Microsoft recently announced the launch of two new AI-powered Dynamics 365 apps which evolve its existing Dynamics 365 for Retail offering: Dynamics 365 Commerce and Dynamics 365 Connected Store.

The launch of these two new applications sets out Microsoft’s vision for retail and is a testimony to its commitment to developing intelligent solutions that empower retailers to transform the customer experience.

“AI in retail is not a new concept. We have seen an increase in applications and use, online and offline for some time now,” explains Jos Otermans, Enterprise Solution Architect at HSO. “But with the launch of these two new applications, Microsoft makes new and innovative applications of AI much more accessible, so that retailers can immediately improve their customer experience.”

Unlock the hidden insights of the physical retail space

The rise of e-commerce has created tough trading conditions for the physical retail store. With today’s omni-channel consumers in full control of how, where and when they shop, retailers are facing the challenge of ensuring a consistent level of service and convenience across their digital presence and brick and mortar stores – from stocking the same variety of inventory to offering personalised recommendations based on browsing and buying behaviour.

However, whilst gaining a full picture of your customers’ product preferences and browsing behaviour online is relatively straightforward, this insight has traditionally been lacking in the physical retail space with data usually limited to what’s held in your point of sale (POS) system and important competitive information still largely untapped.

How do shoppers move through the store? Which shelves and displays do they stop at? What items are picked up and what gets left behind or returned to the shelves? What questions do the shop assistants get asked?

Video | Microsoft

Introducing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Connected Store

Discover the purpose and functionality of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Connected Store offering. In this video, you'll get an understanding of a customer journey with Dynamics 365 Connected Store, learn about the benefits that it can provide through preview partnership, and find out how it empowers retailers with real-time observational data to improve in-store performance.

Video | Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer deploys Dynamics 365 Connected Store

Watch the video to see how Marks & Spencer is leveraging Microsoft Dynamics 365 Connected Store at its London flagship store as part of its drive to become a ‘digital-first’ retailer.

How Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things can help increase store efficiency

How can you capture and make sense of this data that is generated in your stores? Dynamics 365 Connected Store empowers physical retailers to understand and improve the in-store experience by analysing disparate data captured by video cameras and IoT sensors to provide real-time and predictive insights that help retailers and store assistants to make better decisions.

Using a combination of observational and store equipment data, Dynamics 365 Connected Store enables retailers to gain actionable insight and create automated alerts that can improve store efficiency and ultimately improve the customer experience. Using sensor or camera data, Dynamics 365 Connected Store can, for example, alert your store assistants via instant notifications to open an extra till during busy periods to reduce queues and improve the checkout experience or to keep shelves fully stocked with fast-moving products.

In addition to this, Dynamics 365 Connected Store, supported by Azure IoT Central, enables retailers to monitor the condition of their store equipment such as refrigerators, freezers and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Utilising IoT sensors to monitor temperature and humidity, enables retailers to quickly discover any anomalies to protect inventory and ensure a pleasant climate in store. Dynamics 365 Connected Store also tracks long-term trends in the retail space, highlighting patterns and opportunities across day-to-day, season-to-season activities and occurrences ensuring timely maintenance of equipment and limiting disruption to store devices all of which ultimately optimise the customer experience.

Would you like to find out more about Dynamics 365 Connected Store? Feel free to contact us at info-uk@hso.com or +44 (0) 203 128 7767.