Microsoft Presents: Digitizing Retail, a Technology Checklist

If you run a retail business—like a storefront or shop—this guest post from Microsoft is for you! It identifies some of the activities and technologies that can digitally transform your business to help improve sales, margins, marketing, and more.

You know the story. The Internet has made a seismic impact on retail—good, bad, and ugly. But don’t let the apocalyptic headlines convince you that you are powerless to adapt. On the contrary, technology solutions have never been more powerful or accessible. Almost anyone can afford to digitize these days. At least that’s how Dave Rodgerson, a Microsoft retail expert, explains it.

“Stores and shops can’t afford to be passive about technology. Every business needs to cover the digital basics, starting with mobile/millennial-friendliness.”– Dave Rodgerson, Retail Digital Transformation, Microsoft

  1. Mobile-first

First, modern retailers must adjust how they think about their business, especially in Canada, where millennials have already become the largest generation in the workforce. To get their attention and their loyalty, retailers should adopt a mobile-first strategy. Make sure they have a “responsive” website that works properly on phones.

  1. Website

20+ years after the web was born and still, almost half of Canada’s small businesses have no website. What a miss! Even local mom and pop stores need websites, if only to provide hours of operation, a phone number, and other contact details. You don’t need a big presence, either. Sometimes, even a single, branded page can do the job.

  1. E-commerce

Mind you, if you have a logical opportunity to etail, at least try it! While Canadians may have been slow to adopt shopping online, they have jumped on board in droves. If it seems too complex, the good news is that establishing an ecom presence has never been easier to do, thanks to companies like GoDaddy that offer web templates.

“Canadian ecom shows no sign of slowing down! Statistica reports that, by 2020, annual online sales in our country will be over 25 billion, or 10 percent of total sales.” – Dave Rodgerson, Retail Digital Transformation, Microsoft

  1. Social media

Depending on who you ask, around two-thirds of all Canadians have a social media account. And millions of us use those accounts, daily. In fact, we have a love affair with social media that every business should at least consider exploring.

“Cool imagery performs well on social networks. Retailers who invest in amazing displays and merchandising design should show them off on visual platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.” – Dave Rodgerson, Retail Digital Transformation, Microsoft

  1. Nurturing

Stop sending email willy-nilly and start nurturing relationships. Every modern sales and marketing team deserves to have access to CRM and/or nurturing technology, such as Dynamics 365 for Marketing. Teams can set up and manage multiple lead generation campaigns at once and accurately measure their results. And they can nurture those leads over time with the goal of converting them with timely communication.

  1. True integration

Speaking of Dynamics 365, let’s look at your operations next! It’s one thing to build a digital presence, but what about the business systems and tools you use to transact? Here, Dynamics 365 for Retail can save the day. Instead of juggling several disconnected systems, it allows you integrate everything in one place. You can use it to manage merchandise, drive a unified commerce experience, and measure all your activity.

“One of the most exciting aspects of digital transformation is the intelligence it can unlock to optimize operations. With the right platform, retailers can increase sales, improve margins, reduce fulfillment costs, and more.” – Dave Rodgerson, Retail Digital Transformation, Microsoft

  1. Optimization

With an intelligent business system in place, like Dynamics 365 for Teams, teams can maximize their business impact, speed up end-of-day activities, increase inventory visibility, and more. When you start to unlock these types of insights and the benefits they create, you’ll know that your digital transformation will be complete.

Learn more

Transforming retail for the digital age starts with the big picture. Explore how businesses can grow, adapt, and evolve to meet the changing needs of customers. Then see how Microsoft can help you accelerate your digital transformation. Click here to learn more and download your copy today.