Microsoft Surface in Retail
More mobile technology and attentive staff drives sales, increases productivity and improves the customer experience in Retail Organisations...
The key elements of modern shopping and modern retail are no longer just for big companies. All retail organisations can leverage technology and innovation to offer a more fun and engaging shopping experience to their customers and better empower sales people at the point of sale. Retailers are able to modernize the shopping experience with technology like tablets that help store associates better romance products and services, apps that connect customers’ online, and in-store shopping experiences and modern point-of-sale devices.
Nowadays customers expect their shopping experience to be consistent whether they are physically shopping in a store, online, or on a mobile device. As a result, Retailers need to think of how to create an integrated experience across these three channels. This is an area where technology can help.
Imagine a world where sales associates can access a customer’s online shopping cart when he or she walks into the store; or where they can quickly tap into the customer’s buying history to better understand his or her preferences and make recommendations; or where they can help customers contrast and compare items from a mobile device.
This is how Microsoft is helping. Microsoft offer Surface devices that help store associates provide better customer service. There are now specific apps available for Surface that connect the shopping experience across online, mobile, and in-store. In addition, by using data and the Internet of Things Retailers can bring insights from online shopping to the in-store experience. This is the experience of the future and will take personalization to the next level.
I have many conversations and get feedback that Laptops remain important to business retailers to handle inventory, supply, customer relationship information and accounting. But I think many are now realising that tablets can enable new engagement models with customers – personalized interactions and commerce untethered from a cash register. So up until now, where Retailers have been forced to buy two devices – a Tablet for transacting and a laptop for operations. We are seeing this change with the arrival Surface devices and the specific applications they offer. Microsoft Surface technology is shaping what the future of retail will look like. Bringing this technology into stores allows retailers to engage customers in new ways and build loyalty. It is helping to increase customer service and sales. Surface devices are lightweight, with a mobile design, with touch and ink capability, is perfect for point-of-sale (POS), and because Surface packs the full power of a PC, it can also handle intensive tasks needed to run the business.
In terms of IT, modern Retailing opens another dimension as whilst IT want people work efficiently; they have a remit to provide the infrastructure and tools that help us be as productive as possible. They also have an equally important responsibility to protect the information that their company produces, whether that be intellectual property, customer information or financial data. These two things often run in stark opposition to each other – productive employees need an unrestricted, free exchange of information, they want flexible working from any location or device, they want things as simple as possible with no hurdles to jump through. In contrast, security is all about limiting the attack surface – controlling who, where and how things can be accessed and placing hurdles like authentication and encryption around data to protect it from the many threats of the digital age. Certainly with Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Services, CDW can support Retail organisations to achieve this next step in their IT strategy. As a Microsoft Authorised Device Reseller, we have experience of managing deployments of these devices.
I’m not a massive fan of shopping particularly when the service is slow. However, I am a big fan of Surface and the Retail Experience that Microsoft technologies are providing. We all have such busy lives today and anything that reduces time spent in queues, saves time locating stock or making Retail staff more customer focused gets a big thumbs up from me!
Author: Susan Cotton, CDW Marketing Manager
In 1998, Susan left university with a BA Hons Business and took her first role within IT Marketing. 17 years later Susan has carved out an impressive career in the IT sector working for both Reseller and Solutions providers. Susan is experienced in multiple sectors working with both Commercial and Public Sector organisations and has an immense understanding of the requirements and challenges of customers today. Since joining CDW in 2013, Susan has been instrumental in the development of customer focused solutions helping CDW to launch exciting new technologies.