Accenture and Microsoft Offer Technology Solutions For Smarter Retailing Initiative

NEW YORK, Jan. 12, 2004 — Accenture and Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of several new solutions and radio frequency identification (RFID)-based technologies designed to help retailers improve the way they operate their stores and sell to consumers.

These solutions are part of Microsoft’s Smarter Retailing Initiative, announced today at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 93rd Annual Convention & Expo in New York. The Smarter Retailing initiative is designed to help improve a customer’s in-store experience with information tailored to enhance purchasing decisions.

“Creating a differentiated shopping experience is crucial to attracting today’s shoppers, who are more demanding and less brand-loyal, but are willing to spend when they perceive value in a product or service,” said Jeff Smith, managing partner for the Retail & Consumer Goods practice at Accenture. “To attract and keep those shoppers, retailers must use customer information to differentiate themselves from competitors. With Microsoft, we are helping retailers gather more accurate information about customer preferences, use it effectively and create better relationships between their brands and their customers.”

Accenture worked with Microsoft to develop the strategy for the new Smarter Retailing initiative. In addition, Accenture developed a set of tools that will help retailers achieve the following:

  • Increase sales and margin. Among the tools is a Shopping Cart Assistant that allows shoppers to scan and pay for items as they are selected, bypassing checkout lines. This technology, which runs on a Tablet PC using Windows®
    XP Embedded, can help a retailer predict a customer’s shopping list and offer discounts and coupons tailored to the individual shopper.

  • Increase overall manager and employee productivity, minimize out-of-stock items, and address other inventory challenges. A Store Manager Workbench gives managers instant access to information on inventory, employee schedules and sales data through a Tablet PC or personal digital assistant that leverages Microsoft®
    Office System products, including Microsoft Office SharePoint (TM) Portal Server 2003. Increasing the mobility of managers means they can be on the store floor helping employees and customers.

  • Deploy solutions quickly. Through a set of architectural and design frameworks, retailers can reduce the time necessary to develop store-based technology solutions, diminish the complexity of store applications development projects and simplify application maintenance to lower costs. This framework was developed through Avanade, a company created by Accenture and Microsoft.

Microsoft-based RFID — or “silent commerce” — applications embedded throughout the retailer’s operations, such as those at the dock door and on shelving units, can decrease inventory-handling errors by improving receiving, accuracy and speed while reducing labor expense.

“Microsoft’s Smarter Retailing Initiative flows from our belief that there are many opportunities for innovation in the retail industry today, but they primarily lie on the edges, where retailers interact with consumers, manage their supply chains or weave in new technologies, such as digital assistants and self-checkout terminals,” said Brian Scott, general manager for the Retail & Hospitality Industry Solutions Group at Microsoft.

Accenture and Microsoft will continue to develop joint solutions focused on customer insight and store operations to support the Smarter Retailing Initiative.

About the Microsoft Smarter Retailing Initiative

The Microsoft Smarter Retailing Initiative helps retailers win today by leveraging current investments, and win tomorrow by easing delivery of new retail experiences. Consisting of Smarter Shopping, Smarter Selling and Smarter Operations, the Smarter Retailing Initiative is designed to close the loop between the retailer’s strategy, the in-store execution and familiar technologies already in the consumer’s hands. More information can be found at .

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With more than 83,000 people in 48 countries, the company generated net revenues of $11.8 billion for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2003. Its home page is

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, Windows and SharePoint are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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