Driving customers to your brand by offering a complete shopping experience

By Michael Griffiths, global product industry director, Retail & Distribution, Microsoft Business Solutions

Today’s retail landscape offers unprecedented opportunity even as it presents new challenges. Economic pressures, increasing choice in products and shopping formats, and unparalleled access to information are fueling today’s empowered shoppers, who expect more from their retail experiences. As the line between social networking and commerce blurs, delivering on the brand promise and earning consumer loyalty are more important than ever.

As the foundation of a retailer’s business, technology becomes more critical, expanding or limiting the ability to seize new opportunities and deliver the shopping experiences that consumers demand. Consider the following questions about the foundational elements of how you run your business and how it was built:

  • Is your foundation stable but siloed?
  • Do you have a structure that is strong but encumbered by the mortar (legacy IT infrastructure, culture, etc.)?  That is, would you have to break apart your foundation to make change?
  • Or, are you strong but flexible? Do you have the ability to snap apart and add on as needed?

The Microsoft technology vision and strategy take advantage of our unique combination of experience—in consumer products, business applications, and Microsoft Store retail operations—to offer retailers solutions that do more, helping them to be dynamic as they meet and exceed customer expectations. We built Dynamics to be one powerful, agile, commerce engine that connects retail enterprise from end to end, driving growth and fostering customer relationships. But, we also understand that implementing new systems and getting them to work with each other can divert attention from business goals. So we believe retail technologies should be flexible enough to work with what you’ve got—you don’t have to implement everything at once. Start with the components most critical to your business, and proceed at the pace that’s right for you.

About a year ago, at last year’s National Retail Federation’s annual conference, we announced the then-upcoming release of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 for Retail. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 for Retail is all about helping retailers to deliver uniquely consistent, convenient and personalized experiences for shoppers….or a “Complete Shopping Experience,” if you want some marketing jazz.

Fast forward a year and we are still driving hard around the notions of the Complete Shopping Experience and the Dynamic Retailer. And there is no better way to show how our retail value proposition is resonating than the increasing number of retailers choosing and successfully implementing our solutions. Through our partnership with Dynamic Retailers like DAVIDsTEA, France’s largest eyewear maker – Optic 2000, and Diane von Furstenberg,  we’re helping companies find their way to dynamic retailing.

At this year’s convention, we generated excitement over exciting new POS solutions, including mobile POS based on Windows 8, Microsoft Surface, and Kinect retail applications. We showed how technology can inspire true person-to-person experiences—not just transactions at a register.

This post originally appeared on the ForbesBrandVoice blog.