Cloud computing opens up new possibilities for organizations where speed, scale, flexibility and intelligence can redefine how businesses get things done and achieve more. That is especially true in the retail sector where the cloud can not only help retailers run their operations more efficiently and flexibly, but also engage more intelligently with customers across all their touchpoints, grow sales and build loyalty.
Retailers today are faced with a changing consumer landscape. Today’s consumers have access to unprecedented levels of information through online channels, social media and mobile devices. Customers want to shop on their terms – getting what they want, where, when and on the device of their choice as they move across multiple shopping channels. Trends worldwide indicate that increasingly consumers expect to have integrated, seamless, personalized and differentiated experiences that are unique and tailored to them, and they tend to develop stronger brand affinity and loyalty towards organizations that offer these as well as Omni-channel experiences like buy online and pick up in store.
A customer’s commerce engagement journey with a business spans different phases (awareness, evaluation, purchase, post-purchase) and across different mediums (website, physical stores, social, mobile devices, search, blogs, reviews etc.) that takes place over a period of time. Each of the engagement points represents an opportunity for the business to deeply understand a customer’s intent and desire and convert this into fulfilling experiences and building long-lasting relationship. With evolving trends and ways of interacting, coupled with increasing expectations and options for customers, retailers are looking to technology to help them transform the ways they engage with their customers. We have architected the new Microsoft Dynamics AX, our flagship enterprise-class solution to leverage the full power of the Microsoft Azure cloud to help retailers transform their business, optimize their operations and deliver amazing experiences to their customers.
With the new Dynamics AX for Retail and Commerce solution, we’ve made it easier for retailers to deliver a seamless Unified Commerce experience across all customer touch points, channels and device types – enabling retailers to deliver value at speed and at lower cost.
The cloud enables technology that fully embraces and addresses the needs of the modern store. The new Dynamics AX, which will be globally available later this quarter, gives retailers new options for delivering world class customer service in the store. The modern Commerce client includes the modern Point of Sale (POS) which enables clienteling and rich product and customer centric discussions within the store. The modern POS can be deployed as an application on POS devices, tablets and phones or on the cloud (CloudPOS). It is accessible via the browser, thereby helping retailers minimize deployment and maintenance costs as well as enabling them to react quickly to changing business needs. The mobile commerce (m-Commerce) capabilities of the solution enables retailers to empower their associates with business applications on their tablets and phones and to engage with their customers on the go.
In addition to the in-store experience, the new Retail and Commerce solution facilitates seamless e-commerce experiences across all channels including online stores, call-centers, social media and other channels. We have a growing collection of e-commerce experience partners who have built store fronts supported by the Dynamics commerce capabilities, some of whom we are showcasing at the NRF Big Show! Retailers can create state of the art experiences for consumers with deep tie-in to multiple catalogs, extensive pricing and promotions and intuitive omni-channel shopping carts with secure payment processing, all naturally integrated to the store environment. Retailers can also offer their customers powerful capabilities including wish lists, order history, loyalty as well as insightful recommendations powered by Microsoft Cortana Analytics Machine Learning.
Another vital part of a retailer’s unified commerce portfolio is the call center. The new Dynamics AX Retail and Commerce solution includes fully integrated call-center capabilities through which retailers can take call center orders from customers directly through a well-designed and responsive interface optimized for fast order entry, assisted selling and cross channel fulfilment. This includes the ability to view, cancel or change orders that have been placed in all channels when a customer calls in needing help with their purchase. Specific prices and promotions can now be targeted at customers based on dynamic profiling, demographics and other criteria; taking us into the world of personalised shopping experiences based upon the customer’s shopping profile.
To operate all the various channels efficiently and to offer the customers superior experiences, the new Dynamics AX Retail and Commerce back office offers extremely rich capabilities through an intuitive, highly productive and optimized client experience that can be accessed through the browser, anywhere and on any device. Retailers can centrally setup and manage all their channels and have full visibility into their operations, in real time. In addition, the solution offers rich merchandising, pricing & promotions capabilities and allows retailers to target and offer their customers the right product, at the right place, at the right time and at the right price. Retailers can fine tune their operations with inventory and omni-channel order management capabilities that allow them to efficiently fulfil the orders, streamline purchasing, allocation and replenishment processes while maintaining accurate and detailed view of inventory across store locations, warehouses and distribution centers.
The new Dynamics AX also enables retailers to tap into the wealth of business data and make faster, smarter decisions by seamlessly integrating Microsoft Power BI into business processes and workspaces. The new solution empowers people with task-specific tools at their fingertips to help them in their role. Whether it’s in store associates or head office users, having ready access to efficient workflows, with built-in access to data to help them with those tasks is more important today than ever before. By enabling users with role-specific workspaces, coupled with in-application access to rich intelligence data; retail workers can now spend less time stepping in and out through mundane processes and spend much more time driving the business.
By delivering the best tools and solutions in the cloud, Microsoft is enabling retailers to better serve their customers and to drive growth through deep data insights and powerful analytics driving intuitive recommendations. The new Dynamics AX leverages the power of the cloud in a way that not only makes the shopping experience fun and rewarding, but also leads retailers to a clear competitive advantage that will enable them to thrive in this digital age.