The retail industry has and continues to undergo a massive shift in consumer habits. Gone are the days that the only way to purchase was to physically visit a store. Today we can search, compare and buy virtually anything we please – all with a couple of clicks.
This, in turn, generates huge amounts of data, something that only continues to rise as our reliance on cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) increases.
However, this is only one element of the ever-increasing data processing required. In this highly competitive industry, the gathering and interpretation of information from multiple sources is essential for a retailer to remain successful, such as:
Market analysis: Both their own, competitors and potential future market share
Sales: Including those in-store, online, sales funnels, abandoned shopping carts, gross margins, turnover and revenue
Supply chains: From producers to shipping to stock levels and re-ordering needs
Customer promotion: Marketing campaigns, customer behaviours, loyalty, demographics and feedback
This data, and more, is sourced through multiple channels. As advanced technology becomes ever more commonplace, even the smallest of retailers will begin to rely on many different information streams, each of which generates large amounts of data. Examples include:
Voice command shopping
Screen accessed and robotic store assistants
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Transfer of funds
The need for this data to be stored safely, along with fast access and a smooth user process, is essential. As these information requirements increase exponentially, rather than relying on traditional large and expensive data centres or cloud storage options, the new way forward is that of the Micro Data Centre (MDC).
What is a Micro Data Centre?
An MDC is, as the name implies, a smaller data storage solution that uses cutting edge technology to provide robust storage of massive amounts of data. Such a unit has many advantages, including:
Holds huge amounts of data and is scalable as business needs increase
Is far smaller than traditional data storage units – typically the size of a refrigerator
Requires far less cooling – each unit operates independently and doesn’t need a dedicated server room with associated cooling properties
Each unit is fully self-contained, combining robust physical and cyber security elements
Simple and quick to deploy
Cheaper, easier and more efficient than traditional data storage solutions
No specialist knowledge needed to manage and maintain
Quiet running – can be sited anywhere in a business premises
In addition to these advantages, a critical aspect is that MDCs can be located close to the point of data generation. This so-named ‘Edge Computing’ element removes many of the problems that are becoming apparent due to the enormous amounts of data now being generated. Latency is removed, security issues are dramatically reduced and bandwidth is increased. In layman’s terms, this means a far more seamless and instant operating capacity.
Data no longer has to travel to external cloud storage and back, increasing customer and company security, as well as stores having real-time information on customer shopping habits. Store assistants and self-checkouts are two aspects whereby this dramatically elevates customer experience to a far more personal level.
Environmental concerns also play an important part in consumer choice. As the climate crisis continues to accelerate, every business has a responsibility to reduce their carbon emissions. MDCs are the next step to a greener way of information collation and processing. Thanks to far more efficient operation, the use of electricity to keep a single or multiple MDCs within the necessary cool operating temperature is far below that of traditional data storage.
In summary, MDCs offer the next level of server storage that is more efficient, faster, greener, smaller, easier to deploy and more secure than their predecessors.
Don’t get left behind – discover how our Zella Pro micro data centres are the next vital upgrade to successful sales in this cut-throat industry. Get in touch to book a free consultation, visit our retail page, or have a look at our Case Studies.