How consumers shop today is radically different from how they shopped ten years ago, or even a year ago. Today, consumers want to shop on their terms – when, where, and on their preferred devices! In addition, they expect a personal, seamless, and differentiated experience across all retail channels (think store, web, catalog, call centers, social media, etc.) This shift in purchasing behavior is changing the retail landscape.
Are non-integrated systems keeping you up at night?
The challenge for retailers becomes leveraging aging, non-integrated systems to connect and strengthen relationships with current customers while attracting new ones. Technologies and strategies built for the challenges of yesterday are becoming a continuous resource drain and financial burden. I hear from too many retailers that their IT budgets are consumed just maintaining existing solutions rather than growing and expanding the business, and how their IT departments are more of a cost center than a profit center. Systems such as merchandising, supply chain, and order management are a maintenance challenge. Doing repetitive tasks like building discounts, promotions, and other key initiatives often require multiple IT teams with separate skillsets.
The Future of retail has arrived!
For midsized and enterprise retailers, Microsoft Dynamics for Retail offers a true end-to-end solution that reduces complexity and improves operational efficiency across the retail operation. A single solution that standardizes processes across multiple locations and channels, it helps optimize the supply chain and provides deep omni-channel insight. With point of sale, store management, omni-channel management, fully integrated eCommerce, supply chain, merchandising and financials, retailers can truly become "dynamic" – realizing improved business productivity and customer service. Microsoft Dynamics for Retail offers retailers the ability to centrally manage master and reference data across all channels including products, customers, catalogs, promotions, pricing and orders. It enables omni-channel visibility to stock, sales and other information, as well as seamless cross-channel workflows and fulfillment of orders. The solution includes a powerful and flexible eCommerce solution, along with consistent and symmetrical business computations powered by a single Commerce runtime across all sales channels. In other words, while non-Microsoft solutions require custom integration of multiple technologies, the Microsoft solution provides a single version of the truth and ability to manage your entire organization centrally through "true" omni-channel architecture.
What do consumers want?
As the shopping experience continues to evolve, the technology behind the delivery of that experience must keep pace. It is the customer and their shopping experience as well as enabling retailers to be dynamic that is the inspiration behind Microsoft Dynamics for Retail. Dynamic Retailers understand and deliver experiences that are –
- Personal (the retailer knows me as a person!)
- Seamless (I can connect with the retailer wherever and whenever I want, and my experience is consistent across different channels!)
- Differentiated (the retailer makes it easy for me to get what I want. For example, when the retailer knows who I am and what order I placed irrespective of channel – this means that I can order online and pick up in store.)
Let's hear it from a retail pro
A great example of a retailer is Edwin Watts Golf Shops (EWGS) that recently went live with the Microsoft Dynamics for Retail solution. Lynda Barr, EWGS Chief Financial Officer, recognized that centralizing purchasing and managing inventory more effectively would drive significant cost benefits. After reviewing multiple vendors for a solution, Microsoft Dynamics for Retail came closest to servicing EWGS's multichannel business-and to providing a seamless customer experience across those channels. "Many vendors offer strong point-of-sale solutions, but Microsoft Dynamics for Retail also delivers on the phone sales and Internet sales channels," notes Barr. "Delivering excellent customer service requires that we provide a consistent experience regardless of channel, and that we're able to track and share customer preferences and purchasing history among stores, Internet, and direct mail sales."
Are you a Dynamic Retailer?
Your customers come first. Dynamic Retailers are connected without compromise; personally relevant; agile and opportunistic. Consumers expect nothing less, and the technology on which retailers build their foundation for the future will determine if they can deliver on their brand promise and thrive today and in the future. Microsoft is committed to delivering a complete vision for retail built on innovation and a unique value proposition that delivers on the promise of true omni-channel retail, to retailers worldwide. Microsoft Dynamics for Retail is now available in 38 countries. Check out our new "Dynamic Retailer Whitepaper" and keep in touch with us through Twitter and on Facebook.
Michael Griffiths, Global Industry Director, Retail & Distribution