With razor-thin margins, ballooning operational costs and colossal yet rapid shifts in buying preferences, retailers need to be predictive, proactive and dynamic—all the while ensuring a consistence experience across various channels.
No mean feat in today’s highly competitive environment. But retailers have little choice. After all, competitors are now available down the street, or a mere click away on the Web or an SMS reply from your mobile.
Big data is supposed to give a much needed boost in enabling better customer engagement—especially for retailers operating across various channels and/or geographies. But to do it right, they need to go beyond just storing, managing and accessing their data. They need to unlock insights quickly from both unstructured and structured data collated from seemingly unrelated sources. This, of course, can increase operational costs and slice their thin margins further.
To ensure that costs do not spiral in this big data era, optimizing the data infrastructure and fine-tuning the storage platforms will ensure optimal performance and cost efficiency.
Becoming storage wise with Storwize
IBM Storwize family, with its range of virtualized storage systems, offers a smarter alternative. More importantly, they feature a common platform with shared technologies and a consistent user interface. For retailers, this translates to higher bottom and top lines. Below are three key advantages:
1. Deliver the right product at the right place and at the right time
Gaining customer loyalty, addressing growing volumes of data and operating more efficiently than the rivals are all hallmarks of today’s successful retailers. To sustain success, they need to deliver a personalized shopping experience that scales up or down to actual demands, across different channels. In short, it needs retailers need to become customer-centric, making the supply chain more responsive, streamlining oversupply and quickly supplying new products and services without increasing costs.
IBM sees its Storwize family as an agent of this transformation. The various offerings are flexible and easy to use, adapt automatically to improve performance while balancing costs. By making data available anywhere, anytime, retailers have the power to make decisions quickly or even automate tweaks to their inventory and warehouse management—sometimes proactively.
2. Smoothening anxiety over spikes
In the old days, retailers banked on access inventory to meet spikes in demand. In today’s margin-thin climate, it is no longer a luxury. However, spikes can make the difference between profitability for a year or a debilitating loss, like the effect Guanggun Jie (Single’s Day in China) had on regional retailers.
The problem is that traditional storage systems, which have been grown organically and in a siloed fashion, often hinder such company-wide strategies. The highly efficient IBM Storwize family changes the status quo, leading to 47% in administrator time savings, up to 30% in reduced complexity, and 99.999% availability. Essentially, it allows retailers to dedicate fewer resources to IT infrastructure—and focus more on attracting customers and building their core business.
3. Buffering up thin margins
Retail customers getting more information-savvy. Small competitors are becoming nimbler. So for retail companies, it is inevitable that margins are only going to get thinner.