Microsoft’s Toni Townes-Whitley on the outlook for retail in the digital age

Source : Microsoft

Summary 1 : Toni Townes-Whitley, CVP, Microsoft Industry said ” NRF 2018 was Microsoft’s first big industry event of the year, and I had the opportunity to attend and speak at the conference. With more than 35,000 retail and technology attendees from around the globe, it offered a pulse on where the industry is today, and where it’s headed. Here are my observations and thoughts.”

Retailers’ top priorities: customers and employees as VIPs

Retail leaders and innovators are taking the forward mindset that all customers are VIPs, and that’s an inspiring shift. Those that succeed first will win the hearts and minds of consumers.

Summary 2 :

Digital innovation: the fuel for reinvention and growth in the retail industry

  • 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 can you ensure that the right level of inventory and assortment are available at every location?
  • When a shopper visits your store, what if sensor technologies could pair with their mobile device and help identify them? In this way your store associates could 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 retailers to create a personalized and seamless experience, no matter which channel the customer uses to shop.

Summary 3 : 

Learning from the leaders

More than 35 Microsoft office partners and customers joined us in our booth and on-stage at this year’s event, including retailers and brands like Build-A-Bear Workshop, Dolce & Gabbana, grocery chain Kroger, Lowe’s Home Improvement and Macy’s. Attendees saw first-hand how these, and other industry leaders are innovating with Microsoft technology to make creative use of data, and to transform their customer experiences, employee engagement, operations and products.

The times are certainly changing, and I left the show inspired. The retail industry’s enthusiasm was infectious. The idea of a retail apocalypse was debunked and buried. In this new year, I heard only excitement and focus on how to best accelerate growth and innovation.

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