Why e-commerce data should be on cloud – by Devise Math Solutions
Over the past one-and a half years, the pandemic has disrupted the retail sector and made it imperative for retailers to embrace technology to stay competitive. With disruptions in supply chains, restrictions on movement of customers, and social distancing guidelines making it difficult to operate stores, run promotions and fulfil orders, many brick-and-mortar retail businesses had to shut down. The imperative for many of these players was to move to ecommerce to facilitate transactions safely for both retail staff and customers. In this article we will explore why ecommerce players need to consider moving to the cloud as a business priority.
One of the most common applications of cloud computing for ecommerce is to ensure site stability and scalability. Hosting your site on the cloud allows for easy scaling of servers to accommodate spikes in traffic due to promotions or seasonal shopping trends. The security provided by most cloud providers is also an added bonus for ensuring that Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of customers is safely stored.
The vast variety of processes and data sources means that having a data-driven approach to running an ecommerce store is essential. Backing up your store’s data to the cloud is of great value to preserve your site’s integrity and security, but the cloud can be used for so much more. It is a tool that can be used to harness the full potential of your store’s data to improve business performance.
Below are the ways in which the cloud can help accelerate your adoption of business intelligence (BI) and analytics:
1). Data Consolidation
With the cloud all of your store’s data sources can be consolidated at one place, which can be used for analysis. With powerful analytical engines such as Google BigQuery and AWS Sagemaker, it is possible to look at disparate data sources and their overall impact on your business easily. You can assess where your customers are coming from using Google Analytics data, combine it with clickstream data to assess their behavior on site, and divide your customers into groups based on when and whether they made a purchase, abandoned their cart or left after browsing a product. This saves you time from wading through endless spreadsheets to gain insight into what’s working and not working on your store.
2) Advanced personalization
Personalizing the shopping experience helps you to retain customers and increase your store’s profitability. A 2019 study by BCG & Google showed that on average, greater personalization boosts customers’ spending and brand satisfaction with a store- a 110% increase in the number of items ordered & a 40% increase in the order value. Greater personalization occurs when you combine data from first party sources (your website, POS data, mobile apps etc.) with third-party data from companies offering data on your customer base. This data further needs to be processed and analysed to target customers with offers based on their purchase history, preferred social media channel, location, browsing behavior etc. among many other variables. The sheer size of these data sets and the complexity of managing this for a growing business necessitates the use of the storage, computing and automation capabilities that a cloud solution offers.
3) Scalable Analytical solutions
As your store grows over time, the addition of new product lines, new markets, and other marketing channels means that there is a lot of data to be made sense of. Running all of this analysis on spreadsheets means constantly importing data and perhaps losing out on the historical context of the same analysis for a different time period. This is apart from the data handling limitations of spreadsheet applications. Running your data analysis on the cloud enables you to sidestep these limitations and scale your analytics up to meet the requirements of an expanding business. In addition, cloud service providers also bundle in powerful AI and Machine Learning algorithms that can be used to gain insights from all of this data.
4) Real-time analytics
Cloud service providers are increasingly offering real-time analytics capabilities, making these tools available even to smaller firms. The advantage of real-time analytics is that it gives you a window into a business process while it is happening, allowing for decisions to be made faster. For example, by comparing the flow of orders with the available quantity of products, decisions can be made on which products to move to warehouses on a priority basis. For online retailers of perishable goods, having inputs on real-time traffic data and weather forecasts can help their logistics providers route consignments effectively to minimize disruptions.
To conclude, cloud computing provides a slew of advantages to a retailer, enabling the business to be nimbler and more responsive to the market.