Made.com & Smiffy's discuss the role of Cloud Technology with Adapt
Supplied by Adapt
To discuss the developing role that cloud is playing in the retail space, Adapt hosted its first Cloud in Context webinar last month. Moderated by Kevin Linsell, Adapt’s Head of Service Development, the event included insight from Jonathan Howell, CTO, MADE.COM and Darryl Wadhams, IT Manager, RH Smith & Sons (Smiffy’s) who attended as panelists.
The group discussed how cloud computing has allowed them to expand their businesses. Jonathan Howell, CTO, MADE.COM said: “We want to be able to deliver consistency, whilst still being innovative and unique to our online audience”. He continued: “Scalability that can sustain business growth is central to our evolution both now and in the future”.
The panelists also explored the role of cloud computing within the retail sector, with reference to seasonality and demand, considering the role cloud computing has played in driving the sector forward.
From Christmas to Mother’s Day, sunshine to rain, seasonality and events affect retail businesses and their IT requirements.
Jonathan Howell, CTO, MADE.COM said: “January is a peak season for buying furniture... We’ve just come out of the busiest time of the year. We spent a great deal of time preparing for that; getting the architecture right, getting decent caching in place for everything that could possibly be cached, getting monitoring in place so we could find out which parts of our application [needed to be] optimise[d].
"This year, our intensive marketing push led to a huge amount of traffic… At peak times we were pushing almost 1GB [of data] through our firewall... We won’t see this kind of traffic again until the summer. But monitoring is a key part of dealing with this seasonality”.
Darryl Wadhams, IT Manager, Smiffy’s said: “We have multiple spikes in business activity throughout the year; we can see 60 perfect increases in business activity normally at Halloween and Christmas… cloud servers allow us to handle these spikes… The internet has changed the way people work, think and share information, it is therefore critical that we keep up with it”.
He added: “Omni channel communications is vitally important to our business communications”. He continued: “We’re engaging with our customers on multiple platforms to understand their needs better – this helps us with targeted marketing”.
The webinar concluded with a Q & A from the audience, which revealed that the outsourcing of IT and location aware marketing will be a key focus for many retailers going forward.
Overall, the retailers agreed there is a huge potential for cloud computing within the sector. Howell, MADE.COM, said: “Technology has been a core development of [many retailers]” he continued “there has simply been a change in focus of the technology.” With this in mind, the retailers suggested they will stay up to date, be it wearable technology or transactional apps to help develop and sustain their businesses in the future.
To watch the webinar on demand, please visit: http://www.adapt.com/whats-new/events/
Adapt is an award-winning, end-to-end managed services provider. It helps customers make the transition to highly secure, scalable, enterprise-class IT that delivers real-world advantage, enabling change and innovation.
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Pandora and IBM digitise jewellery supply chain
Pandora has overhauled its global supply chain in partnership with IBM amid an ecommerce sales boom for its hand-finished jewellery.
The company found international success offering customisable charm bracelets and other personalised jewellery though its chain of bricks and mortar retail destinations. But in 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak forced physical stores to close, Pandora strengthened its omnichannel operations and doubled online sales.
A focus on customer experience included deploying IBM’s Sterling Order Management, increasing supply chain resiliency and safeguarding against disruption across the global value chain.
Pandora leverages IBM Sterling Order Management as the backbone it its omnichannel fulfilment, with Salesforce Commerce Cloud powering its ecommerce. Greater automation across its channels has boosted the jeweller’s sustainability credentials, IBM said, streamlining processes for more efficient delivery. It has also given in-store staff and virtual customer service representatives superior end-to-end visibility to better meet consumer needs.
Jim Cruickshank, VP of Digital Development & Retail Technology, Pandora, said the digital transformation journey has brought “digital and store technology closer together and closer to the customer”, highlighting how important the customer journey remains, even during unprecedented disruption.
"Our mission is about creating a personal experience and we've instituted massive platform changes with IBM Sterling and Salesforce to enable new digital-first capabilities that are much more individualised, localised and connected across channels and markets,” he added.
Pandora’s pivot to digital
The pandemic forced the doors closed at most of Pandora’s 2,700 retail locations. To remain competitive, it pivoted to online retail. Virtual queuing for stores and virtual product trials via augmented reality (AR) technology went someway to emulating the in-store experience and retail theatre that is the brand’s hallmark. Meanwhile digital investments in supply chain efficiency was central to delivering on consumer demand.
“Consumer behaviour has significantly shifted and will continue to evolve with businesses needing to quickly adapt to new preferences and needs,” said Kareem Yusuf, General Manager, AI Applications and Blockchain, IBM. “To address this shift, leading retailers like Pandora rely on innovation to increase their business agility by enabling and scaling sustainable supply chain operations using AI and cloud.”
Yusuf said Pandora’s success was indicative of how to remain competitive by “finding new ways to create differentiated customer experiences that protect their enterprises from disruptions to help mitigate risk and accelerate growth”.