DFS rolls out in-store Chromebooks and moves website to cloud

Furniture retailer DFS has rolled out 1,200 Google Chromebooks to its retail stores, as part of a growing partnership with the global tech titan.

The in-store tablets allow salespeople on the shopfloor to access key product and internal operational information when talking to customers. Each member of staff in stores has a secure login and individual account.

At Google Cloud Next 2019, an event in London this week, more details of DFS’s technology investment were revealed. It is moving its web platform from a private cloud environment to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) in a move the business hopes will provide more agility to evolve quickly and introduce new apps.

A blog published on Thursday (21 November) from Nick Martin, head of retail for UK and Ireland at Google Cloud, suggests the move will provide the site with “greater capacity, providing a more responsive user experience and scalable resources to easily handle seasonal spikes in traffic”.

He added that using GCP will also bring eCommerce back-end improvements, including the ability to deploy major upgrades more straightforwardly, while also reducing hosting costs. The transition to GCP took place this month, and is expected to deliver a positive revenue impact over the busy Christmas season, noted Martin.

Russell Harte, group technology director at DFS, remarked: “Whether a customer visits us digitally or in person – or both – there needs to be a congruence in the offers they see and the service they receive. The work we’re doing with Google Cloud will ensure the best possible experience for end users, while also bringing efficiencies to our logistical capabilities.” 

The DFS and Google partnership began after the furniture retailer’s acquisition of Sofology in 2017, with the takeover giving DFS a chance to reassess its approach to IT, in conjunction with cloud consultant group, NetPremacy.

It started trialling G Suite for employee communications, and that was rolled out earlier this year. DFS is now looking at a range of other capabilities made possible by its new cloud environment, including the adoption of containerisation through Google’s Kubernetes, which promises faster application development.

The use of Google’s Apigee as an integration layer to bring together supply chains from across the group and improve last-mile logistics for deliveries is also under consideration.

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