COVID-19 has permanently altered the way we live, work, and shop. It has changed the retail environment and experience in two ways: as a disruption to business as usual and as an amplifier of long-standing strains that existed prior to the pandemic and show no indications of abating.
As a result, the retail environment has gotten more competitive, and retailer responsiveness has become a better predictor of success.
Retailers must differentiate themselves now more than ever by employing every tool at their disposal, including going all-in on the cloud. Cloud computing may provide merchants with the technical foundation they need to respond quickly and profit in the aftermath of a pandemic, as well as improve basic characteristics that help businesses weather and adapt to changing conditions.
Global forces are increasingly influencing shop behavior in the post-pandemic era, exacerbating long-standing dynamics and requiring merchants to develop new or superior techniques in response. The most influential of these elements are those that are most closely related to the use of digital technology, such as:
Customer purchasing habits are evolving: As shopping patterns and expectations evolve post-pandemic, the ability to provide in a ubiquitous manner with high customer connectedness is more critical than ever.
CPGs are growing direct-to-consumer channels: The battle over who controls the customer relationship is heating up on all sides, as retailers battle conventional threats, digital upstarts, and CPGs that are actively attempting to disintermediate them.
The middle market is shrinking as larger companies continue to gain market share through easy services or by absorbing smaller competitors, all while fiercely competing for digital talent to overcome outdated platforms.
The demand for flexible and robust operations with high visibility and control across the value chain is being driven by global concerns ranging from climate change to economic upheavals and expanding digitization.
New retail models are upsetting the balance: present technology and digital interaction platforms are under increased pressure to create new shopping experiences, with global innovations flowing into local experimentation.
The pandemic has further complicated the global regulatory landscape, making it more difficult for merchants to enter new regions or operate abroad.
Retailers must respond to these factors or increase their general adaptability and responsiveness. Cloud computing has the ability to supplement and improve this reaction.
Responding to cloud trends
In this difficult global scenario, retailers are speeding up their cloud migration to reinforce essential traits required to flourish in a post-pandemic future. Cloud-based technologies may help with agility, resilience, efficiency, innovation, and scalability, all of which are important in the new normal.
Realizing the cloud’s potential
Retailers are at varying stages of cloud adoption, with some ready to fully embrace the technology and others just getting started—and each will face a unique set of challenges. Some retailers aren’t sure what cloud means to them or their business, so they’ll have to concentrate on controlling overall costs and learning how to embrace multi-cloud. Other retailers are tackling the hurdles of transitioning to and operating a new cloud infrastructure, as well as creating custom ecosystems and finding out how to use data to achieve their key objectives. Those merchants who have mastered the cloud are ready to investigate how to utilize it to differentiate themselves online and power the new shop.
However, regardless of where a shop is on the cloud journey, the next step is critical. With unpredictable business circumstances, a new shopping normal, and new entrants profiting on these trends, using the cloud may be the only way ahead.