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Build Your Retail Business With Dynamics 365

Technology

Feb 25, 2021 - 6 minutes read

1433 Retail Dynamics365 416X300
Paweł Krawczyk Chapter Leader & Senior Software Developer

He readily follows market trends and is passionate about technology—most notably, mobile and cloud solutions. Currently, he’s focused on bringing added value to the company’s commercial retail projects.

See all Paweł's posts
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In this time of uncertainty, retailers are working hard to adapt to the changing economy as quickly as possible. Companies have been struggling to keep pace with technology, as they don’t have the time and resources to build the required applications internally. Therefore, they’re looking for external partners that have deep experience with building software solutions for retail. The trusted technology partner selects a cost-effective approach to the challenges faced by the client. Some problems are unique and require bespoke development, but for the most part, the customer journey is similar for most retailers. They can utilise the COTS packages, which provide high quality, battle-proven suites.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a market-leading retail solution and this article is going to present its key capabilities. Take full advantage of them to gain a competitive advantage over your rivals. Microsoft revolutionises the ERP and CRM world by applying artificial intelligence to various applications. It enables reactive organisations to evolve into proactive, data-driven businesses.

Whether you’re looking for an upgrade from a legacy system or a transition from brick-and-mortar to an online e-commerce store, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a complete solution that caters to most needs of modern retailers.

All-In-One Solution

The majority of legacy systems are standalone tools, which work in isolation. The data model is different between modules and packages, and information can’t be transferred between them easily. It results in a loss of opportunity to retrieve business intelligence and insights, which are critical factors in today's highly competitive retail sector. Moreover, the integration between different third-party applications tends to be costly, error-prone, and often requires custom development.

Dynamics 365 offers retailers an all-in-one, omnichannel solution that unifies the back-office, in-store and eCommerce capabilities. It’s an end-to-end platform with purpose-built business modules for Commerce, Sales, Marketing, Operations, Finance, Customer Insights and more. The Dynamics 365 Commerce platform integrates customer-facing applications such as endless aisle and loyalty programmes, and online stores with backend systems such as Point of Sale (POS), inventory allocation, merchandising, and workforce organisation. It allows you to manage and monitor almost all aspects of your business from a single source of truth, enhanced with artificial intelligence-powered insights. The integrated Dynamics system helps companies increase employee productivity, provide lean in-store operations, optimise sales channels and, ultimately, deliver better business outcomes.

consumer shopping journey diagram

Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/learn/modules/introduction-dynamics-365-commerce/1-introduction

Gain Market Advantage With Custom Apps

Although Dynamics 365 Commerce is a comprehensive suite and caters to most of the retail common use cases, every business has unique needs. Each company often seeks a competitive edge over its rivals. Today, the customer shopping journey is much more complicated than it used to be. From building awareness, through assisting in the decision-making and buying processes via various channels, and finally to post-purchase support.

microsoft dynamics commerce module preview

Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/learn/modules/introduction-dynamics-365-commerce/2-overview

 

Each of those steps creates an opportunity to differentiate your company from the competition to win the customer over. In order to succeed, you need a robust and trusted technology. It will enable you to quickly and cost-effectively implement your ideas and transform them into real-life applications.

Microsoft Power Platform comes to your aid with a customisable way to personalise and extend your Dynamics 365 solution. Power Apps is a platform that lets professional or citizen developers build custom mobile and web business applications without writing code. Canvas apps that your organisation develops can be embedded in the Dynamics apps to augment the product's functionality. The platform provides an extensive set of plugins and connectors, allowing for a hustle free integration of data from other Microsoft or third-party vendors’ systems. For example, the AI Builder will enable you to add a variety of predictive and automated activities directly into your apps:

  • Form Processing - read and save information from standard documents,
  • Object Detection - recognise and count objects in images,
  • Data Based Prediction - foresee whether an event will happen,
  • Text Classification by meaning.

Applications developed with Power Apps can enhance customer experience or optimise the company's business processes. Many organisations still rely on enormous Excel-based applications, which import data from various sources and transform them using formulas. This approach suffers from the unsatisfactory performance and lacks versioning as well as security. Replacing these apps with Power Platform tools makes it easier to manage and develop your solution and improves productivity and efficiency thanks to process automation. Role-based security ensures data privacy protection and compliance.

The best way to start and get value quickly is to select a workload that requires much manual interaction. The Power App should be co-designed with business users and utilise their expertise in how the app should work. Then, a prototype is built to demonstrate the problem-solving in a short period.

Unlock Insights With Power BI

Microsoft Dynamics 365 products have a Power BI connector, which provides a compelling data visualisation and business intelligence. It consumes the data stored in Dataverse, which is the common data service for Microsoft products and integrates with data found across hundreds of third-party services via out-of-the-box connectors. Adopting these connectors means that the data found anywhere from Salesforce to Facebook and beyond can be integrated with the Power Platform data to provide rich content dashboards, charts, maps and other interactive and impressive visualisations.

Having everything in place, the retailers are no longer dependent on the outdated Excel or PDF reports generated on demand by the company's resident-specialist. They can utilise a self-service, enterprise business intelligence platform to create custom and dynamic reports that fit their specific needs in real-time to make timely decisions. Microsoft AI allows non-data scientists to build machine learning models and find insights quickly from various data sources, including text and pictures. When combined with Power Apps and Power Automate, these actionable insights can build productive business applications and automate workflows. All those features make Microsoft and their Power BI platform recognised by Gartner's Magic Quadrant as a trusted industry leader.

customer insights module microsoft dynamics

Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/learn/modules/introduction-dynamics-365-commerce/2-overview

Customer Insights

Personalisation is a significant trend in the retail world and it’s changing the way companies communicate with their customers. Consumers expect retailers to understand their specific needs and present only the marketing content that’s relevant to them. Advertising campaigns should be targeted to particular groups of users, based on the customer data, and broadcast to the pertinent audience's channels. It makes ads more relevant for a recipient and increases customer engagement and return on investment. For example, 87% of mobile marketers see success with location targeting.

Dynamics 365 Customer Insights is a customer data platform (CDP) that unifies all data across multiple transactional, behavioural and observational data sources into a single view of the customer. Information from various sources can be merged at scale by utilising custom mappings, popular data source connectors, artificial intelligence and machine learning. The platform can resolve customer identities across various sources to create a unified, personalised profile. This kind of data enrichment permits customer segmentation based on transactional, demographic or behavioural attributes. It allows retailers to target sales activities and promotional campaigns or aid customer support actions. With a complete view of the customer, marketing, sales and business users can detect trends, develop strategies and optimise future activities to increase profits and enhance the customer experience.

Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/learn/modules/dynamics-365-customer-data-platform-customer-engagement-apps-integration/4-integration-with-3rd-party-apps

Conclusion

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a modern, comprehensive application suite that combines the ERP and CRM in the cloud to provide a unified and compelling user experience. Microsoft offers an end-to-end functionality that streamlines business processes and maximises a cost-effective IT investment.

By combining a vast set of out-of-the-box capabilities with value-adding Power Apps custom applications, retailers can gain a competitive advantage through rapid development with prebuilt components and seamless integration with other modules.

Power BI turns your unrelated sources of data into interactive insights. Thanks to prebuilt charts, tables, diagrams, and a wide range of connectors to the most popular third-party systems, it provides an effortless data visualisation and business intelligence.

Customer Insights gathers all information about your clients to create a 360-degree view and provide data analysis tools. The platform supports personalised and targeted marketing campaigns and improves customer experience and engagement by presenting relevant content.

Retail Report Resources
Paweł Krawczyk Chapter Leader & Senior Software Developer

He readily follows market trends and is passionate about technology—most notably, mobile and cloud solutions. Currently, he’s focused on bringing added value to the company’s commercial retail projects.

See all Paweł's posts

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