I’ve shared my thoughts on how I think cloud computing will make a huge splash in the retail industry. Now here’s an example. Cloud computing and big data analytics is making one company the quickest product producer of top trends in affordable fashion, Zara.
The company has always shown strong growth and is incredibly sustainable through application of their Business Model Innovation. They look at and analyze current fashion trends, create a collection, then only ship a few of each item to their stores. This leaves little left on the shelves, so low risk if the trend doesn’t turn out the way they hoped.
But to make sure, the store managers and employees are trained to talk to the customer. Find out what they like and don’t like about the design. They then take this data and send it to headquarters. The designers go back to the drawing board and repeat the process. The only difference between Zara and a competitor is Zara has their new product in the stores in 3 weeks, compared to 9 months for a store like the Gap.
Their supply chain is a force to be reckoned with and may even be comparable to that of FedEx or UPS how smoothly they create, produce and deliver. Cloud computing helps the store managers and the market specialists talk in real time by exchanging notes via customized handheld computers.
This data is then transferred, using cloud computing, to the designers. The designers then update the product and send the final draft to the different manufacturers. And voila! Within weeks a new product is on the shelves. It may look like the old one, but it’s improved.
All of this is enabled and executed easily because of their IT Infrastructure. They make decisions based on the data they have all in real time. Daily sales numbers, delivered to systems using cloud computing, show the designers what and what isn’t selling. Enabling them to become agile and encourage frequent visits from their customer base.
Now if only they could focus on enabling online shopping, I’d be happy…
What are some other great examples of retailers using cloud computing? I’m interested to hear! Let me know by commenting on this article or bring the conversation to Twitter @LindseyNNelson