The transformative edge of using DevOps in Retail

The popularly quoted by Marc Andreessen “Software is eating the world” is more relevant now than ever. The modern-day adaptation would be “Software ate the world and services (especially next-gen technology) is eating software.” Customer experience trumps everything in Retail. The dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of consumer needs has been key to driving digital transformation across all industries around the world. Retail is one of the major sectors that has embraced digitization to become closer to its consumers, nurture their needs, and keep up with retail trends. 

Where there’s digitization there is thoughtful technological adoption. DevOps has emerged as the most pressing customer-oriented technology adopted by organizations with the retail industry being third in place in the DevOps application market. In India, retail technology supporting the retail sector with services such as digital ledgers, inventory management, payments solutions, and tools for logistics and fulfillment have witnessed a significant growth. But here is what makes DevOps and Retail a perfect match: At the heart of both DevOps and Retail, we will find the most essential human element which is to bridge the gap that allows teams to ship better reliable products. In other words, allowing retail owners to achieve operational excellence and business continuity.

DevOps and Retail: 2 sides of the same coin

Organizations look to differentiate themselves and create customer loyalty by focusing on customer experience and analysing how technology can enable individualized service that can scale to meet demand. Companies are adopting digital transformation strategies to compete and decrease their time to market. It requires persistence to architect such a reliable and robust system.  

Retailers and tech companies are blending DevOps technology with retail processes to enhance customer experiences, personalize interactions throughout the sales funnel and elevate their fulfillment processes to make it all possible, as fast as possible. Automation is the backbone of digital operations. In DevOps, automation is infused in every development stage and in retail automation enables faster efficient workflows at every stage of business using data analytics. 

Let’s understand the fundamentals of how the processes in DevOps and retail can be glued together for retailers to drive ROI:

  1. Current reality – DevOps was born from collaboration between developer and operations teams to ship a qualified code as fast as possible to users. Today, DevOps lifecycle is designed to optimize and ensure the rapid delivery of only high-quality code to the end-clients. How? By increasing the utilization of written code to deliver more valuable and faster features to clients. In retail, almost 50% of inventory items are either not sold or end up being sold at slashed prices. This means retail owners lose revenue compared to the estimated profit. It is important to streamline inventory operations. Why? To enable more sales during the beginning of seasons with better prices, yielding a much better profitability margin. In commonality, we can say the main time to respond to market needs is crucial to build competitive advantage both for software and retail companies.

  2. Reinforcement – One of the most important factors why high-performing companies adopt DevOps is to reduce their Mean Time To Detect and Mean Time To Repair downtimes. A Denial-of-Service of any application results in that many customers lost to the competitor. It is just like in retail, where owners commonly face the problem of not having the right item at the right place. The winning way is to find the best technology for product allocation that can consistently facilitate the production cycle.

  3. DevOps culture – With continuous integration and continuous delivery cycles through agile code mechanisms, automation, and deployments, DevOps ensures a quality product is built. A product that can service faster and save huge technology investment, thus, being cost-effective. A great service, especially, timely and fast service is crucial for retailing as customers that look for a product at one place might find themselves searching at a different store due to unavailability. It is important to continuously monitor customer buying preferences in stores to avoid unavailability of stock and ensure a much better service which eventually translates to higher ROI.

  4. Automation – DevOps’s “Automate Everything” mantra minimizes human intervention. In retail, there’s not enough eyes and time to avoid mistakes or for repetitive manual work that keeps causing errors. This consumes the time retailers need to focus on creativity and improvement. DevOps is about avoiding rework by creating automated gates to release only quality work into production and automating repetitive tasks freeing people’s time for creative work. With integration of DevOps Automation in retail will streamline business decisions based on aggregation and processing of data. Retail companies should have a software in place that focuses on managing the large inventory data and providing insights based on data analysis in a cost-efficient manner.

The power of continuous improvement approach

“Companies are investing in the wrong places or investing too much (or too little) in the right ones. But the fact that high performers exist in every industry indicates that some companies are getting it right.” – The Case for Digital Reinvention, McKinsey  

Companies adopting Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions experience faster workflows and give better customer service. DevOps should be an integral and cultural part of retail enterprises that look to unclog inventory pipelines, efficient inventory management, improve performance, and yield profitability.  

The same applies to the retail industry. With DevOps as a Service increasingly gaining prominence, retailers today have a way to optimize their customer experiences smoothly. They must discover and identify the core of their business and implement the rest as a service. With established next-gen retail innovation built around product and customer centricity, retailers can speed up their production and supply process. All-in-all DevOps in retail has the power to identify transformation objectives, drive retail operations using data, and improve revenue cycles.