.

Stick your head in the cloud.

Then chill with a coke.

Or a Pepsi…


This article was originally published on Business Reporter on 6 November 2017 and has been reprinted with their full permission.

Mark Scaife

About Mark Scaife

Having been with the business for more than eight years, Mark is now Head of Cloud Practice at Daisy. He has more than 20 years’ experience within the IT and tech industry, developing extensive skills in business case generation, planning, architecture, implementing and supporting complex IT solutions for all types of businesses. His topics of interest include the evolving cloud and hosting landscape, with a particular focus on translating frameworks into innovative and forward-thinking business outcomes, rather than solely technical IT solutions.