Back in 2021, Microsoft announced Cloud for Retail, which is one of its multiple cloud verticals covering various domains including sustainability, non-profit, healthcare, manufacturing, and financial. In a nutshell, Microsoft Cloud for Retail offers purpose-built solutions for the industry, allowing companies to unify all their data sources to get a single view of the customer and then leverage from AI and the data at hand to make informed business decisions. Microsoft has stated that this cloud vertical will hit general availability on February 1, 2022.
Apart from announcing general availability, Microsoft has also highlighted four opportunities that retailers can take advantage of through the capabilities offered by Cloud for Retail.
The first is maximizing the value of retail data through robust data modeling that unifies heterogeneous data sources. This will enable customer profiles, fraud protection, and shopper operational analytics.
Next we have is elevation of the shopping experience by offering personalized recommendations and search results to keep the customer more engaged. This also extends to digital advertising solutions, streamlined customer service, and intelligent stores.
Third on the list is the development of a real-time and sustainable supply chain. Microsoft Cloud for Retail will help stores better predict demand by leveraging the power of AI so they can manage their inventories and orders accordingly. Other capabilities in this domain include reporting and reducing carbon emissions, demand planning, and visibility of the supply chain.
Finally, we have empowerment of the store associate. The idea is to make technology investments for the workforce so that automation and real-time communication is in place. Microsoft claims that the benefits of this approach will be downstreamed to the customer and will result in higher satisfaction levels too.
Microsoft will be sharing more details about this domain at the Retail Digital Forum on January 19, ahead of Cloud for Retail hitting general availability on February 1.