The latest research report from Canalys illustrates how Google Cloud is the #1 cloud service provider to retail sector – ahead of overall market leader AWS and second-placed Microsoft Azure.
Canalys assessed the top cloud service providers’ performance in the retail and ecommerce sectors by looking at vertical-specific solutions, key retail clients, technology partnerships and overall strategies in the sector.
Google Cloud appears in the leader zone of Canalys’ vertical assessment model. Its success comes from its vertically-aligned strategy, with retail being one of its core segments. Google Cloud has been hiring and establishing systems integrator partnerships to accelerate retail penetration.
Google Cloud expanded its partnership with Best Buy, which has named Google Cloud as the provider of its data enterprise platform in a multi-year agreement.
Google Cloud’s client portfolio has many of the world’s leading retailers, including Costco, Germany-based Metro and Target. By using its strength in advertising and search, Google Cloud can offer retail customers much more than compute and storage.
Retailers are looking to cloud service providers to support and grow their businesses and arm them with key technologies. A reliable cloud service provider not only supplies compute and storage, but also retail-specific solutions and support teams.
“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,” said Canalys Research Analyst Blake Murray.
Microsoft Azure, AWS and Alibaba Cloud were rated as advanced in their abilities to serve retailers.
Azure is well established among enterprises and offers over 2,000 retail-specific applications through its partner network.
AWS brings long-standing experience in retail and offers a unique retail competency program that validates a partner’s technical proficiency and customer success. Amazon in general remains a major competitor to the retail sector.
“Due to this competitive aspect, many major retailers have opted to work with other cloud service providers,” Blake Murray said.
Recently, Amazon Web Services announced some of the latest client wins and it did not include clients from the retail industry.
Alibaba Cloud is expanding from its dominant presence in China to build infrastructure and partnerships in Europe and other markets. But the continued division between China and the west will make it difficult for Alibaba to make inroads in some countries.
“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,” said Alex Smith, senior director at Canalys.
Alphabet’s Google recently said it shut down its cloud project named “Isolated Region” and added that it was not weighing options to offer its cloud platform in China.
Google in June said it would buy Looker, a privately held big-data analytics company, for $2.6 billion in cash, in the first major acquisition for new Google Cloud Chief Executive Thomas Kurian.