Hi, my name is Lindsey and I am a shopping addict. I love the thrill of a deal and coming home with new things. I love the quick pace of the industry, how much change happens in it, and the therapy of spending a day buying. So I got to thinking, which technology would enable retailers to become more agile and efficient? Why, none other than one of my favorite technologies, cloud computing.

Here are three reasons why cloud computing in retail is a win:

1. A Mobile Point of Sale Experience

Have you ever been to a J. Crew store? They’re overstaffed with sales people on the floor who are persistently helpful and go out of their way to ensure you have a pleasant customer experience. However, during a busy day, I’ve found they’re always understaffed at the register. Now most of their stores have the square footage to frictionless accommodate both line-goers and shoppers perusing around the accessories.

Cloud Computing In RetailImagine if those smiling sales clerks were equipped with a mobile device like an iPad and as soon as you confirm you like the style and size of that fabulous dress (last in your size!), you hand it over the door with your credit card. Then, while you dress they check you out right there, handing your bagged purchase over; thus avoiding the terrible drama of the line experience.

The mobile PoS information would be transmitted quickly to your database where your headquarters could immediately begin updating the inventory for the store. And you would be a happy customer on your way to boast about how easy your shopping trip was.

2. A Simpler IT Infrastructure

Running a retail business isn’t easy, but neither is running a retailer’s database. And according to an IBM White Paper, “Cloud Computing for Retail“, retailers are always looking to innovate and add layers of capabilities on, making for a complex IT infrastructure.

Although retailers have the lowest IT budgets of all the major industries, 70% of it is spent maintaining the current state, and that’s not including your annual operational costs like power and cooling.

By moving to the cloud, retailers can significantly reduce spending because they’ll no longer have to pay the money for server maintenance, IT labor, data center space and electricity costs. Freeing up that budget to may open a new store, hire a few employees, or just focus on the business at hand.

3. Manage Spikes in Demand

Retailers aren’t very resourceful with only 5 to 15% of their computing capacity utilized during a regular day. But they must have that extra space to help manage the holiday demands.

Public and hybrid clouds directly combat this issue, enabling retailers to manage the spike in activity without sacrificing customer experience or distracting them from what’s really the issue, trying to find a size small amongst a mess of sweaters during a 50% off sale. Trust me, I’ve been there and it’s bad.