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People walking around a large Shopping Mall

This is the second post in a series of three blogs (read part 1 here) where we delve a little deeper into five topics that were dominant in discussions at ShopTalk 2019. This article focuses on these two trends:

  • Business transformation as a continuous journey for some retailers—not a short-term endgame
  • Achieving 360 customer insights are a high watermark that retailers need to better understand their customers, learn from their behavior and deliver personalized interactions

Transformation is a journey

Business transformation is undertaken by retailers to reduce process complexity, enhance business predictability and improve the user experience. But transformation may or may not meet success. Transformation must be proven through business re-engineering as well as customer (and employee) adoption of physical and digital processes. One example is Macy’s pivot towards a pre-dominant digital growth strategy. They are redesigning Macy’s loyalty program, devising new store concepts (Market@Macy’s), expanding off-price stores (Backstage), and implementing their “Growth50” store improvement approach. These are all required steps in transforming the Macy’s brand, but it is to be seen whether all, or even some, of these moves meet success.

Another change is in fitting the online experience to the customer’s priorities. One industry leader noted that customers now have different priorities in judging the retail experience. They may not even care about brands. Instead, they value the size and fit. With that knowledge in hand, the retailer personalizes the experience to that preference.

Meet customers’ needs

There is a recipe for winning. Retailers who predict what the shoppers want in the shopping journey and deliver it appropriately by creating trend-aligned assortments, supply chain optimization programs, staffing models and partnering with agile and innovative solution providers are winning market share. Best-in-Class retailers predict what the shoppers want in the shopping journey and deliver it. This strategy has a few facets:

  • Create trend-aligned assortments
  • Initiate supply chain optimization programs
  • Evolve staffing models
  • Partner with agile and innovative solution providers

For example, shoppers want more appealing, multi-utility shopping choices. They’ll respond to:

  • Attractive new categories
  • New user-friendly store designs
  • Faster checkouts
  • Digital payments
  • Excellent service
  • A location that is informative and experiential

Laggard retailers need to mobilize and re-engineer the end-to-end customer experience. Their goal should be to create innovative and friction-free journeys. But any changes should be viewed through the customer’s lens—be sure you understand their priorities.

Next steps

To see the first article in this series, go to ShopTalk 2019 recap part 1. And be sure to download our latest playbook covering AI for Retail.