I was recently invited to Microsoft’s* campus to see the cool things they have been up to and one of the highlights was visiting the Microsoft Retail Experience Center. This was an on-premise environment that replicated various retailers and showcased cool technologies that retailers – big and small – could use to amp-up their business, supported by Azure.
Some of the highlights:
There were many more examples, but that’s just some of the creative ways retailers will be using technology, many that could add significant ROI to a retail business.
I will say one other thing that stood out, is that using the Azure platform in the cloud gives companies full control over their own data. This means that the very robust and valuable customer behavioral and related data that you, as a retailer, collect from implementing new technologies is fully owned and controlled by you, and not shared with Microsoft. This is very different from other cloud providers, who, as part of their services agreement, have access to the aggregated data that you collect while using their platforms – something that you should seriously consider before you pick a cloud-services provider.
If you are a retailer or aspiring retailer that wants to implement technologies, there are a bevy of partners that can help you to think through and implement the new technologies in your location. Some of the ones highlighted at the Retail Experience Center included Ava Retail and Swivel.
As a customer as well as a customer loyalty and experience strategist, I look forward to seeing entrepreneurs implement these technologies and variations on them to improve the customer experience – and their own business success.
* Disclosure: this company has a client relationship with CarolRoth.com or its affiliated entities.