Infrastructure-as-a-service: the unsung hero of annual festive sales

By Sumir Bhatia

As we kick off 2022, e-commerce continues to gain momentum with retailers refining their strategies and upgrading their capabilities to address the ever-evolving landscape. Chinese New Year is right around the corner and other shopping events will instigate fierce rivalry as online and in-store retailers compete to out-perform one another by providing consumers better discounts, more personalised deals, and various payment methods and fulfilment options.

Retailers now have an opportunity to integrate personalised, secure, and safe shopping into a seamless package of online, in-app, curbside, and in-store experiences. This necessitates smart technology through future-ready infrastructure solutions that combine edge computing with IoT platforms and can be the foundation of a retailer’s intelligent transformation.

For retailers to maximise gains throughout the year, they will need to capture, access, and analyse customer data to uncover buying trends, provide new services, and create a more personalised shopping experience that leads to revenue growth.

The key challenge in this area is ensuring their IT infrastructure can keep up with this influx of data and processing required, while being able to manage cost and ensure security and stability across their systems. Therefore, having a sound IT strategy and a robust Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution can ensure retailers are performing at their best during annual shopping spikes.


Flexible and Scalable solutions is the Way Forward

In technology, one size does not fit all. This is why we believe that the future lies with consumption-based models that help bridge the high demand and low demand worlds- especially so for retailers.

IT IaaS gives businesses the power and strategic advantage of the best-in-class infrastructure and services portfolio to improve and streamline the customer experience – all done via a pay-as-you-grow business model. Many subscription-based offerings like Infrastructure-as-a-Service – a cloud-based service – allow businesses to manage their CapEx and OpEx investments effectively.

Most importantly, retailers of all sizes can scale without upfront capital investments. Paying only for what is consumed gives retailers the agility and flexibility to scale between peak and off-peak shopping periods. With IT managed, retailers can focus on what brings business, the customers.

This is what helped one of the latest retailers in Southeast Asia to deliver value and deploy the optimal infrastructure for their specific needs year-round without being “locked-in” to a lease. It helped them stay focused on winning in the bigger picture – addressing tight profits, growing competition, and evolving customer loyalty – while reaping potential benefits such as predictable, renewable revenue streams, and deeper insights on customer consumption patterns.


Go Where the Consumers Are

Thanks to IoT, consumers have now come closer to the businesses, giving latter the opportunity to make a stronger connect and deliver better value.

The explosive growth of IoT has impacted all industries, but the most tremendous shift is seen in the retail sector - unified store operations and efficient supply chain initiatives. IoT and transformative technologies enable brick and mortar as well as digital native retailers to increase operational productivity and efficiency, enable automation and offer new services. Initiatives such as interactive selling, real-time pricing, and in store promotion help drive increased revenue and deeper customer engagement. At the same time, the amount of data generated is higher than ever before and retailers need to exploit and use such data. 

In this context the power of edge computing is clear: retailers can gain deep insights and predictive analysis in real time. This ultimately validates why IaaS model is so important – it gives retailers a modern, highly reliable IT environment in a smart, consumption-based, efficient way. 

Furthermore, with managed costs and IT, merchants can handle higher volume of data during demand-intensive business cycles such as major online shopping days or during culture-driven sales periods (Chinese New Year and Christmas), and benefit from higher ROI, greater efficiencies, and access to fully managed solutions and services. 


Smart Technology can Address Demand of the Smart Normal

Beyond seasonal and holiday spikes, retailers are re-evaluating their customer experience in-store and online.

During high business periods such as Black Friday or Singles Day, consumers expect zero disruption, retailers want websites and applications to have minimum downtime and remain stable to accommodate maximum traffic. Constant monitoring is required to tackle server-related issues. Retailers need smart infrastructure that fuels intelligent transformation, shortens time to market, and provides technology that allows merchants to maintain control of their data and resources. 

A standard infrastructure solution also means that a retailer’s various edge locations can run both traditional information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) applications along with their new transformative Internet of Things (IoT) applications. 

Businesses require new technologies to stay up to speed with innovation in today’s world. The good news for retailers is that with solutions such as IaaS, they can focus on innovating their customer experience with the assurance of a reliable, scalable, and flexible infrastructure solution. 

As more and more retailers seek to transform their businesses in 2022, from the way they engage consumers to managing inventory, an infrastructure-as-a-service solution seems the perfect fit for the job.

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