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Female employee holding tablet for female consumer to sign and approve purchase. They are standing on either side of a retail clothing store checkout counter.  Customer experience is the differentiator in retail. Shoppers want a personalised service, recognition and rewards for loyalty. They also want this integrated across channels for a consistent shopping experience.

Small and medium companies (SMC) who hope to compete against global behemoths and matured digital natives need digital transformation technology that gives them command of the “holy trinity”: deep, cross-channel customer insight, synchronised operations from front to back-end, and scalability to drive rich experiences as and when needed.

Decision-making around such technology now carries existential consequences. One wrong investment could be catastrophic. That’s why getting buy-in from the C-suite is a significant hurdle. Here’s four reasons why Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce is the safe, expedient route for retailers today.

1.      Personalisation at every stage

A women uses a surface tablet to help a female customer in a small boutique retail shop.Simply offering the best deal or best quality product is not enough in today’s hyper-competitive environment. Almost 91 percent of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognise, remember, and provide relevant offers to them. You need to differentiate between your customers, respond to their unique behaviours, and react to fluctuating market demands.

You likely already have the requisite data to do this already. What many SMCs lack is the technology to turn data into practical insight. Dynamics 365 Commerce permeates your systems to gather customer information from its myriad sources (social media activity, online browsing habits, in-store purchases, etc.), and presents it so that you can shape your service accordingly. Product recommendations, unique promotions and tailored communications can then be managed and distributed across all channels via the platform.

2.      Unify disparate business units

Contextual image of woman working inside warehouse holding Surface Pro 7Many medium-sized retailers with discrete business units are still suffering from a breakdown of communication on integral matters such as inventory, pricing, and promotions. This creates operational inefficiencies that have a knock-on effect on the customer experience. How satisfied will your customer be if they order something online, only to be notified that the item is in fact out of stock?

Dynamics 365 Commerce infuses intelligent technology into your business operations. All your back-office data is translated into readable digital displays that are updated in real-time. Your employees have access to the relevant information they need to fulfil their role effectively. It makes it easier for your employees to collaborate and coordinate key processes to deliver a tailored, seamless customer experience both online and in-store.

3.      Make your physical store work smarter, not harder

Over 80 percent of purchases are still made in-store. Although internet sales are rising, the physical store still holds value. Showrooming, the process of looking at items in person before buying online, is popular amongst shoppers under the age of 35 (78% have reported using mobile devices to shop items being viewed in-store). Making sure you are stocking in-store the items your customers want to buy online is a vital requirement. However, a quarter of consumers say that their brick-and-mortar retail channel needs the most improvement with respect to personalisation efforts.

With Dynamics 365 Commerce, you can analyse the data from local online and in-store shoppers to tailor your inventory – and even your products – to your market. Our new application, Dynamics 365 Connected Store, can also give your managers and employees the information they need to tailor the shop floor around customers using insights gathered from sensors and store cameras.

4.      Be an ‘anytime, anywhere’ retailer

Omnichannel is the ultimate goal for all retailers. It’s also the desire of most consumers. You need to be able to see how a customer has interacted with you. Once they’ve discovered you online, for example, you should be able to do a range of ways to amplify their experiences.

Whether it’s a tailored communication with a discount code for first-time purchases, recommending products in-store based on their online browsing habits, inviting them to a private preview of your new collection, or sending them a text to let them know their favourite product is back in stock – there’s plenty of ways you can use technology to transform your customer experience.

Elevate the customer experience

Executive presenting sales results to team.Dynamics 365 Commerce enables omnichannel management across both your online and instore channels. It provides a single version of the truth across products, promotions, customers, and orders. Customers can select options such as buy online and collect in store, and vice versa. Employees can view customer profiles and adapt their service in-store; and back office staff can create an intelligent supply chain that proactively adapts to market demands.

By using Dynamics, your organisation can have streamlined data and unified technology to help you deliver personalised experiences across all channels.

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