Why nex-gen e-commerce technology is happening in the cloud
Very few new software solutions coming to market at present rely solely on installations onto each user’s desktop or mobile device.
Although there are plenty of products out there that enable this to happen via automated scripting routines, pushing installations out to every networked client, their use is becoming less common.
Instead, many enterprises are using cloud-based software as a solution to the problems encountered during local install processes. These include the cost benefits cloud solutions tend to be pay-as-you-use, not up-front license purchase but also the overheads of software maintenance, version patching, security and data security all being handled by the cloud provider. That leaves the users to get on with their jobs, and the foundational maintenance and oversight become the responsibility of the cloud supplier.
Some solutions in specific verticals have only relatively recently made the transition to be cloud-based. These tended to be in areas where data governance was of paramount importance, and/or where user reticence about the cloud made local installation more attractive. One thinks immediately of financial packages, or software designed to handle very sensitive information such as in healthcare settings.
But even these edge-case verticals are moving their apps and services to the cloud. That’s in part thanks to greater public acceptance of the cloud model, but also the fact that the big cloud providers have proven their efficacy and security standards. That’s certainly the case for e-commerce platform providers, where the new-generation of platforms are cloud-first, or even cloud-only. So, what are the cloud’s advantages when it comes to e-commerce deployment?
1. Scalability and speed.
Locally-installed e-commerce facilities lack the type of elasticity that the modern retailer requires. With massive peaks and troughs in demand appearing minutes apart, the current vogue among consumers is for limited product “drops”, flash sales, fast discounts and seasonal promotions.
Cloud providers can furnish even smaller retailers with the capacity to cope with sudden peaks in demand, without the retailer having to pay for high-tier services the whole year-round.
And with that scalability comes speed. As soon as e-commerce facilities slow down (perhaps at peak demand times), the tendency is for massive spikes in cart abandonment. In truth, competing products are only a click or two away, and the always-on mentality means people are impatient for results— watching progress bars crawl isn’t the best experience to give customers!
2. Stable and secure
In a world of global business, most companies need to consider the geographic placement of consumers and suppliers as mostly irrelevant. A customer in Vietnam has exactly the same importance as one in New York City, and the e-commerce platform underpinning a store must accommodate that.
While there’s no difference to the cart algorithms where a consumer is, there are enormous ramifications for data security and governance. Customers from Europe, California, Australia and Singapore hold data that must be held and treated in specific ways. And there are many dozens of similar cases, from territory to territory and these governance procedures can change daily.
The headaches of data security and compliance are therefore another problem that can be gratefully passed to the cloud supplier, and the retailer can get on with the specific business of purchase, fulfilment, delivery and customer service. That sort of capability has transformed multiple markets, allowing disruptive new players to challenge the like of Rakuten, Tencent, Amazon and Alibaba.
Keeping an agile footing in business is a primary goal. And cloud providers, whose business model is not one of “one size fits all” provide the sort of platform that will allow a massive change in adoption models of their solutions.
E-commerce facilities based in the cloud let companies experiment quickly with new markets, apply new pricing structures and models (purchase vs. subscription, for example) and generally be the type of agile business that can seek out and exploit a market niche in minutes not months.