Digital technologies are key to the ongoing success of retailers, says Raj Raguneethan, retail lead at Microsoft Asia.
“Covid-19 is changing the nature and business of retailing on many levels, and those who play in this space must adapt. But how?” said Raguneethan, in a recent article posted on the Microsoft website. “New digital technologies are key – not only for managing current challenges and working toward eventual recovery but as tools to re-imagine the future.”
Brands such as IKEA, Myntra and Woolworths are using Microsoft solutions to adapt to the changing industry as a result of Covid-19.
IKEA adopted Microsoft Teams as a collaboration tool for its 166,000 workers before the pandemic took full effect. “When the virus arrived, and the lockdowns were ordered, Teams continued to provide seamless, secure and productive collaboration for the employees,” said Raguneethan. “This ability to work around disruptions has proved to be critical for overall business performance over the past few months.”
Australian retailer Woolworths moved its SAP infrastructure to Microsoft Azure, to provide customers with new experiences, and Indian fashion company Myntra is using the cloud to better understand customer needs through data analytics.
Raguneethan believes that retailers must do three things in order to adapt, recover and thrive in the evolving industry:
• Boost omnichannel touchpoints and redefine the role of the brick-and-mortar store
• Offer contactless shopping options
• Ensure operational agility with accurate inventory counts.
“New partnerships to ensure the above will thus play a pivotal role in the new future,” he said. “Retailers should start now, by fostering collaborations within and beyond the industry to address challenges imposed by the pandemic and grab the opportunities to meet customers’ needs that will continue evolving in the ‘new normal.’”
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