The retail industry is always in motion. Shifting macro-economic influences and changing customer expectations spark new business models, channel strategies, and strategic partnerships. To keep pace, retailers require a strong digital core that delivers powerful data-driven insights while staying compliant, maintaining security, and preventing fraud.
Shree Venkat, chief architect at TCS, and GV Krishnan, Head of Solutions & Sales for the TCS Microsoft Unit in the UK and Ireland, note that business transformation, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), can help retailers innovate across four primary areas:
Customer experience: Consumers want to engage with a retailer in a manner that eases their path through the shopping transaction. TCS is a pioneer in delivering cloud-based solutions that facilitate hyper-personalization, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 with Microsoft Dynamics 365 CoPilot, which turns service agents into superagents. With Copilot, which brings next-generation AI capabilities and natural language processing to Dynamics 365, agents can quickly craft a draft email or chat response to customers with a single click.
These insights can be used to deliver exclusive pricing offers, personalized call center access, and other rewards that build customer loyalty. AI/ML-based solutions like Microsoft Cognitive Services helps further drive bespoke preferential services through sophisticated vision, language, speech, sentiment and contextual analysis to make bots more informed and more conversational.
Retailers are also improving customer experiences by removing friction. Digitally driven innovations such as automated self-checkouts, pick and go, and contactless payments are helping in making happy customers. “When retailers embark on this journey, they gain more control in providing optimum customer experience and give their customers a sense of affiliation at the same time” says Shree Venkat.
Store and channel operations: Customers have fully embraced ecommerce, social commerce, mobile commerce, and services such as buy online/pick up in store (BOPIS) and buy online/pick up at curb (BOPAC). 5G and edge computing technologies are helping retailers integrate and optimize in-store experiences. TCS specializes in AI-powered vision technologies like Microsoft Azure Percept to create a smart retail store solution that helps with visitor recognition, foot traffic analysis, store design planning, product quantity/quality checks, and more.
Supply chain & sustainability transformation: Integration of data and digital systems with suppliers is a quintessential requirement for retailers to embark on intelligent supply chain initiatives. IoT & AI/ML-powered technologies can enable business capabilities such as just-in-time inventory management and auto-replenishment, which in addition to reducing waste and saving money also help retailers track, record, manage, reduce, and report emissions. (In this whitepaper, TCS and Microsoft explore how to embark on supply chain decarbonization initiatives.)
Employee experience: Shree Venkat believes the above three areas of business transformation seamlessly and quickly empower retail staff. Low-code/no-code technologies like Microsoft Power Platform, Azure Communication Services, and Azure OpenAI enable organizations to quickly capture customer sentiment, search for and respond to customer queries, and pass on the information to their frontline employees, providing real-time data about stocks, product insights, customer profiles, their buying patterns, and other behaviors to help them deliver better experiences across multiple channels. Training employees to use new digital tools and services is a critical step in the transformation journey for retailers.
A powerful partnership
Retailers face many challenges in keeping pace with rapidly changing markets and consumer demands. TCS along with Microsoft empower retailers to maximize the value derived from their Microsoft Cloud investments. The TCS Algo Retail™ framework, together with Microsoft Cloud for Retail, helps retail organizations transform into resilient, adaptable enterprises.
TCS offers a rich portfolio of intellectual property using machine vision, conversational assistants, predictive analytics, machine learning, AI, and other capabilities on Microsoft Cloud. They include:
- TCS Optumera™— A strategic retail optimization suite that enables integrated, intelligent merchandising and supply chain decisions
- TCS OmniStore™— A future commerce platform that enables unified customer journeys catering to new channels and brand expansions
- TCS Optunique™— An enterprise personalization solution that delivers contextual hyper-personalization across omnichannel journeys
These solutions help retailers enhance customer engagement, accelerate the launch of new products and services, build differentiation, and unlock business value.
Learn how to master your cloud transformation journey with TCS and Microsoft Cloud.