The growing importance of multichannel retailing and customer relationship management were hot topics at this year’s Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Conference. More than 10,000 industry executives from 50 countries attended, making it the largest Convergence event to date, according to Kirill Tatarinov, President of Microsoft Business Solutions, in his keynote address. During the conference, which took place March 18-21, 2012, in Houston, Microsoft customers from around the world received best practices on how to achieve optimal results from Microsoft solutions, including SharePoint, Dynamics GP, Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM.
“One of the things we’ve done deliberately that resonates with our customers is making our solutions available globally,” said Michael Griffiths, Global Product Director, Retail and Distribution for Microsoft Dynamics. “Retailers that are opening locations across geographies want to consolidate. Microsoft Dynamics encompasses that: from the POS, to headquarters, to merchandising. We also have a fully-integrated ERP in the back-end and a CRM that complements that.”
The latest version of Microsoft Dynamics AX was released January 2012 during the NRF Big Show. The solution’s third major release, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 represents the company’s fast roadmap towards serving today’s retailers, according Griffiths. The company currently has customers in more than 30 countries worldwide that are eager to implement end-to-end POS, CRM, ERP and clienteling solutions for multichannel success.
“Not only can you manage the core fundamentals of your business with Microsoft Dynamics AX, you also can manage all channels seamlessly, which is really starting to resonate with our retail customers,” Griffiths said. “The shoppers with whom retailers are dealing today are empowered and have instant access to reviews and competitive pricing. Just because shoppers walk into a store, doesn’t mean they’re going to buy something. As a result, retailers need to implement business applications that can keep up.” Later this year, Microsoft plans to integrate functionality that will allow organizations to monitor Facebook and Twitter, Griffiths reported. As a result, retailers will become more proactive in social conversations.
DAVIDsTEA Streamlines Operations With Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail
Howard Tafler, CFO of DAVIDsTEA, spotlighted the customer-facing benefits Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail has had on his growing business. DAVIDsTEA implemented the solution in November 2011 to help the retailer keep pace with its complex inventory and in-store offerings efficiently.
“We needed more flexibility at POS, since we have three types of sales categories: loose-leaf teas; accessories, such as cups; and beverages and foods, which are not in inventory,” Tafler said. “Our challenge was to find a tool that could handle all three, which traditional POS systems could not.”
DAVIDsTEA has 73 locations across Canada and two in the U.S. The company plans to extend its brand throughout these areas and strengthen CRM initiatives during 2012.
“Our customers are very passionate about tea, the DAVIDsTEA brand and its offerings,” Tafler said. The company now is beginning to capture customer data, and may further leverage Microsoft Dynamics’ CRM capabilities to drive more business, he added.
“We have many followers on Facebook, Twitter and through our newsletter,” Tafler reported. “We want to integrate all of this information and really get to know our customers — whether they are buying online or in-store. A lot of our store managers know their customers, but we want to make this familiarity more company-wide.”
Optic 2000 Newest Customer Win
During the conference, Microsoft announced its newest customer: Optic 2000. With more than 1,850 specialty stores for eyewear and hearing devices throughout France, Optic 2000 selected Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 for Retail to manage its sales, supply and inventory across its network.
“The choice of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 for Retail is part of a strategic vision for our company, which sees Microsoft as a key partner for stability, trust and innovation,” said Didier Papaz, CEO of the Optic 2000 Group, in a press statement. “Our objective is to streamline our resource management with this ERP solution and deliver a real value proposition to our customers — through the advice and support we offer during the sales process and beyond, as well as by ensuring we are offering real value for the money.”
By implementing Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail, Optic 2000 will be able to obtain a unified solution that addresses the needs of each location effectively, and provides easy data archiving and sharing from each point of sale.