Retail in Asia

In Trends

Microsoft brings advancing solutions to Asian retailers

Microsoft on Monday showcased its intelligent systems powered by Windows Embedded technology with its partners Fujitsu, NEC, Toshiba Tec and Razorfish at a media briefing in Japan.

The intelligent system enables data to flow across an enterprise infrastructure, spanning the devices where valuable data is gathered from employees and customers, to the back-end systems where that data can be translated into insights and action, according to the US technology giant. With this capability, companies can unlock hidden value from data previously out-of-reach, and immediately act on new insights to increase business value.

John Boladian, the marketing director of Windows Embedded Microsoft Corp for the Asia-Pacific and greater China, at the media briefing stated many challenges that retailers are now facing in greater frequency. Some of the greater difficulties are managing the information that is already there while making that information available to be used productively, and the loss of opportunities to gather even more of that information.

"Being able to drive a great customer experience with somebody is very crucial to being able to retain them as a customer in today’s competitive environment, this is something that our retail customers absolutely must do," said Boladian.

By stating the limitations of previous methods and systems he showed to the media how the Microsoft embedded software is able to correct those issues and increase productivity. The simplicity of having one system which is able to communicate with other devices easily will simplify the infrastructure needs of a business while increasing the ability to use those systems to their full potential. And while that helps the stores, the greater advantage the Microsoft embedded systems will be allowing the shop itself to recognises a consumer and provides a more personal experience for each person who enters the store.

Jonathan Hull, vice president of Emerging Experience, Razorfish, introduced the company’s 5D Retail Experience Platform, powered by Windows Embedded technology, which enables the creation of an immersive and seamless digital ecosystem across several digital devices in retail environments. 

In order to draw more people into the store, visual displays will be able to sense a nearby person. Based on both the advanced hardware and intelligent software, the 5D platform is able to recognise relative age and gender. That does not sound too impressive by itself, but the ability to display items that interest certain groups when in view would increase the use of store displays as well as list products on promotion that those groups may be interested in. And all these devices are able to communicate with each other and allow the consumer’s devices to become part of the shopping experience. 

Luke Hamilton, creative lead of Razorfish Emerging Experiences, spoke of how the 5D platform would allow shoppers to enter the store and be provided the inventory of the entire store on the wide array of smartphones used today as well as displays in store, or even devices provided by the store. These items will be able to wirelessly connect to the software in place, or enable someone to use their phone to do a search of products in the store on the internet by scanning a tag. By doing that, a list of suggestions can be created on an as-needed basis. This can allow a salesperson to have a general idea of the desires of the shopper and allow them to provide meaningful suggestions. All of this creates an environment that is unique to each shopper while encouraging purchases within the store. 

As people become better able to access information whenever or wherever they are it becomes increasingly harder to stand out from competitors. Additionally, a large amount of information from every transaction or item purchased in store is wasted. Microsoft, with the help of its partners, plan on changing this – not only to improve store logistics but also to establish or strengthen a consumer’s loyalty to that store.