Retailers experienced more change in the last decade than nearly any other industry, a trend that is not likely to slow as we enter 2020. The only certainty in the new decade is the need for technologies that help retailers stay nimble, relevant, and anticipate customer needs and shopping preferences.
As my colleague Shelley Bransten, Corporate Vice President, Retail and Consumer Goods Industries, shared in a blog post today, consumers are driving the future of retail—from when, where, and how they engage with a retail brand to demands for higher standards in data privacy and secure shopping. Technology will usher in a new era of intelligent retail experiences across every storefront, physical and digital.
Next week, at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show, Microsoft will demonstrate Dynamics 365 solutions as part of the breadth of our company’s offerings, that will power retail innovation in the next decade. These applications unify customer experiences across every commerce channel from physical to online stores and pop up shops to subscription services as well as unlock AI-powered insights from the back office to the frontline to deliver exceptional, personalized customer experiences.
This vision for the future of retail is spotlighted by new features and product releases announced today:
- Dynamics 365 Commerce, generally available on February 3rd is a modern omnichannel commerce solution that unifies back office, e-commerce, in-store, and call center and simplifies the integration of new emerging channels.
- Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection, featuring two new capabilities to reduce fraud and related costs while improving the buying experience: loss prevention and account protection, available for preview on March 2nd.
- Dynamics 365 Connected Store is an application that combines AI-driven insights and IoT-connected sensors and cameras to empower retailers with real-time observational data to improve in-store performance, coming to preview later this calendar year.
Deliver insightful shopping experiences
Omnichannel retailing is now the standard for success in the market. For too many retailers, however, the slow adoption of technology to support the model has hampered progress toward truly unified cross-channel shopping experiences that bridge physical and online channels.
At NRF, Microsoft will demonstrate a modern, flexible cloud commerce solution that powers rich, customer-first experiences at all touchpoints. Dynamics 365 Commerce, slated for general availability on February 3rd, is an evolution of our Dynamics 365 Retail offering and delivers a comprehensive omnichannel solution to unify back-office, e-commerce, in-store, and call center experiences.
Spotlighted features for the February 3rd launch include:
- Native e-commerce capabilities, featuring built-in web authoring and development tools to create engaging, intelligent digital storefronts, plus a connected marketing and commerce platform for seamless management of content, assets, promotions, inventory, and pricing across channels.
- Native integration with Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection.
- AI-moderated ratings and reviews and intelligent customer recommendations for more personalized customer experiences.
Dynamics 365 Commerce customers are finding new ways to build brand loyalty, optimize operations and supply-chain efficiencies, and deliver better business outcomes. Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the third-largest premium wine company in the United States, leverages Dynamics 365 Commerce to provide a seamless customer experience across all three direct-to-consumer channels, e-commerce, brick and mortar, and clubs, and across the different brands in the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates portfolio. With a full end-to-end retail solution, Ste. Michelle can put the customer at the center of the buying journey and provide more personalized and timely customer recommendations and experiences from the tasting room to digital touchpoints.
“From the moment a consumer visits one of our wineries or tasting rooms, joins one of our clubs, or decides to purchase products online, we want to remove all sources of friction that come between the consumer and the perfect wine choice.” – Francis Perrin, Chief Marketing Officer for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
Protect your e-commerce business and customers
Even for global e-commerce leaders, it’s not always easy to safeguard millions of transactions and deliver the best possible shopping and purchasing experiences at the same time. The accelerating shift toward omnichannel has increased the threat of fraud-related losses. And greater exposure to theft or improper discounting can introduce more pressure on the already thin margins in brick and mortar stores. In fact, fraudulent transactions globally account for over $175 billion in fraud-related costs every year.
In 2019, Microsoft introduced Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection to help reduce fraud and its related costs, increase revenue, and deliver better buying experiences with lower friction and more support.
Today we’re announcing two new capabilities for Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection—both available for preview on March 2nd—to help prevent loss and mitigate risks for merchants, leveraging the power of big data and ethical AI to provide a best-in-class fraud solution for omnichannel merchants:
- Account protection helps retailers recognize patterns related to fraudulent e-commerce activities during account creation or attempted hijacking. Account protection uses artificial intelligence to aid in decreasing the costs of account fraud by helping to reduce the number of fraudulent accounts, in turn protecting the businesses’ reputation and improving customer experiences and satisfaction.
Account protection can help retailers improve the bottom line by reducing fraud activities and friction throughout the customer journey, improve business reputation by preventing negative exposure due to fraudulent activity, and increase customer satisfaction by protecting customer authenticity and privacy.
- Loss prevention helps reduce fraud in brick and mortar stores and boost revenues at the retailer by providing insights around returns and discount fraud. By using data from commerce systems and the power of AI, loss prevention helps merchants decipher patterns of losses from returns, improper discounts, merchandise mishandling, and inventory turn-over.
Loss prevention helps provide anomaly reporting and actionable insights that allow retailers to gain visibility into specific business functions which may require additional controls. In addition, loss prevention can help reduce the manual effort needed to determine the business entities and functions which are at risk.
BESTSELLER, the international clothing and accessories company, is leveraging Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection to reduce fraud-related losses across its 70 markets spanning most of Europe, the Middle East, Canada, India and globally via e-commerce. BESTSELLER uses Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection to spot patterns of activity that suggest fraud and work to remedy the situation within its stores. After a successful pilot deployment, BESTSELLER is rolling out Fraud Protection across its stores in Europe, and eventually the world. The company projects that it will save millions of dollars as a result, while also boosting BESTSELLER’s core value of trust.
“By identifying fraud and loss quickly with Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection, we’re boosting business outcomes and building a culture where our core value of honesty is practiced by everyone every day.” – Kim Guldager, Senior Program Manager at BESTSELLER.
Help bridge digital and physical worlds
With real-time observational data about customer movement or the status of products and store devices, there’s tremendous opportunity to gain a better understanding of the retail space and improve in-store performance. Microsoft is dedicated to helping retailers adapt and optimize physical retail spaces to meet new levels of customer expectation.
Available in preview later this year, Dynamics 365 Connected Store helps retailers both understand how customers use the retail space over time, as well as monitor real-time activities from checkout line queues to shelf voids to help frontline workers deliver exceptional customer service.
Connected Store can optimize the shopping experience in real time through triggered alerts based on real-time data from video cameras and IoT sensors and also provides longer term insight that can illuminate patterns and opportunities that lie within the day-to-day occurrences of a retail space.
Marks & Spencer, for instance, is using Dynamics 365 Connected Store to capture observational data from customer behavior across multiple stores worldwide, and over a period of time, to identify patterns and trends. This unlocks the opportunity to predict inventory needs and replenish stock levels in real time, all to create first class experiences for the customer.
See what’s in store for retail and technology
Microsoft, along with our global partner ecosystem, is dedicated to enabling intelligent retail by empowering the industry with the tools to unlock the full potential of customers, employees, and data. Together with the solutions highlighted above, NRF attendees can see demonstrations of our portfolio of business applications which will include Supply Chain Management, Customer Insights, and Power BI dashboards for frontline workers to the back office. We’ll also be showing our new mixed reality solution, Product Visualize, that lets sales representatives place a 3D digital twin of a product in their customer’s environment.
Get the full story
For those attending NRF, stop by the Microsoft booth for immersive demonstrations of our full range of retail solutions, attend deep dive sessions, network with us at the FQ Lounge, and more. View the agenda for all the ways to engage with us at NRF.
We also invite you to view our latest research, the Retail Trends Playbook 2020 for more insights into emerging trends that will help empower retailers to create exceptional, insightful shopping experiences for customers.
Corporate Vice President, Business Applications & Industry