For a modern business enterprise, to remain competitive in the global marketplace, managers need to pay attention to the changing trend in consumer demands. In these new times, customers focus on the speed, quality, and availability of content, which persists relevant for the sales industry as well. The Internet is becoming a platform that allows the company to significantly increase its commercial potential and value both in the eyes of competitors and consumers. There is no doubt that a small company engaged in selling consumer products has the risk of going unnoticed if it is not sufficiently integrated into the technological world. Given the above, it seems evident that the designer clothing store described in this case study should strengthen its presence on the Web. In particular, the manager’s central objective is to stimulate the company’s growth by introducing new technological solutions to increase customer loyalty.
To realize the given problem, it is expedient to use two technological alternatives at once: cloud computing and solutions for business analytics and business intelligence. The given a choice is dictated at once by two factors. It is necessary to admit that the described shop is a small business that has limited resources and, consequently, should be aimed at the achievement of a positive result. For this purpose, the company effectively invest in cloud computing, as this model guarantees careful processing of data and their storage on servers. On the other hand, at the initial stages of the introduction of new company projects, it is necessary to trace their productivity both on the client and in comparison with competitors. Business analytics tools are suitable for these purposes, which imply research of important microeconomic parameters of an enterprise and assessment of its feasibility. In other words, the primary purpose of business analytics and intelligence is to strategically plan the development of the company and track the results of decisions taken.
Within the framework of this project, it is proposed to solve the problem of the development of a small designer clothes store through active integration into the Internet. The enterprise, following the established principles and rules described in this work, has the potential to significantly increase its competitiveness and loyalty in the eyes of consumers. To solve this problem, it is necessary to answer the following tasks consistently:
- Discuss the importance of such technological changes;
- Demonstrate the mechanism of cloud computing;
- Demonstrate the mechanism of business analysis and intelligence tools;
- Learn the use of two technology solutions in a competitive business environment.
It is of primary importance for this project to demonstrate the need for organizational change in general. It should be recognized that staying at the same level as now, the clothing store is unlikely to find sufficient popularity among customers. This is due to the fact that the current website is almost impossible to order products that are sold in the offline shop. To eliminate this problem, the company’s management should look at the proposed two technological solutions and gradually introduce them. Furthermore, it should be said that the implementation requires significant financial and time resources, and hence, the company must develop a strategic plan for changes that assess the progress of work in the interim stages.
The final result of the successful use of technological solutions will be an increase in the index of recognition, popularity, and loyalty of the company’s customers. The store, which is actively present on the Internet and offers its users extensive opportunities for convenient online shopping, has all chances to become a commercially successful project. As a result, a small shop after implementing the proposed technologies will be a financially successful company with a severe advantage over customers. The reasons described above seem to be sufficiently reliable for the business manager to make a favorable decision about organizational changes.
It would be wrong to think that cloud computing and business analytics used in this company would have a strictly one-sided effect. On the contrary, only due to the complexity of measures implied by the introduction of these technologies will the company be able to achieve positive growth results. Nevertheless, the choice of precisely two options was not made intuitively: several requirements were imposed on the technologies under discussion. In particular, the proposed solutions should, first of all, address the problem of growth in the online environment by integrating online shopping. Moreover, the introduction of changes should make the store more customer-oriented than it used to be. This requirement is solved by using cloud computing algorithms aimed at creating a virtual user profile (Reyes, 2018). As a result, the website will offer the customer certain products that are most relevant to them. As a continuation of the topic of interaction with customers, technologies must provide data on order status, payment results, and delivery terms.
Obviously, technology will work with users’ personal information, including credit card numbers, shipping addresses, and phone numbers. For this reason, it is necessary to ensure complete security of their storage and processing through, for example, dual encryption (Dzioba, 2019). Adequate use of resources is known to be valuable in stores, so cloud computing, along with analytics, should offer the manager a mechanism for evaluating product stocks and purchasing them. Moreover, the solutions should solve the problem of communication both within the corporate network and with customers. Changes must be evaluated and checked for value for money, so strict accountability and analytical work is required. Finally, technology should not be expensive enough for small businesses to be able to implement it.
Competitors and Technology
As it is known, Zappos is a major online store with a 20-year history, recognized for its extensive use of Internet technology to attract and retain customers. The company’s commercial success attracted the giant Amazon, and then the conglomerate bought a controlling stake in the online store. As a result, Zappos has become a product of Amazon, which means it can use its own hosted AWS servers for cloud computing (Raineri, 2019). It should be admitted that this fact helped the company to change its search technologies significantly. Based on machine learning, which is part of cloud computing, the company offers specific clothing sizes and flexible, adaptive product search to clients (“Zappos creates,” 2020). This becomes a significant advantage for Zappos, as one of the most frequent customer problems is the mismatch of the size of the selected product. As a result, by implementing cloud technology from AWS, Zappos is able to achieve competitiveness and customer recognition.
Solutions for Business Analytics and Business Intelligence
Kohl’s is the largest U.S. retail chain with branches in each of the continent’s states. It is worth admitting that this is a reasonably well-known and prestigious business, in the showcases of which one can often find designer clothing lines from celebrities. However, ordinary citizens can also buy in Kohl’s; especially, the company actively uses business analytics to create a portrait of customers. As it is known, this technology means the use of retrospective or current data for monitoring and further intelligent decision-making in business management. According to Binns (2017), Kohl’s widely uses this concept that it called Actionable Analytics Kohl’s. Thus, it is an innovative technology that allows a company to track breaches in-store functionality and profitability and change its positioning strategies based on local customer data (Milnes, 2018). Moreover, the use of this technology helps branch managers to estimate how many employees must be in the hall at a particular time of day, so as not to create an oversupply and to give attention to each customer. There is no doubt that this model of business analytics gives Kohl’s preferential rights over market competitors.
As shown in the sections above, Zappos has successfully managed to expand and develop the store by stimulating online shopping. Users who are worried about choosing the right size clothes can use a friendly interface, behind which there is cloud computing. Consequently, every customer who makes a payment on the site can be sure of the quality and conformity of the product. This technology can also be applied to the business studied in this case study. If the designer shop decides to implement this technology, he will not be a pioneer but can rise to the level of stores that already use these solutions. The result of this practice will be a rapid increase in the popularity of the store among consumers, and if the company will continue technological development, customer retention.
The use of cloud computing will have a positive impact on the company’s development, as it will be able to meet 10/10 of the requirements for the technology. In particular, cloud computing makes it much easier to integrate online shopping compared to local networks by reducing the load on the company’s servers. Moreover, through computing, the design store will be able to create a virtual architecture where employees can communicate remotely, and the customer can access the website 24 hours a day to make purchases. As shown in Table 1, cloud computing meets the other requirements that the technology solution is being asked to meet.
Solutions for Business Analytics and Business Intelligence
On the other hand, business analytics also has the potential to help in the implementation of the set tasks. Through the implementation of mechanisms of analytical research of client, market, and competitive data, the company will be able to cover 8 out of 10 requirements, as shown in Table 1. Thus, it is necessary to consider that standard models of data processing do not always provide their protection, therefore often, the companies either buy separate software or pay a higher price for a more reliable variant. In addition, due to the narrow ideation of the mechanism, business analytics does not allow the creation of a portal for virtual interaction of stakeholders. In other words, clients and employees within the analytics tool cannot communicate; however, interaction can be indirect. Thus, evaluating client traffic during the day, a manager can create more comfortable conditions for customers.
Based on the above arguments and the example studied, and given that the designer shop is a small business with limited resources, it should pay attention to cloud computing. This choice will allow for a more robust Internet presence in the first place, and when some success is achieved, other solutions can be implemented.
Currently, the designer shop does not have a severe website that allows for making purchases. Cloud computing will significantly expand the potential of the company without loading its servers. As a result, customers will be able to have a positive experience of interaction with the site, as it will give a quick and affordable search for products. Moreover, modification of the system will allow introducing technologies of a smart selection of products and sizes. This is also relevant for the future when the business will be scalable, and it will need to have significant computing resources to maintain the site’s performance.
Basic Security Considerations
This project should demonstrate the confidentiality and anonymity of the collected data and ensure their safe storage. Leaks of information caused by both software hacking and social engineering should be eliminated.
Key elements in selecting a third-party service provider should include security levels, data protection mechanisms, clients’ feedback, and the latest news on leaks from the provider’s server.
The company signs a service contract with a technology provider, which specifies the parties’ liability in case of data leakage or hacking. Inside the store, employees are obliged not to disclose trade secrets, give out access keys to third parties, and to check the security of the local computer thoroughly.
Binns, J. (2017). How Kohl’s turns customer insights into bottom-line results. Web.
Dzioba, C. (2019). Dual encryption matters. Web.
Milnes, H. (2018). Kohl’s is improving store performance by equipping managers with real-time customer data. Web.
Raineri, S. (2019). Zappos embraces digital tech, customer service for success. Web.
Reyes, J. (2018). 7 types of product recommendation engines your e-commerce store needs. Web.
Table 1. The decision matrix table for two technological alternatives.
|Factor||Cloud computing||Business analytics and intelligence|
|Expanding in online environment||1||1|
|Granting order status||1||1|
|Facilitation of cooperation||1||0|
|Client profile creation||1||1|
|Confidentiality of data||1||0|
|Relatively Low cost||1||1|