How has the cloud changed the Indian retail industry?

Cloud is now more than just a buzzword, as compared to a decade ago. One in two retail managers in India feels that an accelerating growth strategy is achieved through the cloud as its contributors to their company especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Google Cloud report.

And this makes sense. The pandemic has definitely increased the digitization of businesses; companies have stepped up their digital footprint to keep up with industry standards. It has fast-tracked the time required for implementation processes which are digital in nature.

Before we list the ways in which the cloud has changed the Indian retail landscape, below are some figures to estimate the reasons for faster cloud integration in the Indian retail industry:

There was roughly a 45% increase in online orders as compared to in-store orders during the pandemic, creating a divide between traditional and cloud-based management systems for inventory, delivery and operational functions. The majority of people ordered in the form of order/pickup in-store (65%), same-day deliveries (64%) and third-party vendors like couriers/ delivery services (70%). Most if not all these services require an advance payment which suggests that there is a rise in digital methods of transaction.

The Indian retail industry has witnessed unexpected changes during the COVID-19 pandemic; there has been a 73% increase in the use of digital technology for logistics and planning by the industry, a report suggested.

Supplier partnerships increased by 61% as the Indian retail industry expanded, along with this, 72% of these executives in India had technology improvements implemented to their planning and forecasting strategies.

All these points require a well-devised plan for cloud integration. The efficiency and digitally equipped tools required to run retail businesses is the reason why many companies have largely shifted to a digital space, and the cloud has made it possible for this shift to take action.  

Here are 6 ways in which the Cloud has changed the Indian retail industry:

1. Cost Cutting & Cost Efficiency

Nowadays, we see a trend of cutting manpower costs as cloud systems are capable of taking on more work, and require relatively less supervision than human workers. Fatigue and stress are common signs of employee nature which tend to slow down work, this is inevitable over time. However, by adopting cloud technologies, companies can avoid such instances and strive toward better cost-efficiency.

The rapid expansion and changing nature of the retail industry have made cloud computing essential for businesses with cost-cutting and high-cost efficiency demands. Budgets, expenditures, and payrolls are hence minimized to only pay for what you use. Using the Cloud significantly reduces costs by limiting operational expenditure on connectivity, hardware and software.

2. Greater Flexibility

With the cloud-based system in place, businesses have the ease of flexibility, according to market demand. Cloud operated model has ample room for changing its functions to either large or small scale, depending on the growth trends in a particular retail business. Hence, there is more flexibility and speed of execution compared to the more elaborate and slower to adapt the traditional system. There is also the boon of cost flexibility to Indian retailers as they can shape pricing according to an uptick or down trickle in business.

3. Simplified Control

Cloud management systems have the ease and protection of access, storage and retrieval of sensitive information, a major plus to a professional retail business that traditional systems lack. Various inventory functions can be found at the click of a button. The simple logic of cloud management systems is basic to its core - that it allows employees, executives and managers alike to experience a seamless system which can be accessed anywhere and anytime. Where businesses need the data to be updated and offered in real-time, the cloud manages to do the exact same thing with ease.

4. Data Accuracy

The advancement we see with cloud modelling for data curation, data storage and data analytics is astounding and has paced out traditional mediums, especially in terms of accuracy of results. Changes in supply, inventory management, pending deliveries, charts and statistics of business as well as competition are structured in such a way that they provide the most accurate data points in real-time. The visibility of data is rather clear, and that combined with accuracy provides a fitting channel for retailers to strategize.

5. Effective Communication

With the accuracy of technical information that the cloud provides, cloud computing and management systems have changed the industry and helped Indian retailers with a tool to better engage with customers, shareholders, brokers, liaisons and vendors. Any miscommunication or misunderstandings can be rectified as and when such situations arise.

6. Better Time Management

Planning for budget approvals and capital expenditure, research, development and growth all take time via traditional intervention. But these factors and their decision making can be performed in considerably less time due to ready-made cloud-based computing and management systems.

In conclusion, companies unlock their full potential to grow and expand their business in the highly competitive Indian retail industry by using cloud technology. Companies get a plethora of advantages like having greater flexibility, simplified control, better cost efficiency, proper data accuracy and effective communication. Hence, cloud technology is without a doubt the way forward for the Indian retail industry.

Updated On May 24, 2022