Overcoming the challenge of the “always connected” customer

Posted By Myriam Semery
Windows Embedded BG Lead

The 14th International Scala Conference took place in Amsterdam recently, and I was invited to present Microsoft’s vision around intelligent systems to a panel of retailers from across Europe. My focus was on how intelligent systems enable a connected customer experience; specifically, how digital signage reinforces the brand and can be adjusted based on season, day of week, or time of day to more effectively attract target audiences in retail. But I also emphasized how competitive retailers need to turn challenges created by the “always connected” (or digital) shopper into opportunities to engage with customers and win their loyalty. 

Outlining Microsoft’s vision for intelligent systems, in Amsterdam

The digital customer wants to seamlessly shop and purchase anytime, anywhere, using the device of his or her choice. Today’s “always connected” customer demands instant access to information, and that challenges retailers to deliver experiences that not only reflect the personal preference of each buyer but that execute seamlessly across all devices and channels, in a way that is engaging and brand-enhancing—and that ultimately drives repeat business. Because the store plays a central and diversifying role in any omni-channel strategy, it must be efficiently connected to enterprise systems for first-rate customer service.

Smart, connected devices are the expectation today—not the exception. Innovative devices for the stores of tomorrow include modern POS/handhelds for line busting, and interactive and immersive digital signs for virtual dressing rooms. For retailers to be competitive in this new environment, they must capture real-time and over-time data to develop actionable insights that would otherwise be unknown. The insight is then used to identify new business opportunities, optimize the value chain, take advantage of trends, streamline processes, and inform decisions with real world facts.

It’s an exciting and challenging future for retailers; to explore some of the opportunities of intelligent systems in retail, visit our retail page.

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