How to Move Your Retail Business to the Cloud

Even though it’s 2019, many businesses (especially smaller ones) still take an old-school approach when it comes to running their operations. And while the “pen and paper approach” works when you’re just starting out, it’s not the most optimal solution out there.

This is particularly true in the retail sector. As consumers become more accustomed to digital tools, you, the retailer, must learn to keep up. Clunky cash registers, paper receipts, and physical rewards cards are on their way out and being replaced by sleeker and more efficient cloud-based solutions.

Why Is the Cloud Becoming So Popular?

It’s been over a decade since the cloud started gaining prominence in the business sphere. That trend hasn’t slowed down – despite some claims it was a passing fad, the numbers say otherwise.

A Microsoft SMB study says 78 percent of small businesses will adapt to cloud computing by 2020. Seeing as that’s just around the corner, the race is on.

The cloud has proven to be a robust storage and data management tool that companies can use to save valuable resources. These resources include:

  • Time: Taking the paper aspect out of data management makes it easier to organize and retrieve the important data you need.
  • Money: Better organization of data means greater efficiency and fewer errors. This translates to a stronger bottom line.
  • Labor: With less of a focus on filling out and storing paper, the company’s workforce can dedicate more focus to other tasks.

As we can see, there are plenty of benefits to moving to the cloud. That’s why if you’re still using manual and cumbersome processes in your retail biz, it’s high time to make the move.

The best starting point is with your point of sale system. A cloud-based POS solution can improve the checkout experience, streamline your operations, and save you time and money. Read on to learn more about the steps you should take when converting to a cloud-based system.

3 Steps to Moving Your Business and POS System to the Cloud

You may want your entire POS system to work on the cloud so you can enjoy all the benefits of a more flexible workflow. Combine that with the benefit of going paperless in your data management, and the cloud can completely change your workplace.

Here are some basic beginner’s steps to moving your company’s data and even your critical systems to the cloud.

1. Set Goals & Learn The Language

This first step is a dual commitment, primarily because both points go together. First off, you’ll need to know exactly what it is you want out of the cloud. How much data do you want to move there? Do you want to use it as a storage drive, or a SaaS-style portal from which daily operations can be done?

Once you have your goals in mind, make sure you understand the broad vernacular the cloud offers. This helps you better develop your ideas and communicate them to both a cloud provider and to your team.

If you’re confused on how to get caught up on cloud jargon, there are plenty of handy resources out there like the mini-glossary from TechRepublic or this in-depth database from Techopedia. Once you have the terminology down, implementing the cloud becomes much easier.

2. Handle The Change In Segments

One of the best ways to make sure your jump to the cloud goes smoothly is to do it in parts. Start small, by moving small databases of files to the cloud for simple tasks like data storage, organization, and retrieval.

You can even move on to more complex tasks like moving entire programs to the cloud with a hybrid approach. Keep some parts on in-house drives and standard storage solutions, at least for the interim if necessary.

Managing your jump to the cloud by segmenting the journey also gives your team time to adapt to the changes.

Another approach is to test out different cloud solutions. Most providers offer free trial periods, which you can use to test drive the system. One thing you could do is run your new POS alongside your old system, and once you’re comfortable making the switch, you make the full move.

3. Use Training & Support At Every Step

A big switch requires a training commitment to match. When you’re ditching pen and paper for the cloud, you need to make sure everyone knows what’s going on.

Training programs and support forums are a great way to help usher in a big evolution in the workplace. It’s also handy for making sure you choose the right cloud provider. You can technically engage in training and research before you even start moving files to the cloud.

This could be lumped back in with the number one entry – when you research terminology and ideas, you can research cloud providers to make sure you choose the right one. It shows how training can be used at every step of the process, and that implementing technologies like this is more about going through a cycle than up a ladder.

Pro tip: See if your cloud solution provider offers and educational and support initiatives. Most vendors (the good ones, anyway) provide customer success reps and resources to ensure that you have all the info you need to succeed.

Choosing the Right Cloud Service for Best Results

When moving to a cloud-based solution for your company and your POS system, how do you know if you’re choosing the right one?

The key is to understand exactly what features you need in a cloud. Do you have any special security requirements? Do you need a platform that is optimized for both desktop and mobile? Are there any storage limitations on your cloud prospects that could inhibit you? Can you upgrade for more storage?

These are just some of the important questions to consider. The key is not only doing your research but also making sure you know exactly what your business needs in a cloud solution.

Every organization is different, and even if you’re a small business, you need to find a cloud option that will help grow your organization.

When you work with pencil and paper, you’re not working as efficiently as you could be. Try the cloud and enjoy all the benefits that come with a modern business solution for companies of all sizes.