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Creating the optimal retail store experience

Suppose your centralized device monitoring system allowed you

No one knows what the future will bring. But I’m confident that our enabling platform strategy with Microsoft will allow Smart & Final to embrace it.
Zeke Duge
CIO
Smart & Final

 

to anticipate precisely when a magnetic stripe card reader located in a store five states away was going to fail, allowing you to repair or replace it well before the store’s own personnel even knew there was a problem.

Or that your IT department could remotely install a new value-added application throughout your entire chain, literally overnight.

Or that empowering employees with real-time information about products, services, and the purchase history of the customer they’re helping at the moment was a manageable, cost-effective part of store operations.

These are only a few examples of what’s possible for retailers today with a connected store—a comprehensive approach to store systems solutions. A connected store encompasses all three elements of Microsoft Smarter Retailing—smarter shopping, smarter selling, and smarter operations—to provide a technology platform designed to help retailers create the right customer, associate, and operational experiences.

A connected store allows retailers to address two questions that are vital to sustained success in a sharply competitive marketplace: “How do I keep doing what I am doing today?” and “How can I keep attracting customers to my store in the future?”

Benefits of the connected store

Microsoft helps retailers answer both questions with a combination of key benefits:

  • Centralized manageability. Microsoft’s system management capabilities are designed to lower life cycle costs by centralizing management, deployment, and monitoring of store solutions. Retailers can consolidate IT resources and expertise; proactively respond to system and security issues, minimizing the need for store visits; and more cost-effectively implement value-added solutions that create optimized experiences.

  • Choice. The Microsoft platform is interoperable by design, and our rich solution partner ecosystem leverages that platform. This empowers retailers to either create or choose from available best-of-breed solutions to meet their current business needs, while laying the groundwork to take advantage of future opportunities in a timely, cost-effective manner. This platform can also easily interoperate with non-Microsoft and/or legacy solutions, thus enabling the option to get more value out of existing solutions.

  • Empowerment. Microsoft-based solutions deliver relevant, real-time information to those who need it, anytime, anywhere, and on any device. In addition, Microsoft is a leader in consumer technology, so its consistent, easy-to-use interface is familiar to a large user base of both customers and store associates. This allows collaboration at multiple levels: within the store itself; between headquarters and stores; throughout the retail enterprise; and creating new opportunities by connecting to consumer devices. Being empowered means retailers can create consumer interactions that take place when, how, and where the customer wants them, thus enabling the optimized experiences that build loyalty.

  • Commitment to standards. With the combination of these major benefits and a rich solution partner ecosystem, a connected store offers retailers a working solution today, while also laying the foundation to provide optimized experiences to customers and store associates when the retailer is ready to take on those initiatives. Most importantly, retailers can use the same platform running the corporate headquarters to simultaneously run the stores, making for easier integration within the enterprise. This path takes the retailer from their store today toward an environment with greater flexibility and business agility, creating opportunities for improvements in efficiency, customer satisfaction and profitability.


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