Retail challenges: the story of fluctuating demand

Despite being regularly categorised as a single industry, the challenges facing businesses in differing retail sectors vary considerably. The immediate issues occupying the high-end fashion boutiques are likely to be significantly different to those of a multi-store supermarket chain, for example. However, one constant battle that retailers must face is fluctuating demand.

As much as retailers review past sales figures and factor in market conditions, it’s very difficult to anticipate customer requirements. Aside from having a lack of clarity over generated revenue, businesses face a logistical nightmare around resource allocation, stock distribution and the possibility of being unable to process increasing customer orders.

By migrating to the cloud, retailers can function safe in the knowledge that their IT infrastructure has the scalability to store and process information as their operations grow. With hosting platforms paid for on a ‘pay as you go’ tariff, organisations can scale up and down as demand dictates. This is of particular benefit to retailers who expect significant fluctuations in the call for their goods due to the seasonality of their products such as summer clothing or Christmas decorations. These businesses can operate in a cost-effective manner and only pay for the storage capacity they use.

The rapid scalability of cloud hosting platforms can also support retailers in the midst of an urgent need for more infrastructure availability to process mass orders. A big spike in demand for certain products may push on-premise IT infrastructures to the limit and lead to inefficient processing and inevitably lost sales. However, retailers operating in the cloud would be able to embrace this excessive demand and quickly scale up to comfortably manage these new revenue opportunities.

Becoming a hosted business brings a wealth of benefits and functionality to any retailer; possibly the most important is the ability to consistently keep up with the demands of your customers and deliver the products they need.

Written by Stephen Horan - Business development manager

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