The latest findings by research firm Canalys state that Google Cloud is the top Cloud Service Provider (CSP) for the retail sector. In the latest research from its cloud channels analysis service, the company put Google ahead of Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. Other than the three CSPs mentioned earlier, Alibaba Cloud and IBM competed for the top 5 spots.
This is good news for Google Cloud Platform because, after some momentum in 2019, it finished at a distant third behind Amazon and Microsoft in the public cloud infrastructure market.
Although Canalys didn’t release the numbers behind the research, it did set the general market positions in the retail sector wherein Microsoft finished second, AWS third, followed by Alibaba and IBM at fourth and fifth spots, respectively.
It is no mere coincidence that Google surpassed others. Many retailers don’t want to use AWS cloud for their data, as Amazon.com is a direct competitor of these retailers.
Canalys mentioned Google’s strengths in advertising and search, their aggressive hiring in the sector, and establishing Global Systems Integrator partnerships for broader reach. Retail, along with healthcare and finance, is one among three industries prioritized by Google Cloud — as noted by Thomas Kurian at Google Cloud NEXT in April 2019.
The public Cloud provider had announced major updates at their major retail event National Retail Federation (NRF), at the start of 2020. These updates included a retail-specific search and BigQuery model builds, which would be a wider extension of its Retail Acceleration Program (RAP).
There is a long list of customers that helped Google attain the top spot in this study. Some of the big names are Kohl’s in the US, Carrefour in France, and Sainsbury’s in the UK. Moreover, the partnership with Lowe’s and Wayfair was also extended at NRF.
Byron Deeter of Bessemer Venture Partners told CNBC that the rise in cloud services as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been widely covered. He added that the pandemic has heralded an ‘iPhone moment’ for cloud software. Retail – at least in terms of footfall – was understandably badly hit by the lockdown.
Alex Smith, Canalys Senior Director, says that the Amazon effect combined with the pandemic and other technological factors has worked in Google’s favor, at least in the retail sector. “Now more than ever, retailers need a digital strategy to win in an omnichannel world, especially with Amazon’s online dominance. Digital is applied everywhere from customer experience to cost optimization, and the overall technological capability of a retailer is what will define its success,” he said.
Blake Murray, Canalys Research Analyst, said, “retailers need proof that their cloud service provider can support them not just by growing, but also by driving platform innovation. A provider that has specialized support teams and an ecosystem of partners innovating on its behalf gives customers confidence in the relationship.”
In the meanwhile, Canalys rates Azure, AWS, and Alibaba as “advanced” for their abilities to serve retailers. Alibaba employs its cloud service to power its Singles’ Day spending spree, and in 2019 it netted $23 billion in sales in the first nine hours. In contrast, AWS’ long-standing retail experience is a part of the wider Amazon business. Lastly, Canalys praised Microsoft for its strong foothold in the enterprise.