12 May

Retailers Are Ascending to the Cloud

File storage used to be relegated to an old metal filing cabinet crammed full of precious business documents. For some, it still is.

At a minimum, retailers are required to keep receipts, vendor invoices and payroll records. While there’s nothing wrong with storing the original documents on-site or in a secure location, finding things this way takes time, even if they’re well organized.

Now that POS systems have replaced the cash register, all transactions must be recorded and stored in a way that complies with local and federal laws. These computer-based systems make cloud storage an optimal solution since they can be synced and records can be automatically uploaded and stored in one place.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the cloud storage systems retailers are using to manage their businesses:


Google for Work

Google offers several products that work well for retailers. Google BigQuery lets them analyze sales at the SKU level, so they know exactly which products to stock. Unlike traditional inventory systems that only store information, Google BigQuery processes data in real-time to perform a detailed analysis of sales. This enables retailers to decide which products to order more of and which ones to discontinue. 

Google Maps lets business owners create indoor maps of their store so their customers can find exactly what they’re looking for. Unlike a physical map, customers can use Google Maps on their smartphones from any part of the store. This means they no longer have to find a physical map at the front of the store and remember where every item on their list is or have to stop and ask an associate for help.



The National Retail Federation praised Dropbox for its constant improvements to its business services. The article provides two examples of retail businesses that have embraced the cloud solution.

The fashion powerhouse BCBG Max Azaria uses the service to share documents between its 19,000 employees spread across 550 locations. In the past, BCBG designers had to use email, secure FTP, CDs and DVDs to send files to each other and they would print out photos from every photo shoot. Now, its designers share the photos through Dropbox, so those who need access have it from any location. It also saves the company money because it does not have to pay an IT administrator to manage the service. 

The other example is watch retailer Citizen Watch Company. It used Dropbox to collaborate with vendors and contractors during the construction of its flagship store in New York City. VP of Retail Robin Kurkhill was pleased with the ease of file sharing as well as the ability for people to comment on the files via a Dropbox link.

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