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Microsoft Industry Blogs

On January 14-16, 2018, more than 35,000 retail industry leaders from around the world will gather at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City for NRF 2018: Retail’s Big Show. The NRF Big Show is the largest retail industry event in the United States, and the 2018 conference will feature numerous educational sessions focusing on the theme of “retail transformation,” as well as retailer-only networking programs, and more than 500 exhibitors in the expo hall.

During the Big Show, Aprimo, the leading provider of marketing technology solutions, will be sharing how the world’s largest home improvement retailer uses Aprimo’s cloud-based solutions to provide customers more unified and compelling experiences. With over 2,200 stores across North America, this retailer is facing a rapidly growing demand for digital content. It was becoming cumbersome to manage this ever-increasing volume of content using multiple, unintegrated technology systems.

To address this challenge, they implemented Aprimo’s Digital Asset Management solution hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. With Aprimo DAM, this retailer now has a single repository for its digital marketing content, and a digital asset management solution that provides powerful search, image transformation, and version control capabilities. Aprimo DAM enables them to create and deliver engaging and consistent shopping experiences across multiple channels, including in-store, online, in print, in mobile apps, and via its partner network.

Many retail enterprises are facing the same kinds of challenges that this retailer has successfully addressed. Digital technologies are driving massive changes across the business world, but no sector has been more impacted than the retail industry. The rapid growth of online shopping and buying provides indisputable proof that retailers are at the epicenter of the digital revolution.

According to the U.S. Commerce Department, ecommerce sales in the U.S. reached nearly $395 billion in 2016, and eMarketer recently estimated that global online purchases will grow to $4.058 trillion in 20201. More importantly, most of the recent gains in retail revenue have come from online sales. Fitch Ratings recently estimated that overall U.S. retail sales (excluding automobiles and gasoline) will grow 3% – 4% in 2017, but in-store sales growth will be only about 1%2.

Because of the changing competitive landscape in retail, leaders of retail enterprises now recognize that providing outstanding customer experiences is essential for success. In the 2017 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey by Boston Retail Partners, 55% of surveyed retailers chose optimizing the customer experience as a top CX priority3. The next three most frequently identified priorities were increasing customer loyalty (50% of respondents), improving the mobile shopping experience (45%), and creating a seamless experience across channels (42%).

Retail marketers also recognize that rich, relevant content is a critical ingredient in the recipe for outstanding customer experiences, and the mandate to deliver great omnichannel messaging and experiences is driving explosive growth in the amount of content that retailers must develop and/or manage. In a survey of enterprise retailers conducted by Aprimo, WBR Digital, and ChannelAdvisor at the 2017 eTail West conference, nine out of ten respondents said their need for content has increased over the past year, and 59% of those respondents said the need has increased significantly4.

Rising consumer expectations and the ever-increasing demand for rich, relevant, and compelling content elevate the importance of effective marketing operations for retail enterprises. Aprimo’s marketing operations solutions can help retailers effectively manage the four bedrock components of twenty-first century retail marketing operations – content, budget, people, and data.

Aprimo will be showcasing our Microsoft Azure-based digital asset management and marketing operations solutions in the Microsoft booth #2803 at the NRF 2018 Big Show. If you’re attending the conference, we’d love to meet you. Stop by the Microsoft booth at your convenience, or if you prefer, you can schedule a meeting with us for a specific day and time.

Aprimo provides marketing technology solutions to some of the world’s leading retailers and brands, including Campbell’s, CVS, LEGO and Mary Kay. Aprimo’s solutions enable retailers to deliver consistent and engaging omnichannel shopping experiences, effectively manage the growing demand for rich, relevant, and personalized marketing content, and increase the productivity of marketing by streamlining the management of people, work activities and processes, and marketing budgets.

1 “Worldwide Retail Ecommerce Sales Will Reach $1.915 Trillion This Year”. eMarketer Inc. Web. August 22, 2016.

2 “Fitch: Battle for Customers Persists in 2017 for U.S. Retail, Restaurants”. Web. December 12, 2016.

3 BRP. 2017 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Benchmark Survey. United States. 2017. Print.

4 WBR Digital, Aprimo and ChannelAdvisor. Driving Cross-Channel Experiences with Intelligent Consumer Data. 2017. Print.