Why Retailers Are Embracing Cloud-Based Technology

Cloud technology has developed rapidly over the past decade. So much so, that today it offers retailers and other organizations — small or large — access to sophisticated software and hardware that few companies would be able to buy, develop and maintain on their own. A retailer can leverage cloud-based technology resources with little more effort than a consumer flipping a switch as she walks into a room. There’s massive investment and sophisticated technology behind that light switch, but the consumer doesn’t have to know a thing about electricity generation or transmission to turn on the lights in her living room. It’s almost that easy for retailers to access state-of-the-art systems through the cloud.

That’s a big change.

In the early days of commerce, an online retailer would have to buy its own web servers, license or develop software to run on those servers, integrate that technology with outside firms such as email service providers, and employ qualified IT personnel to keep all that working. Today, a retailer can rent hardware and software from a cloud provider and use that infrastructure to run software it licenses or builds, or applications that software companies host themselves and that the retailer accesses via a web connection — a subset of cloud-based technology known as software as a service, or SaaS.

The November 2016 Sponsored Special Report on cloud-based technology will look at types of cloud-delivered services and applications retailers are adopting — from cloud-delivered applications for commerce platforms, order management, warehouse management, marketing services and others — and how that is changing how they do business. Executives from leading cloud-based technology firms will share insights on application advancements and the new capabilities available to retailers.