The use of Azure within retail

Retail! The word that gives many people either fear or excitement; to me retail is a huge industry that excels but due to bad articles in newspaper’s or interviews with the newest face of Vogue, people still have very opinionated views on this industry. However, in the world of retail its like the world of technology – an on growing idea.

Some of you are probably thinking what is this girl talking about an on growing idea? I basically mean anyone can produce an idea but its then being able to update it, using the same product and adding to it to make that product grow. Take an iPhone for example it began and maybe once or twice a year they will bring a new one out with different new updates. (Apple, please add the headphone hole back!)

So, Azure for retail – how can that help? Well, Microsoft has its own Azure for Intelligent Retail its designed to “Create a personalized and seamless shopping experience that influences buying behaviour, empowers employees to delight consumers with outstanding service at every point along their shopping journey and optimize retail operations with an intelligent, trusted, and secure platform.”

With retail being such a big competitor and having many brands that do the exact same, it’s important that a brand makes themselves different. By using Azure for Intelligent Retail, it can help a company recognise and gather shopping behaviour data that can predict customer needs and interests. This will then react with a customer offering them personalised offers and experience. Therefore, creating an increase in relevance of the brand, effectiveness of promotions, plus increasing sales for the company.

Customer satisfaction is the main success in retail, and many other industries. Giving people who may work for that company opportunities that increase productivity will allow people to work effectivity and act quick upon the delivery of their customer service. Azure is both reliable and secure using advanced analytics which helps forecasting, predicts customer demand, increase’s repeat purchase. Whilst keeping both customer and employee data protected.

What is data? Data is “facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis.” There are masses of data out there which will help to understand your customer base, helping offerings – and creating new ones. This will make you stand out from any competition.

So, it’s all good giving info on Azure for Intelligent Retail but the real question is who uses it? Many big competitors are already hooked on Azure for Intelligent Retail one being ASOS which is an online fashion retailer. In 2016, they transferred their systems to Azure which created their website the ability to handle more than double the volume of Black Friday orders from the year before. ASOS has also been able to develop new mobile apps and features to target new markets and keep ahead of their competitors, and technology trends.

At risual we’ve produced a customer experience application called Akin; currently in operation it’s already returned a significant ROI in less than 4 months. This will allow brands to connect with their customers giving them opportunities to make use of their shopping experience. Akin will narrow recommended products that will tailor to the user, it also has a section that you can add items you are interested in into a wish list. Another helpful option is messages this will allow brands to invite customers to any events or promotions that they may be having.

Another retailer is Marc Jacobs, being on the higher spectrum of brands there brand depends on acts of inspiration; this requires them to access products, services and talent from around the world. But importantly management of the actual brand itself. Marc Jacobs decided to take the step into the cloud to automate its account payable workflow and process data on Azure – these are usually manual processes that involve paper invoices getting sent through post and account a long cycle. With this new software Marc Jacobs will have all these processes stopped making there cycles shorter and making it easier to pay its sellers whilst letting their employees get back to creating new ideas for its brand.

So hopefully I have given some interesting information for you and if you still have questions don’t be scared to call or email us, we are all happy to help!

Written by Megan Smith – Sales Operations Assistant Apprentice 

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