Steve Shebuski, VP of Digital Strategy
Guiding businesses through their digital transformation journey
The retail industry has changed significantly. With rapidly advancing technology, readily available information triggered a change in consumer’s expectations. As customer thinking shifts, retailers must embrace digital transformation as a necessary part of redefining their business.
Microsoft identified 6 retail trends to provide insight into how your customers are thinking and empower you to create an outstanding customer experience.
1. Customer Experience is Everything
This year, Millennials take the lead as the generation with the largest population, trailed closely by Gen Z. As retailers, you now face consumers that are better informed, demand a personalized and seamless omni-channel experience, and are more focused on price then Baby Boomers ever were. With access to all your competitor’s product information at their fingertips, how will your brand ever stand out?
Consumers want to feel a genuine and unique connection to your brand. They look for companies that personalize the buyer’s process to each individual and provide them with the information necessary to make a purchase.
Microsoft found that 86% of customers will pay more for a better experience.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 collects valuable data from your customers that tells you exactly what they want and how they want the purchasing experience to be. Even with evolving customer demands and preferences, D365 and Power BI help companies provide better service and exceed expectation as every part of the purchasing process.
2. The Changing Face of Retail
Big businesses are starting to feel the pressure from younger, more nimble companies. Being smaller in size, younger companies have more freedom to personalize their customer’s experiences and products to fit their needs. Online companies have even more elasticity to quickly reimagine their business model when trends and consumer preferences change.
On-demand, subscription-based, and Anything as a Service (XaaS) are increasing in popularity. Economy sharing services like Airbnb and Uber are cutting out the middle man by providing personalized experiences directly to the customer.
The direct-to-consumer approach is preferred by 75% of customers because it caters directly to their needs.
Being quick on your feet and having the right technology can be crucial in staying current in the market. Azure provides you with analytics, collaboration tools, development platforms, and the technology needed to redefine your business. The platform gives you insight to new ways to satisfy customers, meet their ever-changing needs and transform your workforce into an innovative team.
3. The Everywhere Store
Customers value their purchasing power. Their buying mantra is what they want, when and where they want it. Even social media has become a purchasing platform.
“Businesses can no longer force customers to a website to make a purchase—instead, every platform is a purchase platform.”
With so many purchasing options, consistency becomes more important than ever. Customers expect to have a similar experience no matter which channel they choose to make their purchases.
By using Microsoft D365 you can provide a seamless shopping experience across all purchasing channels and offer more fulfillment options. You can empower customers to shop on their terms while increasing satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Employees also benefit from D365’s capabilities. From better communication to more accurate reporting, employees have the resources they need to deliver better customer experiences.
4. Operations Drive Excellence
Automation technology, robotics, and intelligent supply chains are shifting from a novelty to a necessity in 2019. The growth of blockchain provides a system of data sharing that gives transparency into your supply chain that customers assume you have. Customers expect more information about their purchases, fast fulfillment and a flawless experience. Your consumers have questions and you need to have the answers.
83% of shoppers believe they are more knowledgeable than retail store associates
D365 streamlines your supply, demand and fulfillment operations. Combine this with mobile technology, and you empower employees with the answers they need right when they need them.
To take your business a step further, Power BI can be used. By harnessing the capabilities of Microsoft’s Power BI, you increase visibility into your analytics and provide employees with the data they need to make more informed operation decisions.
5. Next-gen technology makes an appearance
Businesses are working smarter as new technologies impact the customer journey. Drones can deliver packages. Augmented reality (AR) can show you how your new couch will look in your living room.
54% of retailers already use or plan to use Artificial Intelligence.
As on-demand manufacturing grows, so does the need for the smart technological advances. These technologies give businesses the opportunity to enhance the customer’s experiences. D365 gives you the tools you need to leverage these new technology and drive innovation.
D365 changes the way retailers do business. With a platform that utilizes evergreen IT, your workforce has the right tools to innovate and create positive change. Applications can be easily tailored, scaled, extended, and connected to other apps and services.
6. Companies face new risks and challenges
This “Age of Uncertainty” has brought new regulations that put pressure on retail businesses.
Just under 50% of business leaders feel they are exposed to more uncertainties than 3 years ago.
With all these new responsibilities, having visibility across your business becomes more important than ever. Azure provides the security and transparency needed to manage risk and adapt quickly to changing market conditions.
Having the transparency and agility of D365 allows you to deploy what you want, when you need it. You have access to easily manage systems and leverage new capabilities quickly.
Embrace the Change
Retailers are used to change. They understand changing preferences, seasonality and trends. This isn’t the first time the industry has been dramatically affected by technology and it won’t be the last. What makes the difference is when businesses transform where it counts.
If you have questions about which solution is right for your business, contact Blue Horseshoe.
Download Microsoft’s Full Article: 2019 Retail Trends Report