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The countdown is on for the retail industry’s BIG show, NRF 2018, when retail and technology unite for the National Retail Federation’s annual convention and tech expo.
There’s never been a more exciting year for attendees to experience the latest trends and technology innovations for retail. And while I’ve said that in previous years, NRF 2018 will be different.
The latest retail innovations and advances in technologies, including cloud, big data & advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and mixed reality, are unlocking new doors to do exciting things not possible before. Retailers can now get the most from their data—infusing real-time insights wherever and whenever they’re needed to put customers truly at the center of their business and drive new levels of productivity, efficiencies, and innovation.
Imagine being able to predict what might happen, what should happen, and the best ways to optimize results. What if you could increase real demand for a product by predicting what a consumer will buy? How would you like to ensure the right level of inventory and assortment are available at every location?
When the shopper visits the store, what if sensor technologies that couple with their mobile device could help identify them and enable the store associates to engage in a personalized manner, further differentiating your brand. Or, imagine intelligent bots that can determine the right time and place to engage with the shopper at home, based on behavioral information coupled with machine learning. Providing this level of service enables you to create a personalized and seamless experience, no matter the channel your customer shops.
All these things are possible, now. We have entered the world of intelligent retail.  

Explore intelligent retail innovations with Microsoft at NRF 2018

At NRF 2018, together with our customers and partners, Microsoft is showcasing the future of intelligent retail—from digital experiences that make shopping fun and rewarding to productivity and collaboration solutions that allow retail employees to provide outstanding customer service to intelligent systems that provide deep insights and personalization.
Here are the top things you won’t want to miss in the Microsoft Booth #2803!
  • Immerse into the real possibilities of intelligent technology. This year, we are creating a retail journey, one in which attendees can experience the future of intelligent retail now. When you step into our booth, you’ll be able to wander through simulated environments in apparel, grocery, operations and supply chain. From digital commerce and in-store experiences to back-of-house and consumer-centric supply chains, attendees will gain a street-level look at the exciting opportunities to transform the shopping experience and all areas of their business with the latest technology innovations.
  • See the power of digital transformation in action. As you engage in our booth’s retail journey, our customers and partners will take center stage. You will see cutting-edge solutions you can take advantage of today, and real-world brand showcases that are putting these innovations to work for them. We are thrilled to have more than 20 leading retailers’ and consumer goods organizations’ digital transformation success being shared with you including Dolce & Gabbana, Estee Lauder, Kroger, Michael Hill, Sephora, Starbucks, The Home Depot and many more. You’ll want to witness what these industry innovators are doing!
  • Experience personalized, connected shopping that elevates your brand and inspires buying behavior. In today’s customer journey, personalized experiences that span both digital and physical environments will be critical to meeting consumers’ expectations, and the brands that can provide these experiences will set themselves apart among the competition. In our immersive booth journey, you can experience first-hand how intelligent technology advances like Azure machine learning and the Cortana Intelligence Suite; conversational bots; and artificial intelligence and the new Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI; can work together to make true retail personalization a reality as shoppers move from online to mobile to in-store, and back again.
  • Check out technology that will empower your store associates to improve productivity and sales effectiveness. See how advanced analytics and AI can deliver intelligent and pervasive computing across a global workforce to drive efficiencies, productivity, and outstanding service at every point along the shopping journey. Explore new ways for store leaders to collaborate inside and outside the store; support associates with better training, knowledge bases, and social tools for sharing best practices; and pull in-depth product information directly with the sales floor with mobile access and collaborative tools like Microsoft StaffHub and Office 365 for frontline workers.
  • Learn how to optimize retail operations to build an agile organization. To fully optimize retail operations, retailers need an agile infrastructure of methodologies, processes and systems that can go to work for them now and in the future. We’ll show you how our intelligent, trusted & secure platform provides a centralized foundation to better manage merchandising, inventory, fulfillment and more. You’ll see how Microsoft innovations like Cortana Intelligence Suite solutions power advanced analytics and predictive capabilities to enable retailers to gather insights on shoppers’ demographics and preferences, improve customer service and response time, optimize forecasting and inventory levels, personalize offerings, and better manage their supply chains to accommodate customer demand.
  • Hear from cutting-edge technology industry leaders. Don’t miss our Exhibitor Insights Session at NRF 2018 (Monday, January 15 at 11:30 am; EXPO Hall, Big Ideas Room 1, Level 1) where Toni Townes-Whitley, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Industry, will join leading brands Luxottica and The Schwarz Gruppe to discuss the future of intelligent retail as they share their stories of digital transformation.
  • As a retailer, get an inside look at Microsoft’s retail stores. Since 2009, Microsoft has served local communities and welcomed more than one billion customers to its physical and digital Microsoft Store properties globally. Learn how Microsoft strives to deliver best-in-class customer service and support and empower our Microsoft Store associates to make a customer’s tech-shopping experience as enjoyable and easy as possible.
And that’s not all! Outside the walls of the Javits Center, we are bringing retailers an exciting showcase of retail tech startups, hosted at our Microsoft 5th Avenue Flagship Store (January 14-17, 4:00-6:00 pm). The Microsoft NRF Startup Showcase will feature the latest in retail technology innovation showcasing select solutions that help retailers and brands to thrive in today’s competitive environment. In addition, VIP tours of our 5th Avenue Store can also be arranged by request.
I also encourage you to schedule time to meet with Microsoft executives to discuss your transformational journey and see how we can help you. Visit our event site to learn more about Microsoft’s participation at NRF 2018, and request an executive briefing or hosted booth tour with the Microsoft leadership team. Questions? Contact us here.
And for all our NRF 2018 news, links and photos, follow @MSretail and @MSFT_Business on Twitter.
We look forward to seeing you at this coming year’s event!
LinkedIn: Greg Jones