If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that it will take all of us working together to ensure the future of retail is meeting today’s consumer needs. The world of retail has been forever shaped by new behaviors, and many are here to stay. Business-as-usual will no longer meet these expectations. With the rise of blended consumer shopping behaviors, persistent supply chain constraints, and a serious labor shortage, a new reality has emerged. A reality that requires retailers to accelerate their digital capabilities to give consumers what they want before they’ve asked, align their supply chain by anticipating this demand, and empower the industry’s superheroes—retail frontline workers.
With the February 1 general availability of Microsoft Cloud for Retail, I’m optimistic we’re going to meet this challenge head-on with technology that will help retailers connect their customers, their people, and their data with a partner they can trust.
What is Microsoft Cloud for Retail?
Microsoft Cloud for Retail is an industry-specific cloud that will help retailers meet this new age of digital optimism. Customers have asked us for purpose-built retail solutions designed to allow their businesses to do things they’ve never been able to do before and with a level of speed and specificity beyond what they’ve expected in the past. Our long history of scope and scale in the retail industry has been brought to the cloud. And we’re helping to accelerate business growth by providing a complete set of retail-specific capabilities across the Microsoft Cloud portfolio.
It starts by unifying disparate data sources across the end-to-end shopper journey, allowing retailers to maximize the value of their data, and resulting in one holistic view of the consumer. Once connected, data and AI help retailers better understand and elevate the consumer shopping experience. In providing more relevant and streamlined experiences throughout the retail value chain, retailers can build a real-time sustainable supply chain and empower their frontline workforce.
“With Microsoft Cloud for Retail, our increased knowledge of individual customer journeys will further strengthen our customer relationships and turn GNC into people’s primary destination for health and wellness.”—Scott Saeger , Chief Information Officer, GNC
Entering the 2022 retail space
Looking ahead, I’d like to share four future-looking opportunities that retailers can be optimistic about in 2022, all of which will be enabled with Microsoft Cloud for Retail capabilities and our rich ecosystem of partners.
Author: Shelley Bransten Corporate Vice President, WW Retail & Consumer Goods Industry