From February onwards, Microsoft offers a special "Cloud for Retail" solution that intends to support in the handling and processing of structured and unstructured data and to unite various data sources along the retail value chain.
Based on Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Power Platform and Microsoft Advertising, it connects the stations of the entire customer journey through retail-specific functions that offer relevant personalized experiences and more efficient operations.
Microsoft Cloud for Retail helps retailers unlock the full value of their data for unified customer profiles, personalized shopping experiences, transparent supply chains and empowered employees by streamlining business processes and turning data into actionable insights.
Central functions of the Microsoft Cloud for Retail include:
- 360-degree view of customers with uniform customer profiles
- Improved shopping experiences through real-time personalization
- Building a resilient supply chain in real time
- Employee empowerment through improved communication and collaboration
Microsoft Cloud for Retail is an industry-specific cloud that will help retailers meet this new age of digital optimism. It starts by unifying disparate data sources across the end-to-end shopper journey, allowing retailers to maximize the value of their data, and resulting in one holistic view of the consumer. Once connected, data and AI help retailers better understand and elevate the consumer shopping experience. In providing more relevant and streamlined experiences throughout the retail value chain, retailers can build a real-time sustainable supply chain and empower their frontline workforce.
Four future-looking opportunities that retailers can be optimistic about in 2022 with Microsoft Cloud include:
1. Maximize the value of retail data
Realize the true value of retailer’s data by unifying disparate data sources across the shopper journey, discovering insights that enable better experiences. There are 40 petabytes of data generated every hour in retail, yet customer touchpoints aren’t linked to each other—systems and data are siloed and disconnected. And most retailers are only set up to leverage a fraction of the data that’s available. Microsoft Cloud for Retail allows for bringing multiple systems and applications together, unifying disparate data sources to establish a singular, in-depth profile of each shopper. Capabilities here include unified customer profile, shopper and operational analytics, intelligent fraud protection, and retail media.
2. Elevate the shopping experience
Transform the shopping experience through data analytics and new store technology to create more engaged shoppers with stronger lifetime value. In today’s highly competitive retail landscape, personalization has become the standard. With personalization at the heart of satisfying shopping experiences, Microsoft Cloud for Retail helps drive conversion by enabling personalized recommendations and search results. Capabilities here include real-time personalization, intelligent stores, unified commerce, digital advertising solutions, and seamless customer service.
3. Build a real-time, sustainable supply chain
Create a resilient and sustainable supply chain by connecting data across the ecosystem to identify issues and optimize performance. Today’s consumers are frustrated by empty shelves. Supply chain transformation starts with the recognition that a retailer’s data holds the key. Microsoft Cloud for Retail helps retailers to better predict demand using AI to optimize inventory and optimize order management to give customers choice across channels. It also helps retailers record, report, and reduce things like carbon emissions as they strive to become more sustainable.
4. Empower the store associate
Retail always has been and always will be a people business; hence, investing in frontline workers’ experience is investing in the customer experience. However, industry-specific solutions like Microsoft Cloud for Retail can surface stock and supply chain data on mobile devices so an associate can quickly see availability of an out-of-stock product and arrange to have it shipped to the customer. Retailers that have transformed frontline capabilities in this way have seen unprecedented returns in customer satisfaction. Capabilities here include real-time store communication and collaboration, retail workforce management, process automation, and career development.
Partnering for the next era of retail
Building digital capability is the new currency driving every retailer’s resilience and growth. Not just for this pandemic but for future events, and the years to come. The fact is that the world of retail has been forever shaped by new behaviors, and many are here to stay. Business-as-usual will no longer meet these expectations. With the rise of blended consumer shopping behaviors, persistent supply chain constraints, and a serious labor shortage, a new reality has emerged that requires retailers to accelerate their digital capabilities to give consumers what they want before they’ve asked, align their supply chain by anticipating this demand, and empower the retail frontline workers. These challenges can now be tackled head-on with technology like Microsoft Cloud for Retail. (Source: Microsoft)