Connections, Reflections and Projections at NRF 2011

Happy New Year! As we enter 2011, we look to the future with optimism and excitement.

For those of us gathering this week in New York City for the National Retail Federation’s 100th Annual Convention and Expo, it’s time for both reflection and looking ahead. How did retailers fare in 2010? What’s the latest game-changer that deserves our attention?

While the above and more will be covered during NRF, the consumer is sure to be at the heart of most discussions. To better pinpoint what consumers want and gain brand loyalty in an increasingly competitive market, retailers are looking to social media channels and technology and embracing the concepts of cloud computing to connect with their best customers in today’s ever changing business environment.

And what a whirlwind these times have been! So many transformations and influences have impacted the retail industry in the past 10 years— the Internet, payment card industry compliance, consolidation, multi-channels and the recession. Yet, the single most important transformative influence just may be the transformation of consumers themselves.

Staying Competitive Means Staying Connected

The impact of our 24/7 mobile and digital lifestyles has changed how consumers use technology in their homes, workplace and on the go. Consumers are in the driver’s seat with more information, more options and more expectations when they shop and interact with retailers. They expect seamless, personalized and value-driven experiences, regardless of how they engage. 

Retailers around the world feel the pressure. Staying competitive means staying connected with consumers’ digital and mobile preferences in both the experiences that retailers offer and the ways they interact with their customers. Winning the attention of this new breed of consumer dictates the types of technology investments retailers must add to their technology agendas and implement with speed and rapid return.

A dramatic shift in consumer demographics is upon us with retiring boomers, an emerging middle class in emerging markets and maturing members of Generation Y raised on all things mobile. This shift will surely impact retailers’ business environment and technology investments over the next decade. The question is: Will retailers be ready?

Thriving in Dynamic Times

While technology may adapt to changing consumer expectations, if used strategically, technology can also help your company survive, thrive and lead through change. Success in retail’s new, highly connected world requires tremendous agility enabled by a dynamic operating environment. One that enables you to form close bonds with customers, empower associates and adapt quickly to emerging consumer technologies. 

This is at the core of Microsoft’s Dynamic Business vision where technology helps maximize the productivity of people, achieve process agility to quickly adapt to new business requirements and encourage connections across an entire ecosystem of suppliers, partners and customers by removing barriers to communication and collaboration.

People, process and ecosystem are the pillars of the Dynamic Business, a powerful proven vision backed by massive investment in innovation all aimed at helping our retail customers and partners to succeed in the time of change.

Join Microsoft at NRF

At the 2011 NRF event, we are showcasing new software and services from Microsoft and our industry partners that address today’s business needs and help you prepare to meet and exceed your customers’ expectations in the future.

We welcome you to join us at the Microsoft booth (#836) as we highlight best practices to connect to consumers, create a truly dynamic enterprise and succeed together  in the new retail era. We hope to see you at the show!

More information about Microsoft at NRF 2011 is available at http://www.microsoft.com/enterprise/industry/retail-hospitality/events/NRF.aspx. To learn more about Microsoft Dynamics in Retail, please visit www.microsoft.com/dynamics. You can also download a whitepaper for additional details about Microsoft Dynamics Connected Experiences for Retail.

Posted by Kirill Tatarinov
Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions