Microsoft's digital platform helping retailers to take advantage of tech trends

After coming out of recession, many retailers are ready to court a new class of customers who're hyper-connected and hyper-empowered. David Gruehn, of Microsoft, says these trends provide significant opportunities as well as difficult challenges for retailers, “Microsoft's trying to help retailers bridge the three worlds of the digital work style, digital lifestyle and emergence […]

After coming out of recession, many retailers are ready to court a new class of customers who're hyper-connected and hyper-empowered. David Gruehn, of Microsoft, says these trends provide significant opportunities as well as difficult challenges for retailers, “Microsoft's trying to help retailers bridge the three worlds of the digital work style, digital lifestyle and emergence of cloud,” Gruehn says at NRF expo. “We saw a maturity of digital work style in the ’90s, and digital lifestyle has really exploded in past decade. Now, Microsoft has built a digital platform in the cloud that bridge these three worlds.” “One of the most powerful trends retailers’re looking to take advantage of is the ubiquity of cell phones and smartphones. Gruehn says that in the future, a consumer’s mobile device will act as a personal information kiosk for shoppers while they’re in a store. These personal portals can connect with a store’s digital infrastructure via a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection to suggest products based on profile information, allow barcode scanning capabilities, show product availability, show a map of products within the store, offer personalized coupons, and more. What’s even better for retailers’s that these devices cost nothing for them to buy or maintain, because consumers do that for themselves.”