Microsoft unveils its new retail-focused cloud service

New service will help retailers develop intelligent supply chains

A cloud connected to electronic devices

Microsoft has announced its second vertical cloud offering: Microsoft Cloud for Retail. Currently available in preview mode, Cloud for Retail aims to connect experiences across the end-to-end shopper journey with its integrated and intelligent capabilities.

“By bringing together disparate data sources across the retail value chain, we will enable retailers to realize the true value of their data,” said Shelley Bransten, corporate vice president, WW retail and consumer goods industry.

According to Microsoft, the new service will center around driving accelerated time to value. 

Akin to Microsoft’s health care cloud, Cloud for Retail will include features from Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Power Platform, and Microsoft Advertising. It’s all brought together by a common data model and built on a secure and compliant platform.

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Microsoft’s services are already making an impact across retail chains. For instance, Microsoft Azure delivers 200 million purchase forecasts a day to Walgreens, ensuring the right items are in stock at the right time. Using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, Chipotle better understands customer preferences and converts more guests into loyalty program members.

Microsoft hasn’t revealed Microsoft Cloud for Retail’s price, but it confirmed it’d be an add-on service and require users to have separate licenses for Azure, Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365, and Power Platform.

“If 2020 taught us anything, it was that no business is resilient to everything. But those that had laid their digital tracks early were better positioned to recover, and in some cases, even speed ahead,” Bransten said.

“Our rich partner ecosystem will extend the value of the platform with retail-specific solutions to address the industry’s most urgent challenges, and future-proofing retail organizations to proactively be ready for what’s next.” 

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