Microsoft is at the National Retail Federations "Big Show 2016" in New York City this week, where its highlighting the benefits of its newest products and technologies, including its latest Windows 10 operating system, in retail environments. Along with showing off its new vision for a Windows 10 point of sale solution in stores, the company has also been showcasing the efforts of some its partners in the retail sector.
Global snack giant Mondelez International - the company behind hugely popular brands like Oreo cookies and Trident gum - is one such example. Mondelez built the Diji Touch vending machine; powered by Windows 10, Kinect and Azure IoT (Internet of Things), it features a large 40-inch touchscreen, which "allows consumers to interact with products in 3-D, see nutritional and ingredient information, add products to their cart and make a purchase using a variety of payment options".
Mondelez also built an app on Microsofts Universal Windows Platform to ensure "more efficient and proactive maintenance and support for the machines", over 5,000 of which will be deployed across the United States over the next few years.
Microsoft also highlighted the efforts of leading Australian TV and communications company Telstra, which has been overhauling its in-store experience with a "digitally-led customer environment at its flagship Discovery stores in Sydney and Melbourne".
Microsoft said that "traditional" Telstra stores have been "product centric and structured in terms of how the store team interacted with customers", but explained that the changes at its relaunched retail locations have transformed this experience:
Leveraging Windows 10, the Telstra stores offer a mix of highly interactive features, engaging digital content displays, and an ever-changing range of the latest products and services. A key change was the move away from traditional desktop PCs to Windows tablets, so their retail advisors can access all the systems and operational tools to complete a full customer interaction – from exploring products and services to completing the activation, payments, capturing the signature and emailing the receipt and contract – all without leaving the customer’s side.
In a separate blog post, Microsoft referred to several other companies who have been "testing and deploying modern retail solutions" built on its technologies.
Macys, for example, has been using a Microsoft Azure-based dashboard, which Microsoft says "delivers an engaging experience over Surface 3 tablets with Windows 10 to help their management team be more productive wherever they are in the store."
Among other examples - including Virgin Atlantic Airways, LOréal Paris, AVA Retail and FreedomPay - French retailer Fnac was mentioned for its use of Office 365, Skype for Business and Yammer "to streamline collaboration, empower employees and connect its stores and headquarters".
It should come as no great surprise that Microsoft is pushing hard to encourage wider adoption of its products, services and tools in business environments. The company announced earlier this month that "more than 76% of [its] enterprise customers are in active pilots of Windows 10".