Every new year brings new opportunities and challenges, but 2020 was extraordinary. The pandemic disrupted retail organizations massively due to ongoing orders for accommodation and social distancing requirements. Consumers have adapted, driving nine years of e-commerce growth in 90 days.
Retailers responded by dramatically accelerating their digital transformation journeys to focus on prioritizing customer health and safety, redefining the channel experience and enabling data-driven decisions.
So how do we prepare NRF 2021– The association’s first all-digital event – we reflect the incredible, continuous adjustment of the industry to pandemic-related trends and the effects in 2021 and beyond.
Resilience: driven by people, made possible by technology
The unmatched performance of Microsoft Azure enables our customers to intelligently manage secure workloads across multiple locations and domains, scale those workloads to process millions of requests per second, and improve the logistics for managing each order. Azure data and AI services help retailers respond to market forces, improve decision-making, and put customers first by breaking down their data silos to manage, combine, shape, and analyze the data Way to gain actionable insights.
With Azure, retailers get the best of cloud, data and AI workloads at scale including industry data models This enables data management, governance and domain excellence in a cloud platform from a provider that does not compete with them. This allows retailers to create better digital feedback loops – the connections between their customers, their employees, their stores, their data, and the insights at their core – on a trusted partner’s platform.
Take for example Albertons Companies’ Migrating from an outdated on-premises server farm to Microsoft Azure. The move gave customers a modern shopping experience on demand and sharpened the group’s competitive advantage. Thanks to cutting-edge AI and cognitive services combined with an innovative developer environment, Albertsons were able to quickly introduce user-friendly apps to accelerate shopping and provide consumers with a more personalized and streamlined experience.
To determine what products customers want, Walgreens Large amounts of business data are processed, analyzed and reported every day. Within three months, Walgreens was able to migrate its entire local data warehouse for inventory management to Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics. After moving to Azure Synapse Analytics, Walgreens significantly improved certain aspects of its operations, reduced total cost of ownership, and modernized business processes and decision-making.
Networked, customized experiences
With the ability to leverage, normalize, and shape their data using the Azure open ecosystem, retailers can take advantage of AI and machine learning to transform business outcomes by:
- Rethinking retail. Microsoft Azure enables retailers to connect devices and experiences with simple, scalable and secure services. Use of Spatial analysis function Computer Vision, part of Azure Cognitive Services, enables retailers to deploy powerful AI models based on business and customer data. This will allow them to evaluate the business to ensure that social distancing and disinfection requirements are being met. It can also be used to gain insights into how customers interact with displays and products. Continue with Azure Digital TwinsRetailers can effectively model a virtual representation of their layout, supply chain, logistics, and more. AI can also be used to provide personalized, real-time recommendations to customers and provide intelligent conversation agents that improve the customer experience and provide meaningful incentives and promotions with loyalty programs.
In today’s retail environments, the scalability of a trading platform is critical. The new Elera Commerce microservices platform Provides connections to Toshiba, third party or retailer APIs so customers are agile and adaptable when making changes to key areas such as mobile POS, returns, dark stores, centralized prices, loyalty programs and promotions. Toshiba’s Elera platform was jointly deployed to production using the automatic partitioning of data and the massive elastic scalability of Azure Cosmos DB to enable a centralized omnichannel refund feature that increases operational efficiencies and greatly improves the customer experience. With this enterprise solution, customers can modernize their retail platforms in less time.
- Know your customers. Customers expect exceptional service and are ready to give brands access to their data for convenience and personalization. But organizational silos often create barriers between accessing this sought-after information and its implementation. Actually, 55 percent of business leaders Report data silos and data management difficulties as obstacles.
To meet consumers’ personalization and convenience expectations, retailers need to develop authentic and accessible end-to-end experiences that require understanding of their customers and all of their data. Using Microsoft Azure Synapse AnalyticsRetailers can leverage industry standards through the Common Data Model and an open ecosystem approach. With the ability to analyze data from across the enterprise, they can gain critical insights and apply it to unique solutions that suit their priorities and meet the needs of their customers.
- Building a stable supply chain. In today’s digital-physical hybrid shopping world, an intelligent, resilient supply chain is a significant competitive advantage. It enables retailers to optimize speed and costs, achieve sustainable profitability, and create industry-scale feedback loops. It also enables direct-to-consumer opportunities.
Retailers can use it to optimize resource planning for companies in the cloud SAP-certified infrastructure in Azure as well as the comprehensive set of SAP digital supply chain solutions under Microsoft Azure.
Offer industry-leading robotic micro-fulfillment solutions that can help you cut costs, save storage space and improve delivery metrics Attabotics. Orchestrate a final mile experience with FarEye. Scale supply chain visibility to dynamically update supply chain planning and automate decision making Blue over there.
To enable a transformation in all these areas, Microsoft Systems Integrator Accenture has developed a new offering called Retail Applied Intelligence, known as ai.RETAIL. The solution is designed to drive profitable growth using leading edge AI specifically designed for the retail industry to enable deep understanding of customers, scale personalization and balance speed and cost across the supply chain.
Intelligent solutions for sustainable retail
We look forward to serving our retail customers with a smart, industry-focused, and secure platform provided by a trusted partner – Microsoft Azure. Today we announced the Microsoft Cloud Preview for Retail. Azure is proud to be a foundational platform for this industry-specific cloud solution.