NEW YORK, January 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Microsoft Corp. today announced that business-critical Windows 7 applications for the retail and hospitality industry will be demonstrated in its booth (No. 836) this year at the National Retail Federation's 100th Annual Convention & Expo. The demonstrations will showcase how Windows 7 enhances connected store, customer and operations experiences on the desktop as well as via an array of mobile and in-store devices, including smartphones, point-of-sale (POS) devices, self-service transactional kiosks, and informational kiosks, including digital signage.
"There are three pillars to our strategy in the retail industry: connecting your customers, connecting your stores and connecting your operations," said Simon Witts, corporate vice president, Enterprise and Partner Group (EPG), Microsoft ( http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/snapshot/snapshot.asp?...). "Connectedness prevails- and for good reason. It's no longer good enough to have the right product in the right place at the right time. Retailers need to surround their customers with information to inform and motivate purchasing."
Engaging and serving shoppers at an individual, demographic and local level is key to attracting and retaining customers in an increasingly connected and real-time world. Shopping has evolved to become part of the increasingly connected lifestyle of today's shoppers who are digital, social, mobile, enabled and informed. As a result, retail channels no longer cross; they merge. Connected commerce surrounds the customer shopping experience from the living room, to the Web, to the store - enabling customers to find, experience and purchase. For example, a retail customer's connected experience is enhanced through the mobile shopping experience enabled by Windows Phone 7, as well as through engagement with Windows 7-based touch-enabled devices in stores.
Modern store architectures built on Microsoft platforms also help make staff and resources more effective through automating system administration, improving sales productivity and improving stock management. Windows 7 enhances user productivity with easy-to-use tools for direct information access, federated search and navigation. Windows 7 technology is familiar, facilitating training and helping make employees more productive at the store or on the road. It also enhances PC management by enabling easy upgrades and management of desktop PCs and in-store devices, and enabling mobile workers to be managed with ease.
An efficient retail operation is fueled by an integrated back office with real-time store data feeds, integrated retail management and enterprise resource planning (ERP), multichannel capability, and ubiquitous business insight. Windows 7 for Embedded Systems, for example, enables embedded systems design that help retailers and hospitality businesses connect to IT infrastructure, increase staff efficiency and improve customer satisfaction. An array of Windows Embedded products, from componentized to off-the-shelf, gives embedded developers the flexibility to build and manage a range of devices - including kiosks, point-of-sale devices, digital signage, communication devices and peripherals - on a single platform. The Windows Embedded platform also facilitates connectivity between point-of-service and Windows-based enterprise IT systems, including customer relationship management (CRM), inventory, sales tools and business intelligence.
"Microsoft and its partners continue to help retail companies succeed in today's competitive global marketplace by meeting the demand for a highly personalized and connected shopper experience," said Brendan O'Meara, managing director, Worldwide Retail and Hospitality, Microsoft. "Microsoft helps retailers deliver a consistent shopping experience through seamless multichannel integration, innovative technologies, and mobile and new social networking channels. Our Operations 2.0 initiative and vision for the automated store focus on rapid delivery of strategic line-of-business solutions connecting customers, stores and operations, while minimizing investment in infrastructure."
Following are examples of how global leaders in the retail industry have realized the benefits of Windows 7 in improving the mobile shopper experience and business efficiencies while cutting operational and technology costs.
Shop-at-Home Retailer Helps Mobile Employees Work Efficiently From Anywhere
Home shopping and online retailer Shop Direct Group is one of the largest online and shop-at-home retailers in the United Kingdom. The company, which employs 10,000 people, incorporates 11 well-known brands, including Littlewoods, Very, Woolworths, Marshall Ward, Kays and Great Universal.
Shop Direct Group is embracing mobile working as a way to reduce office costs and increase flexibility for staff. To support this strategy, the company is deploying Windows 7 with DirectAccess on more than 800 portable computers. Mobile personnel can now access the corporate network seamlessly, wherever they are working and online. The IT team also can update computers remotely, increasing security and minimizing management costs.
Shop Direct Group mobile workers can now access key applications and data seamlessly from outside the office by connecting to the corporate network and work productively from virtually anywhere in the world. As a result, a range of new flexible and remote working opportunities will help Shop Direct lower office real-estate costs, minimize business travel, and support its corporate environmental sustainability programs.
Windows Phone 7 Mobile App Connects Tesco Real Food Brand With Customers
One of the largest retailers in the world, Tesco plc has more than 2,500 stores in the U.K. and more than 5,000 worldwide. Based in Hertfordshire, U.K., the company has 472,000 employees and is the grocery market leader in the U.K. and No. 3 worldwide.
Tesco has an online grocery shopping application for Windows Mobile phones, which allows shoppers to buy products directly from their smartphones. Building on that, Tesco created an immersive shopping application for Windows Phone 7 called Tesco Real Food. The free application is available for download now from the Windows Phone Marketplace. Extending the popular Tesco Real Food website to Windows Phone 7 users, the application provides recipes, cooking tips and information about the grocery products Tesco stores carry. Shoppers are able to check ingredients for recipes, get tips and ideas, and plan meals right from their Windows Phone 7 device while shopping in store. More information is available at http://www.tesco.com and http://www.tesco.com/food.