The News: This weekend at NRF 2022: Retail’s Big Show, Microsoft announced that Microsoft Cloud for Retail will be widely available on February 1. This industry-specific cloud platform will help retailers connect with their customers, improve the shopping journey, and continue to advance their digital transformations. Read the full announcement on Microsoft’s blog.
Microsoft Cloud for Retail Now Widely Available
Analyst Take: Over the last year or so, Microsoft has been focused on developing industry-specific solutions to help organizations continue to navigate the pandemic and thrive in digital transformation. A few months back we looked at its cloud for manufacturing and at this year’s NRF, the company is launching GA on February 1 for its newest Retail Cloud. Microsoft Cloud for Retail will join a number of existing industry-specific cloud offerings including those for healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing. The solution for retail could not have come at a better time.
With changing consumer behavior, an increased focus on customer experience, supply chain issues, and the continual blending of the online and offline worlds, retailers have had to deal with a lot in the last two years. As such, retailers need tools that will help them meet demands and empower frontline store employees to provide outstanding customer experiences that will keep customers coming back for more. Microsoft Cloud for Retail is purpose-built and based upon our early assessment of the offering stands to serve a comprehensive set of tools to its Microsoft’s diverse retail customer base.
Microsoft Cloud for Retail Breakdown
Microsoft Cloud for Retail connects data and processes throughout the entire customer journey, whether in-store or online. As blended and immersive experiences continue to proliferate the ability for tools to work across in-person and online retail becomes paramount.
With unifying data capabilities like a unified customer profile, shopper and operational analytics, and intelligent fraud protection, organizations can be fully equipped to make data-backed decisions for every part of the customer journey. Adding to that, Microsoft Cloud for Retail offers capabilities to drive conversions with real-time personalization, unified commerce, and seamless customer service. Store employees can be empowered to make recommendations and serve customers in a more targeted manner that yields more desirable outcomes based upon near real-time analytics.
But retailers know it’s not just about in-store and online capabilities that make a difference. Supply chain issues have plagued everyone as of late. Microsoft Cloud for Retail enables organizations to tap into the mountains of data across the supply chain to optimize inventory and management. Additionally, Microsoft’s tools are also designed to help retailers improve sustainability investments and goals with supply chain visibility, planning optimization, and flexible fulfillment.
The Next Era of Cloud Solutions
I’ve been largely bullish on industry-focused solutions and Microsoft’s Cloud for Retail offers a complete set of tools that should make it an appealing option for retail. I believe this launch is a continuation of the growth of industry cloud solutions and that we are going to continue to see purpose-built solutions that deliver capabilities for specific use cases across a number of industries. I think Microsoft is releasing its newest solution for retail at the right time as the industry continues to require fast-paced innovation and agility to meet shopper behavior changes and supply-chain challenges. This solution is well-positioned to support those organizations that are continuing to invest in meeting those changes.
Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.
Other insights from Futurum Research:
Image Credit: Sunrise Technologies
The original version of this article was first published on Futurum Research.
Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.