Tackling retail’s top challenges with edge computing

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Retail is undergoing a profound transformation driven primarily by the need to improve operational efficiency and provide an excellent customer experience, both in-store and digitally. These changes create a substantial opportunity for IT departments to introduce technologies that automate processes, manage inventory, improve energy management, and drive sustainability practices. It’s not an easy task because large retailers typically run multiple sites that cross country borders and continents. 

Consider that some IT staff manage hundreds or thousands of sites, including stores, warehouses, and offices. Getting visibility into all these locations to ensure availability, reliability, and resilience is critical, but it’s only possible to staff some sites with IT professionals. Retailers need robust, secure, multi-site IT management platforms with remote capabilities to ensure all their locations stay trouble-free, resilient, and secure, as discussed in this recent webinar. This is where edge computing comes into play.

Watch the Webinar: DCD’s Fireside chat: How Retailers are using Edge Technology to ensure Uptime

Address top retail industry challenges 

An IT management platform supported by edge computing capabilities can deliver the support retailers need to address four major trends currently impacting the industry:

  • Operational efficiency
  • Customer experience 
  • Sustainability
  • Business continuity
edge computing applications in retail

Optimize inventory management – Boost operational efficiency and customer satisfaction

Inventory management is critical to a retailer’s success, ensuring products are available when customers want them and minimizing the risk of lost sales. The lack of proper inventory management can lead to overstocking and increased holding costs. Conversely, it can cause understocking, leading to missed sales opportunities and dissatisfied customers. By implementing reliable inventory management systems, retailers can better manage stock levels, forecast demand, and make smarter purchasing decisions.

Robust inventory management practices also drive customer satisfaction. Whether visiting a store, using a mobile app, or going online, customers want to find the products they are seeking when they want them. Customers are more likely to return to and recommend a retailer when they find what they need, so inventory management is critical to staying competitive in today’s demanding retail environment.

Sustainability drives savings and success

Retailers who embrace sustainable practices not only contribute to environmental responsibility but also realize significant cost reductions by enhancing operational efficiencies and curbing energy consumption. Improving sustainability in retail operations can be achieved by implementing efficient transportation and logistics strategies to minimize fuel consumption and reduce emissions. This approach includes converting fleets to electric vehicles and sourcing energy from renewable sources. In addition, retailers can also choose IT solutions that are more energy-efficient and recyclable.

Business continuity is mission-critical

Downtime poses a substantial hurdle for the retail industry. The distributed nature of retail sites with limited on-site IT staff heightens the vulnerability to downtime incidents. Many retail businesses have experienced the negative impacts of an outage or disruption, which resulted in lost revenue and unhappy customers. Beyond that, an outage can lead to data loss, security issues, loss of perishable products, and decreased employee productivity.

How edge computing solves retail challenges

Retailers can successfully address these trends and challenges by leveraging edge computing solutions to make them more agile, competitive, and better able to enhance the customer experience. But to make it all happen, retailers should leverage edge computing solutions that provide a robust, connected, multi-site IT management platform. 

The platform should provide visibility into every site to ensure optimal operation, consistency, security, and business continuity. Retailers should seek a solution that delivers secure remote monitoring and management, data collection, and analytics across multi-site, multi-country distributed environments.

Increase visibility and uptime

Whether retailers keep workloads at the edge or on-premise – or a combination of both in a hybrid environment – they can adopt an approach that provides 24/7 monitoring for management and cybersecurity purposes. These capabilities help ensure availability, which drives operational efficiencies and a consistent user experience, enhancing the customer experience.

Improve standardization

A multi-site management platform enables standardization by letting retailers implement consistent processes and procedures across all locations. This includes everything from inventory management and pricing strategies to employee training and customer service protocols. 

Enhanced communication

Another benefit is centralized data and communications. Retailers can implement technology solutions that streamline communications between locations and provide real-time visibility into inventory levels, sales data, and customer information while empowering local management at each site. This way, local management can make decisions and tailor strategies to their specific locations while still aligning with the business’s overall goals.

Boost sustainability efforts

Lastly, connected-edge technology supports sustainability strategies by optimizing the management of distributed environments through consistent practices that help reduce waste, maintenance requirements, and energy consumption. 

Access on-demand retail webinar to improve operations and uptime with edge computing solutions

Retailers rely heavily on their IT infrastructure to run their business and hone the user experience. The more efficient the infrastructure becomes, the more likely retailers are to meet their sustainability goals. That means retailers have a better chance of competing successfully in increasingly demanding markets where customers have plenty of choices to take their business. To learn more about how retailers can succeed in an ever-changing environment, access DCD’s Fireside chat: How Retailers are using Edge Technology to ensure Uptime.

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