Covid-19 created a lasting shift in the retail industry in the EU and the UK as it exposed existing weaknesses and accelerated the adoption of the hybrid cloud. However, as we go back to the normal in 2022, we notice the norm has changed. According to a recent survey by McKinsey, 44% of consumers in Germany are willing to spend extra on shopping and an astonishing 91% will continue to purchase online. Similar trends were discovered in other European countries. It’s safe to say that retailers took to the cloud heavily in 2020 and it has helped them reduce costs, build business resilience, and enable remote access.
But in the European retail industry, the cloud has much more to offer than minimising the cost of data storage and computing. To get the most out of the hybrid cloud, retailers must prioritise workflows that benefit from it. But before we go any further into its benefits for the European retail industry, let’s first understand what we mean by hybrid cloud.
What Is Hybrid Cloud?
When it comes to the cloud, we have a range of different services. The hybrid cloud brings them all together to create a solution that’s an amalgamation of an onsite infrastructure, a public cloud, and a private cloud service with harmonious orchestration among the various platforms.
The hybrid cloud solution empowers the retail industry to coordinate workloads between connected environments and thus exercise increased governance over their IT resources. For retail businesses in the EU and the UK, there’s a growing need for agility in operations. To that end, the hybrid cloud makes room for flexibility in terms of choices in cloud services as opposed to when a business relies on only one service. It gives businesses more control over their private data, allowing them to address any overflow as they can store sensitive data on a private cloud or an on-site data centre instead of thirdparty vendors. At the same time, this solution allows the business to leverage robust infrastructure of a managed public cloud while being able to manage it all on a unified dashboard.
Benefits of hybrid cloud for retailers in the EU and UK
Hybrid cloud solutions have enabled organisations to put themselves in an advantageous position for a long time through access to higher performance capabilities and on demand services. Here are a few major instances of how it benefits the retail industry.
Easier to reach customers
A hybrid cloud infrastructure gives retailers much-needed peace of mind that comes with knowing their hosted applications can scale even during extreme traffic congestion periods. Applications hosted over a hybrid cloud can be accessed from anywhere across the world in contrast to on premise data centres that are difficult to access and often lead to unacceptable lag for further geographies.
Furthermore, it allows for the adoption of capabilities that optimise sites for various mobile devices — a critical requirement for the evolving e-commerce industry in Europe. Safe to say, the hybrid cloud makes it easier to sell to customers through any device, at any time.
Ability to create customer-centric products
The retail industry is inherently tied up with its customers and their needs, and a hybrid cloud solution helps create the products that are in demand. The cloud offers necessary data analytics tools to assess what’s selling and which product
needs more development or promotion. For instance, a fashion startup can use data to pinpoint new styles and trends their customers might be interested in. The same analytics system recognises the most loyal customers and can suggest incentives for such customers based on the volume of purchases and profit earned from those transactions.
The hybrid cloud also offers tools for the creation and maintenance of new products to keep businesses ahead of the curve as well as offer personalised experiences to their customers.
Increased inventory control
Poor inventory visibility is the leading cause of the retail industry’s inability to meet customer expectations, which leads to lower customer satisfaction. According to a report, 34% of businesses shipped their order late due to inaccurate inventory management.
The hybrid cloud gives retailers increased real-time visibility into their inventory levels which can reduce the issues of customer satisfaction, and that of cash-flow. Interestingly, inventory level insights are paramount to increasing sales as customers are quick to find alternative sellers when items are out of stock. Moreover, with a public cloud component, retailers only have to pay for the features they use and upgrade when required.
As purchasing trends of customers continue to evolve into multichannel and omnichannel selling across platforms, retailers must lead in maximising the flexibility of IT infrastructure. And to that end, in contrast to the broader IT industry where cost is the deciding factor, 54.3% of retailers believe that their ability to accelerate IT deployments is a top factor that decides the best cloud environment for each of their applications.
The hybrid cloud solution enables businesses to manage operations in any place — warehouses, stores, etc accessible at any time. It is due to reasons such as this that 83% of businesses agree a hybrid multi-cloud is the ideal solution to enable business agility and flexibility.
Peace of mind with heightened security
Retail businesses lose data year on year due to a variety of reasons ranging from system failure to security breaches. A hybrid cloud solution for the retail industry in the EU drives mission-critical, real-time applications as they rely on a low-latency and high-security infrastructure. Data is key to business development, and hybrid cloud-based solutions make data backup ventures redundant as data is securely stored in the cloud where any changes made are saved automatically. Furthermore, the cloud service provider takes care of security and updates to safeguard the data in the event of a cyberattack.
In conclusion, the hybrid cloud is reinforcing the European retail industry’s ability to bring more capabilities to the table from which their employees and customers can benefit. It is a nimble and cost-effective solution that can be scaled at will and this has made it the default IT infrastructure model for all businesses today.
As a partner to futurist retailers, Xebia understands the significance of technology in delivering an optimal retail experience. Adopting the hybrid cloud paradigm, we offer expertise in empowering first-time cloud adopters to optimise their cloud infrastructure. We are partners with Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Alibaba Cloud — 4 of the largest cloud service providers, and it supports us in our bid to deliver the solution that best suits our customers.
Our cloud services range from migration to cloud-native software development, optimisation, and development of a web-based workplace. But that’s not the end of it — Xebia has widespread operations in other digital domains such as AI, Agile, Software Development, and DevOps that empower us to make digital transformation readily accessible to all businesses. Take the first step to transforming the way you imagine retail. Click here to know more.