Retail has always been a challenging and hypercompetitive industry. But these days, it seems to be a difficult landscape to navigate, given the influx of new players in the market and the lightning-fast changes in consumer buying behaviors. As a result, retailers–and especially their IT departments–are racing to find ways of accommodating consumer preferences before their competitors to gain a competitive advantage.
Most of us recognize that e-commerce has, in many instances, replaced the traditional in-store retail experience. But what many people fail to recognize is the degree to which online and offline channels have converged, creating new opportunities to attract new customers, engage them, and facilitate a relationship with the brand to keep them coming back time and again.
Merging the online and offline retail worlds
Consumers across the board are increasingly expecting more personalized shopping experiences both in the store and online. In fact, some surveys suggest that 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from retailers that offer personalized services such as being recognized by name, being offered relevant recommendations, and being remembered based on purchase history.
And with more than 90% of consumers having at least one connected device, the opportunities for delivering differentiated, personalized experiences are more plentiful than ever–if only retail IT could make it happen.
Retail IT teams are often stuck with legacy IT systems that are inflexible, siloed, and underpowered to keep up with consumer expectations and demands. These systems and applications require cumbersome processes for collecting and analyzing consumer data and by the time a company has analyzed the information and begun projects to address the trends, the market opportunity has already passed.
As brick-and-mortar experiences continue to cede ground to online and mobile channels, retailers need to be able to accurately predict the next trends and position themselves to capitalize or even set them. Retailers aiming to future-proof their businesses need to efficiently collect, analyze, and mobilize consumer data and quickly develop new services and solutions to emotionally connect with customers in every interaction, across every channel.
Microsoft Azure offers hybrid cloud services that IT professionals can use to rapidly build, deploy, and manage applications to modernize their infrastructure. Azure allows companies to collect massive amounts of data, analyze it faster, and deliver new products and services that capitalize on emerging consumer trends.
With Azure, retail IT teams are agile enough to respond quickly to shifting market conditions and consumer preferences without sacrificing the safety and security of sensitive customer data security. And when the powerful platform is paired with the knowledge and experience of certified Microsoft technology partners like NetEnrich, retailers can create new revenue opportunities, while slashing operating expenses for larger margins and greater profitability – now and in the future.
Download our white paper, “Future-Proofing Retail IT with Cloud Services” to learn more about how Microsoft Azure streamlines retail operations for higher performing digital marketing campaigns, personalized shopping experiences, and enhanced data security.