December 6, 2017 | Written by: Matthew Wilson
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Retailers are increasingly looking to cloud computing to meet needs both new and old. Customers expect more from their shopping experiences, and that’s especially true in the busy holiday shopping season.
The numbers prove that cloud is a growing part of retail. According to a Markets and Markets study, the retail cloud market is expected to grow to more than $28 billion by 2021.
Just how are retailers using cloud to make their work more efficient and provide better customer service? AI, data, analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) and other technologies all play a role.
For more specific and unique ways retail companies are using cloud, here’s how five are incorporating IBM Cloud in their business strategies:
The pharmacy store chain plans to use IBM Cloud services and retail analytics tools to make its field service support more efficient. Analytics tools will be put to use in 8,100 store locations across the US to identify where and when service calls happen the most frequently, take care of all concerns in a single trip, and free up resources for other needs. IBM Cloud will also be put to use to determine the IT support needs of each store.
This gift retailer’s name is a phone number, but it’s putting IBM Cloud to use to make its online shopping experience a seamless one. The company is looking to IBM Cloud to make it easy for customers to jump across brands including Harry & David, Wolferman’s and Fannie May, on 1-800-Flowers.com. IBM Watson also powers a conceirge service called “Gwyn” (an acronym for “gifts when you need”) to personalize gift recommendations for customers and particular occasions.
Showrooms are an important part of any furniture seller’s business, but physical showrooms only have so much space. That’s why Bernhardt’s developers used an API infrastructure on IBM Cloud to create a virtual showroom that representatives can access via tablets to show off the complete product inventory. The company’s developers can instantly integrate new capabilities into the app without having to write new code or move something out to make room.
Online retail is growing rapidly. Sometimes, it can be too fast for companies to manage without some help. StockX, an online marketplace startup based in Detroit, worked with IBM to design an build an app to make quality assurance for its sneaker, handbag and watch orders a more efficient process. With that app in place, StockX was able to scale operations to meet building customer demands.
Pets at Home
Store employees know a lot, but they’re human. They can’t know everything, especially if it’s brand new information. To help keep employees up to date, the UK’s top pet specialist retailer launched an app called Sales Assist, built on IBM MobileFirst for iOS. Sales associates in more than 400 stores nationwide use the app to share product information as well as ratings and reviews. It connects to the company’s applications and data for real-time inventory updates.
Learn more about IBM Cloud Retail solutions.