Retailers should look to cloud for effective systems

More and more consumers are looking online for retail, meaning that working systems are imperative for businesses to get ahead. To get ahead in retail, a cloud computing solution could be beneficial.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of people getting converted to shopping online has been growing over the years. In 2012, 67 per cent of adults bought products online. That's five percentage points up on 2010 and 14 percentage points higher than 2008.

ONS also found online shopping is most popular among people aged between 25 and 34 years old, as 87 per cent of this group shopped online.

While this certainly suggests that having an ecommerce approach makes business sense, it takes more than simply setting up an online shop.

Companies need a solution that delivers products that they know will enhance their consumers' experience as well as one that is faultless.

However they do not need to do this alone, cloud service providers can build solutions to suit both theirs and their customers' demands.

An example of this is when Dot Net Solutions used Microsoft technologies to construct a solution for a global ethical retailer. The company approached Dot Net Solutions, asking for help in overhauling their loyalty system as, at the time, the retailer's systems could not support the volume of traffic expected.

If companies have invested in in-house systems, this does not necessarily mean they have to throw them away. Dot Not Solutions found that a hybrid cloud could integrate the retailer's existing systems with Microsoft Azure technology, AppFabric.

With clients meeting wider audiences, particularly as online retailers tend to be global, it is important that their websites can handle high volumes of visitors and their systems can support large numbers of orders.

Cloud computing is necessary for this, as Dot Net Solutions proved in working with their client. Because the cloud storage can be expanded as and when the business needs it, companies can adapt to the amount of visitors they expect to receive.

Dot Net Solutions' client had all consumer-facing aspects of its services set up in the cloud and integrated with its in-house system. The websites were delivered using Windows Azure, while SQL Azure was used to store data.