Cloud-based IT systems that provide access to core business applications through the web have become a priority for many retailers. These systems offer merchants the flexibility needed to respond quickly and effectively to ever-changing market needs.
Design Within Reach, an omnichannel merchant of high-end furniture and accessories, is partnering with NetSuite to implement an advanced Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) architecture, new business management capabilities and mobile access for internal users.
“Moving to the cloud is huge for us,” said Bethany Kemp, VP of Technology and Information Systems, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “As the retail environment and marketplace keep changing, we need the system flexibility and adaptability that allow us to keep moving forward.”
Kemp added that in order to gain the best market position, “we must be able to make system modifications quickly and reliably. At last, we’ll no longer have to worry about manual infrastructure management and the unforeseen problems that changes to our old system had on basic operations.”
With an SaaS environment, Design Within Reach can seamlessly access new functionality as NetSuite builds it in, Kemp explained. The retailer also will be equipped to “quickly make custom field and workflow changes based on our own new ideas.” Over time, the NetSuite cloud architecture will scale in parallel with the retailer’s growth and system needs.
All companies must “define and embrace what gives them a competitive advantage,” Kemp said. “For us, it’s cloud flexibility.”
Mobile access to enterprise data will be “huge,” Kemp explained. Because the retailer’s corporate and sales employees have become more mobile, getting off-site information from the outdated system required “a difficult methodology. A cloud solution allows on-the-go users to still get the information they need.”
In addition, when customers walk into a Design Within Reach studio, “our associates will be walking around with iPads,” Kemp explained, “and will be able to retrieve all the assistance they need to close the sale without having to return to their desks.”
The impact of a flexible, stable cloud-based IT system — and the benefits of mobile access to customer and product information — will become more pronounced as Design Within Reach introduces more and larger stores in current and overseas markets.