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Ready to Know Microsoft’s Retail Game Plan for 2019?

23 January 2019
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The NRF 2019, Retail’s Big Show, is just that. Self-described as ‘a marketplace for ideas and relationships’, the NRF is ‘A chance to forge new partnerships, try out best-in-class experiences, and learn from some of the biggest players transforming retail today. An event guaranteed to drive impact.’ Microsoft attended this year’s event in full force, so here are a few of the key take-aways of Microsoft's retail game plan from the corporation at this year’s event. 

What is the NRF 2019?

In a sentence, it’s the world’s largest retail conference and expo, with 37K attendees, 16K retailers, and a massive 700+ exhibitors in attendance from over 99 countries. Ultimately, what this means is that if you work in retail or retail technology, this is the Holy Grail.

If you’re a US-based Microsoft Dynamics consultant (or perhaps you’re an especially lucky non-US resident in the field), the NRF 2019 provides a golden opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at what’s coming, to network and share ideas, and educate yourself on where the industry is shifting next. 

Microsoft’s Partner success stories

At this year’s event, we got as good look at these Dynamics 365 case studies:

  • Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona’s successful use of Dynamics 365 for retail management
  • Luxury brand Stefano Ricci creating a customer experience solution using Dynamics 365 CE
  • Gourmet food and gifts creator Hickory Farms, who showed off their progress with Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations.

Kroger takes centre stage

Hot off the heels of Amazon and Whole Foods, Microsoft has announced a new partnership with Kroger. According to a Statement in The Drinks Business, the “US retailer Kroger is piloting two ‘smart grocery stores’, which it claims will “revolutionize shopping” and provide shoppers with personalized food inspiration during shopping trips, after teaming up with tech giant Microsoft.

The idea is that Kroger, a long-time Microsoft ally, will offer an enhanced customer experience thanks to Azure. The new retail solution, in Microsoft’s words, will “offer a suite of capabilities to support KPIs and merchandising plans, collect customer insights, enhance employee productivity, improve out-of-stocks, better the customer experience, and allow for hyper personalization using proprietary technology including the EDGE Shelf."

This is just another example of a large global grocer taking the initiative, but it’s also great to see it happening with Microsoft, who has consistently supported retailers through its Dynamics 365 solutions for years. 

Shopping tools for tech-hungry retailers

Bricks and mortar stores are changing their approach in an attempt to remain relevance and offer something different to the standard online experience. This year, a large focus for Microsoft at the NRF was demonstrating how new solutions built on Dynamics 365 can offer better customer relationships. From emailing customers personalized style guides after a purchase. Meanwhile, another experience optimization platform takes more digital experiences and pushes it into physical retail stores. A lot of this comes down to bringing AI-driven insights into the inshore environment, based on a steady stream of customer data to enforce action. 

Microsoft had a great show at this year’s NRF. If you’re a Microsoft Dynamics professional and attended the show, we’d love to hear from you. Just get in touch with our US-based team here.

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