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Microsoft unveils new cloud for retail, innovating the end-to-end shopper journey

Shelley Bransten, CVP Retail and Consumer Goods

If 2020 taught the world anything, it was that no business is resilient to everything. In particular for the retail industry, having experienced an evolutionary leap towards digital, those who laid their digital tracks early were better positioned to recover.

Microsoft’s role as a technology partner is to work with customers to understand their needs – and co-innovate when it makes sense – to advance the industry and provide tools to help them better serve their customers.

Last week at NRF 2021: Retail’s Big Show, Shelley Bransten, CVP of Retail and Consumer Goods Industry, Microsoft announced the private preview of Microsoft Cloud for Retail. Bransten says “Microsoft Cloud for Retail aims to connect experiences across the end-to-end shopper journey with integrated and intelligent capabilities.

By bringing together disparate data sources across the retail value chain, we will enable retailers to realize the true value of their data by enriching core business processes and turning data into actionable insights.

It is critical that retailers have the right technology tools to respond to changes caused by the pandemic, recover by innovating within their operations, and reimagine the future of the customer experience. Microsoft Cloud for Retail aims to empower the retail industry to seamlessly connect their customers, their people, and their data.

Microsoft Cloud for Retail connects intelligent capabilities across Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Power Platform, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Microsoft Advertising – built on a platform of security and compliance. A rich partner ecosystem extends the value of the platform with retail-specific solutions to address the industry’s most urgent challenges.

Alysa Taylor, CVP Business Applications and Industry

An example of these new capabilities includes Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce – one of the solution’s most requested features. Alysa Taylor, Corporate Vice President, Business Applications & Industry announced the holistic retail and commerce platform, stating “By building on our consumer capabilities and bringing together B2B and B2C e-commerce, businesses can deliver consistent, personalized, and user-friendly purchasing options for all their customers. Retails can enable curated self-service buying options for business accounts, along with increasing the productivity of their sales reps and empower them to provide informed and relevant offers to their buyers.”

An example of retail innovation is demonstrated by Australian-based jeweler Michael Hill – leveraging the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce platform to build a digital retail operations platform with end-to-end, multichannel capabilities and connected processes. With helpful tools and easy access to information on a single platform, Michael Hill retail managers and sales staff are able to provide the best possible customer experience. At the back end, the company can match invoices and process payments easily and quickly across its supply chain and vendor networks.

With all these advances, Microsoft remains optimistic in helping retailers navigate each of these phases in ways that anticipate how the pandemic will impact the retail landscape.

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Companies who are demonstrating retail innovation with Microsoft