March 8, 2024

How Migrating to Cloud POS and Back-Office Software Can Enhance Retail Competitiveness

Young entrepreneur using big data analysis and cloud technology

Since 2020, many businesses and organizations have transitioned from on-premises systems, including point of sale (POS) and retail management solutions, to cloud software and infrastructure. In 2021 alone, 70% of organizations accelerated their transition to the cloud to accommodate remote work and operational agility. Furthermore, Gartner analysts predict that by 2028, cloud computing will evolve from a disrupting technology to a business necessity for maintaining competitiveness. But is the transition to cloud POS and back-office software the right decision for your retail business today?

To make an informed decision, compare the benefits of cloud POS and back-office software to the capabilities and performance of your current IT environment. Your analysis will reveal the advantages and ROI of making the move to the cloud.

The Benefits of Retail Cloud Software

Cloud computing, i.e., software delivered over the internet rather than on-premises installation, positively impacts retail operations in several ways:

Centralized Customer Data

One of the biggest challenges that retailers face is accessing the data they need to personalize customer experiences, influence purchases, and build loyalty. On-premises systems often require separate reports from store locations and in-store, online, or other channels where customers engage. Disparate reports limit visibility into customer activity and cause-and-effect analyses that help business leaders navigate retail operations successfully.

Leading retail cloud POS and back-office software makes data accessible across the organization, enabling richer and more granular analyses. The cloud can give you the ability to create 360-degree views of shoppers as they interact digitally and in person and use that data to target promotions, upsell, and hyper-personalize service. PwC research reveals that 82% of consumers would share data for better customer experiences. Cloud software provides an easier pathway to getting the most value from the data you collect.

Centralized Management

Because cloud POS software requires each endpoint using it to connect through the network, you can also use those connections for consistent policies and management across your entire retail chain. A manager or team at headquarters can manage vendors, handle purchasing, and automate replenishment processes across the enterprise. You can also centrally manage pricing and promotions to ensure profitability. In addition, retail cloud software gives you the foundation for smart inventory management, enabling visibility into stock across all locations and transfers between stores or brick-and-mortar and eCommerce businesses. With this control and visibility, you always know the location of all inventory and have the information necessary to address shrink and correct discrepancies. Your enterprise team can also determine how to optimize workflows and configure screens and buttons to save time at each checkout and back-office throughout your organization.

Omnichannel Optimization

Cloud retail solutions better support how retailers operate today. Hardware-agnostic cloud POS and back-office software allow you to run the same solution on mobile devices, self-service kiosks, and the traditional checkout terminal. Furthermore, in-store systems can easily integrate with eCommerce and other digital platforms. This consistency allows you to standardize processes and collect the same types of data, increasing efficiency and creating seamless shopping journeys.

Benefits for Your IT Team

In addition to enhancing customer experiences and streamlining store management, cloud POS software for retail also solves pain points for your IT team. The cloud makes remote IT management possible, so onsite service isn’t necessary for tasks like security patches or system updates. Additionally, browser-based software reduces installation processes to a fraction of the time required with legacy systems since there is no software to install onsite.

Cloud systems are also inherently more scalable than on-premises IT environments. When you want to expand to new locations or add new capabilities, you can add new users and leverage cloud storage rather than budgeting for and installing new hardware onsite. It’s more cost effective, but it’s also faster, which is key in markets where consumer preferences, competitive pressures and tech advancements occur rapidly. Cloud doesn’t make you wait for the mission-critical capabilities you need.

Additionally, cloud computing helps IT teams overcome hurdles to data protection and accessibility. Data stored and used only onsite is highly vulnerable to loss. Just one natural disaster or ransomware attack can destroy or corrupt all data. With cloud data, particularly when protected with immutable data backups with a manageable recovery time objective (RTO)/recovery point objective (RPO), your team can restore your data. Furthermore, if your managers can’t work from usual endpoints after a disaster, they can access data from the cloud and keep your business running.

Is There a Downside?

As with any type of information technology, cloud systems have potential drawbacks if they aren’t designed and implemented correctly. Cloud computing requires a secure network with reliable connectivity. The system must also be configured correctly to collect, share, and use data accurately and effectively.

Fortunately, working with a cloud POS and back-office software provider’s certified reseller with expertise in your retail sector will ensure your system delivers optimal performance. A certified reseller is also a valuable resource for your business when adapting to industry and consumer trends or adding new features. They’ll help you build a system today that allows you to keep up with changes in the future.

Don’t Wait

Retailers who have transitioned from on-premises POS systems to the cloud have advantages over their competitors who have not. They can provide more consistent, loyalty-building customer experiences, operate more efficiently, and streamline IT management.

McKinsey & Company research found that cloud spending in the retail sector increased by 40% each year for the past three years. It indicates that more retailers recognize the advantages of cloud solutions and are migrating from legacy software to stay competitive. Make sure your business stays on the leading edge. Contact us to learn more about cloud POS and back-office software for your business.