Microsoft at NRF 2014

At the National Retail Federation (NRF) 2014 annual convention, Microsoft Corp. showcased the latest release of Microsoft Dynamics for Retail. The release featured innovation in mobile commerce, catalog, and call center sales, as well as advanced operations for warehousing, transportation, and logistics management. Businesses such as Ashley Furniture Industries, Delta Air Lines, and Jean Coutu Group were also featured as ones delivering amazing experiences to their customers via a true underlying omni-channel commerce engine.
Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail 2012 R3
A few years back, Microsoft selected Microsoft Dymanics AX as a global retail platform. The investments in retail capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 are in the following four areas:
  1. Mobility: to give access to retailers and their consumers virtually anywhere, anytime, on any device. The company highlighted solution innovations on Windows Mobile devices and Microsoft Surface 2.
  2. E-commerce and social: to provide retailers with an opportunity to offer consumers an omnichannel shopping experience.
  3. Enterprise manageability: to be supported by setup and upgrade of retail stores per store in order to phase and align deployment with business requirements, large-scale deployment using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, and monitoring and diagnostics using Microsoft System Center Operations Management.
  4. Industry eExcellence: to enrich specific retail scenarios including pricing and promotions, assortment and catalog, business intelligence (BI) and reporting, and seasonality and markdowns enhancements.
Additionally, warehousing and transportation capabilities form part of the retail supply chain, extending Microsoft’s intended holistic retail offering from sales to supply. Warehousing and transportation have always been very important for retailers. For example, retail distribution centers (DCs) normally distribute goods to retail stores, order fulfillment centers commonly distribute goods directly to consumers, and cross-dock facilities store little or no product but distribute goods to other destinations. With the help of Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft’s retail customers can distribute products from DCs to retail stores and meet the demand, decide how much of each product should be procured at each DC, re-stock retail stores with products from DCs, select optimal transportation modes to be used for warehouse replenishment and customer deliveries, and more.
Expanding Retail Partner Ecosystem
Building on its commitment to deliver even more complete shopping experiences, Microsoft announced new alliances with Vantiv Inc. and Sitecore, as well as an expanded consulting relationship with IBM.

As part of Microsoft’s alliance with Vantiv, a provider of omnichannel payment processing services and related technology solutions, Microsoft Dynamics for Retail will deliver a new range of solutions for mobile POS and cloud-connected payments that can help businesses maximize their customer reach. The combination of Microsoft’s technology with Vantiv’s scalable, integrated payment processing services and technology should make it easy for businesses to offer better customer experiences, whether through simple mobile payment collection in the field and individual direct-sales transactions or retail store operations.

Meanwhile Sitecore, a global provider of customer experience management software, will offer an enterprise e-commerce solution based entirely on Microsoft technology. This combined solution is expected to give businesses the ability to design completely connected online experiences optimized for the behaviors, devices, and preferences of visitors with more complete, real-time, omnichannel order management.

For more on Microsoft’s NRF 2014 presence, see the company’s blog post.
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