Microsoft transforms at NRF’s Big Show, which is going to start this week in New York City.
The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual Big Show starts this week in New York City. Microsoft is going to unveiling the latest digital innovations that are renovating the shopping experience for customers – at every step of their journey, across every channel. Where the personalization, omni channel and customer-centricity are not new themes, retailers are more aware to compete in today’s world requires emphasis on the entire customer journey. Technology and culture changes are required at any level of a retail organization to provide the experiences customers expect.
We call this as digital transformation, and many of our retail customers are already embracing this shift with help from technologies such as Power BI and Microsoft Azure and Dynamics 365, as well as from our global network of partners. The display of hardware and software in our booth at NRF this week from these customers and partners are impressive including store-scanning robots, mobile apps.Here are some of the solutions to Microsoft customers and partners that are implementing to use technology in new ways, from the warehouse to checkout.
Creating personalized experiences for customers
- Nordstrom Rack aims for surprise and delight. In its pursuit of persistent improvement in the customer experience, Nordstrom Rack is piloting in-store beacon technology from Footmarks, built on the Microsoft Cloud, to better engage and personalize shoppers’ experiences and ultimate increase in speed and convenience. Today, Nordstrom Rack is using the beacons to gather data and will hope to better engage and serve customers. It also tests some messaging displays via the beacons to direct shoppers to available fitting rooms or to express checkout services, and to show customers extended product offerings that are available online while they are shopping in-store.
Mobile grocery checkout with SKIP
SKIP is back at NRF this year, and Macey’s, an Associated Food Stores grocery chain based, is using the SKIP app for line-free checkout and to better personalize offers and promotions for customers. Built on Azure, SKIP also enables the shoppers to build shopping lists at home and have their lists organized by aisle as they stats to walk to store. Then simply they scan each item as they can place it in their cart and check out on the app when it’s finished. In the first two months of deployment, Macey’s has observed an repeat increase in usage of SKIP from guests as well as an increase in average trips to the store and basket size., Macey’s has been able to redeploy cashiers to the store floor to better assist customers and provide the “Happy Shopping” experience.
Driving innovation for better business outcomes
- Unstocked shelves have met their match. Microsoft’s partner Lakeba has harnessed the power of robotics to solve the problems like low stock levels and also like incorrect product ticketing. Available as a robot or drone, Shelfie travels the store scanning shelves, enabling real-time stock reporting, identifying sales trends and providing intelligent insights to help optimize merchandise displays. With data analytics solutions running in Microsoft Azure, Shelfie empowers retailers to grow their sales, revenue and optimize profit margins — and frees up employees to focus on tasks that adds to the bottom-line value. Shelfie will soon be piloted in U.K.-based supermarket Co-Op.
Powershelf helps manage stock
Regional supermarket chain Giant Eagle turned into a Powershelf as a system and support from Hitachi Consulting to digitize inventory management. Running on Microsoft Azure, Powershelf uses sensors on shelves and Power BI dashboards to give employees up-to-date insight into what to order. The technology can also be changed by pricing electronically, measure inventory life and send shoppers the product information. Powershelf has helped Giant Eagle to reduce its out-of-stock replenishment time by two-thirds and cut its out-of-stock SKUs and even by 50 percent on any given day.
In addition to help our customers and partners, we’re innovating with the needs of retailers keeping in mind as well. Last week, Microsoft has also released StaffHub, a new app for retail or any business with deskless employees. StaffHub makes it easy for retail managers to manage shift schedules and share information with their team, and that gives employees access to all their shift information – including the ability to easy swap shifts with others – right on the Microsoft StaffHub mobile app.
We’re are proud to share our space at NRF this week with partners and customers that are delivering as a state-of-the-art retail solutions that harness data, empowering the workforce and optimize business operations. If you’re attending NRF this week, be sure to visit our booth.