This blog was co-authored with Nicole Champion.
In the wake of the pandemic and COVID-19 shutdowns, retailers have seen a dramatic shift in consumer shopping behavior amid stay-at-home orders. The latest data from McKinsey predicts that many of these changes might endure beyond the pandemic. Online shopping has increased across all major categories, while consumer loyalty is rapidly shifting as consumers explore new product brands. The face of grocery shopping has changed. During store shortages, many customers discovered store-owned brands or private labels. 61% of consumers that discovered new brands now plan to include them as they shop in the future.
Retail is predicted to experience a slow recovery as consumer spending continues to contract and consumers remain price-sensitive, cutting back on non-essential purchases. Research from the World Data Lab indicates that it might take until 2022 for United States personal consumption expenditures to exceed 2019 levels. Globally, it might take more than five years for some economies to recover.
The shopper journey is more complex, and consumers are in the driver’s seat. Their expectations and demands have put massive pressure on retailers and the technology they have in place today. To remain competitive in the New Next and stay relevant with consumers, retailers are quickly pivoting to digital capabilities that deliver seamless omnichannel experiences and meet shoppers’ needs. Retailers need to reallocate financial and human resources to digital innovation while ensuring that mission-critical backend applications deliver on current business needs.
Although the adoption of digital has accelerated, many retailers are still under pressure to protect margins and continue to innovate within a flat budget. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) provides retailers with a next-generation cloud infrastructure that serves as a foundation to deliver on these digital capabilities. For retailers looking to adopt a cloud-first strategy, OCI provides retailers an easy entry point to modernize IT operations and cut costs.
Oracle brings its deep expertise in retail solutions, enterprise applications, and data science with the most modern, performant cloud infrastructure and platform services to partner on your unique transformation journey. We offer a comprehensive cloud ecosystem to drive retail transformation: applications ranging from engaging customers to financial reporting, top-ranked integration cloud service for automation, and a data management and analytics platform tailored for retail. Finally, Oracle also provides an open source Data Science platform and GPU infrastructure for artificial intelligence and machine learning applications, such as loss and theft prevention, visual search, recommendation engines, and smart forecasting.
OCI also runs Oracle Integration Cloud, a leader in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service. Oracle Integration Cloud provides a range of out-of-the-box adapters to not only integrate applications (both Oracle and non-Oracle apps, such as SAP, SalesForce, and Workday), but also to connect with Oracle’s Analytics, Digital Assistants, Internet of Things, and Blockchain Cloud services.
In fast-changing and highly competitive markets such as retail, data-driven decision-making has shown to increase revenue while improving profitability. Most of today’s analytics are siloed at a departmental level, and the decisions are not optimized based on enterprise-wide data. Furthermore, access to relevant, consistent data continues to be a challenge, with companies having a hodge-podge of analytics solutions. Retailers are looking for faster time-to-value solutions to transform their analytics capabilities. See how FedEx has taken bold steps to gain efficiency and has over 3,000 employees who are now using Oracle Analytics Cloud for data-driven decision making and access to AI, machine learning, and service automation.
To jump-start your data and analytics transformation, we provide a complimentary analytics starter kit designed for end-to-end retail operations. This kit includes prebuilt, customizable, and extendable reports on Oracle analytics cloud and an industry retail data model on Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse. Oracle Analytics Cloud offers data visualization, enterprise reporting, scenario modeling, and mobile analytics in the cloud, on-premises, or through a hybrid model.
Oracle Analytics Cloud is application-agnostic and embedded with machine learning intelligence, which helps retailers analyze data across their organization and make smarter, more informed decisions faster.
After evaluating Oracle alongside Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google, and IBM, Körber moved its warehouse management platform onto OCI, lowering costs by 25% and improving performance by 40%. OCI is available in 29 regions, with plans to add another nine regions by the end of 2021. Oracle is pursuing an in-country disaster recovery strategy for data centers to be closer to the customers and account for data privacy laws. This global footprint provides Körber with flexibility and scalability to support their customers worldwide.
Innovative startups, such as Snap Vision, are helping retailers improve customer engagement and conversion rates on their digital channels through visual search technologies. Oracle Kubernetes Engine (OKE) and GPU infrastructure for AI and machine learning workloads allow Snap Vision to deliver rapid visual research results to customers. Their migration to OCI has saved 40% in hosting costs and improved DevOps through reduced deployment times by 4–5 times.
Migrating enterprise workloads to the cloud remains a challenge for the vast majority of retailers. The current cloud solutions lack both the consistency of service performance and database throughput to effectively support retail e-commerce applications. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure combines the elasticity and utility of the public cloud with the control, security, performance, and predictability of on-premises computing environments. Virtual cloud networks can include single-tenant, high-performance, bare-metal servers that run on x86 machines. A cloud migration is akin to a hardware refresh at your data centers: you don’t need a hypervisor or other proprietary APIs that other cloud providers rely on. Similarly, OCI supports an open source, cloud native approach that allows for a seamless roll-over of apps.
Hear from retailers that are increasing their pace of innovation and maximizing their IT spend:
7-Eleven, the iconic global convenience store chain, consolidated production and disaster recovery (DR) for Oracle E-Business Suite and experienced a 30-times performance increase versus on-premises. They set up a disaster environment in the cloud for a mission-critical application in less than 16 weeks.
Landmark Group, a multinational retailer in the Middle East and India, was looking to implement a cloud-first strategy to drive business growth. They migrated numerous mission-critical applications, including Oracle Retail Merchandising, Point of Service, and E-Business Suite onto OCI, and they anticipate a 20% cost savings over five years. Learn about architecting Retail applications on Oracle Cloud.
Ananta Apparels, part of $300 million Bangladesh-based conglomerate Ananta Group and the country’s leading garment exporter, needed a more flexible and scalable cloud-based solution for operating their ERP system: Oracle E-Business Suite. With the freedom to pay per use, they anticipate reducing CAPEX by 40–50%. Learn why Oracle applications run best on Oracle Cloud.
Lastly, Oracle is the only cloud provider that delivers a fully featured public cloud and Oracle Fusion SaaS applications in customer data centers through our Dedicated Region Cloud@Customer. Retailers can meet data residency and latency demands, seamlessly migrate workloads and consolidate on a single platform to dramatically improve TCO without requiring rearchitecture.
Oracle is here to meet retailers on their journey to the cloud and provide superior cloud economics. OCI might be a potential fit if you fit the following criteria:
You’re early in your cloud journey and want a partner with end-to-end capabilities.
You’re facing challenges both cost and technical in executing your current strategy.
You’re looking for a faster, low-risk path to getting out of data centers.
You have workloads that you can’t migrate with your current cloud provider.
You’re looking for a better performing and lower cost IaaS alternative for artificial intelligence or machine learning applications.
Check out the cloud essentials guide to learn more about the high performance, scale, availability, and security experienced by companies running mission-critical workloads on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.
Ready to scale operations and move workload infrastructures to the cloud? Try Oracle Cloud Free Tier and access a 30-day free trial, which includes US$300 in free credits to get started with a range of services, including compute, storage, and networking.
Guru Sulibhavi is a Principal Product Manager in Oracle's Cloud Solutions engineering team.