The holiday season is the time of the year in which consumers let their guard down and are more willing to spend and shop, online. Gifts, decorations, and food items for social gatherings are purchased via the Internet; this is good news for many e-commerce-based businesses that rely on this time of the year to meet sales targets. U.S.-based online retail store sales tend to go up during the year’s busiest shopping season, between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Deloitte (News - Alert)'s 28th annual survey of holiday spending intentions and trends indicates an increase in consumer spending, for the first time in its 15 years; this intensified willingness of potential customers to spend more, is probably also fueled by the ease with which shopping is now possible. The availability of shopping apps and online shopping sites makes hunting for bargain deals very easy for consumers, without the need to fight the crowds at stores, using their PC or smart mobile device (SMD).
A Web site without errors, quick to load, professional looking and safe to browse is the minimum requirement for businesses to attract potential customers. Small businesses, especially, need to be extremely attentive to their online image to compete on the market.
A tool that SMBs can now exploit is the cloud; this is no longer a solution apt for large businesses but can also be invaluable for smaller companies to manage the back-end operations especially in periods where sales pick up dramatically.
As most consumers are likely to turn to the Internet to shop (as nearly 47 percent of consumers are said to be planning to purchase items online) and to find information on stores and services, it is important that the mobile presence of any business is impeccable and the consumers' shopping experience is seamless and efficient.
The scalability of cloud services can become particularly handy in times where increased business demands an increase in resources. The need for more RAM (News - Alert), hard disk space or other technical requirements can be met by purchasing additional services from cloud providers on a temporary basis. This flexibility allows business not to incur unnecessary expenses in times where demands are lower and to meet the expectations of customers in high sales seasons.
This is actually a lucrative market for cloud providers too. In fact, many companies are selling SMBs plans that allow for full flexibility with the possibility to scale up and down according to the business volumes handled. Some plans even allow businesses that only operate for certain months of the year to freeze their accounts (and data) in the periods they are closed, at virtually no cost.
In addition to flexibility, another important feature of cloud computing is availability. As data can be stored on cloud servers, it can be available virtually from anywhere. SMBs with personnel on the road can highly benefit from cloud computing services as employees and managers can always gain access information at any time to provide better customer service or for quick decision-making.
Collaboration is also possible thanks to the cloud, with the possibility of having several people work on resolving issues (for the business or for customers) or on producing documents wherever they are located.Another important feature of cloud computing is security. SMBs especially have much to lose if an attack is perpetrated against a server or if data is lost to a technical glitch. Cloud providers can offer solutions for security and data backup that can give managers peace of mind without the additional costs of having to have IT security staff on board or having to worry about backups themselves.
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