Intelligent Retail

Intelligent Retail

Your Customers. Your Employees. Your Data

There has never been a more exciting time to be at the intersection of retail and technology and, today, I’d like to share with you how Oakwood is leveraging the tools from Microsoft to enable an intelligent retail experience.

Retail is being reimagined. Yes, the challenges are real: intense industry disruption, having to do more with less and the need for differentiation in order to stay relevant.

There are two main drivers in the market that have already redefined and will continue to redefine the entire industry:

  1. The new digital customer and its constantly evolving wants and needs
  2. The technology that is fueling a more connected and global retail economy

The New Digital Shopper

The typical customer retailers face today is constantly connected, well aware of their needs and wants, well-informed, and demands a great shopping experience – the “extra mile”. This norm will become further entrenched as Millennials will soon be retail’s major customer group, bringing with them great buying power. Retailers need to be aware that the shopping journey can start and end in any channel the customer chooses – desktop, mobile, tablet or in-store – and realize that they need to be wherever the customer is. 92% of shoppers state that they used a digital device prior to or during their shopping trip for product related research (Source: Navigating the new digital divide, Deloitte Digital).

Shoppers know as much as sales people

83% of shoppers believe that they typically know more about a retailer’s product than the store sales associate. (Source: Tulip Retail) Turn back the clock 8 years ago and people came into stores with little to no knowledge and relied on a salesperson to advise them on what to buy.

Today’s shoppers have become accustomed to doing their own research to get the maximum value out of every dollar they spend, and to feel secure about the purchases they’re making. With this power shift comes a great opportunity for retailers; those that use tools and insights have the opportunity to close the gap between the smart online consumer and the offline retailer, and to stand out in a competitive marketplace.


Retailing began with shopkeepers who would welcome in people from the neighborhood and then come to learn their customers’ needs and preferences.

Now in our constantly connected world, a device is just a proxy for what really matters — getting to know your customers. Devices provide context, helping us learn what matters to a consumer in a particular location and at a particular time. The right message at the right moment is the next level in customer service — it can quickly and easily turn intent into action.

Context also allows retailers to better than ever anticipate what a customer might need based on when, where and how they arrive at their site and help them decide how to respond to them. People are constantly looking for product information, deals, local availability and local discounts online — and retailers who aren’t there to supply the right information when people raise their virtual hand will lose out.

78% of U.S. Internet users said personally relevant content from brands increases their purchase intent (Source: Marketing Insider Group)


Before the digital revolution, Retail therapy was an activity shared by friends and family — and word of mouth was a social force that transformed new products into must-haves and small shops into retail empires. Today, 90% of customers say purchase decisions are influenced by online reviews (Source: Dimensional Research). This means the world just became a much smaller place and everything that a customer touches, see’s and buys can be scrutinized or praised.


Everyone knows online shopping has never been easier or more accessible. But despite the surge in e-commerce capabilities, mobile applications and voice-activated shopping — the majority of consumers still want the tactile experiences offered by physical stores. The ability to see, touch and feel products as well as take items home immediately rank highest among the reason’s consumers choose to shop in stores versus online (Source: Retail Diva’s Consumer Survey).

We believe, and are sure you do too, the future of retail is about delivering a seamlessly connected and curated customer experience across every touch point in the shopper journey. 

intelligent retail

Just Imagine…

Knowing your customer so well you could predict every purchase they will make in the next six months.

Empowering your store employees with data to instantly recognize a customer and hand them products before they even knew they wanted them.

Delighting customers with lightning-fast fulfillment and real-time flexible delivery enabled by an efficient supply chain.

New retail store models that bring the ease of digital shopping and experience of brick and mortar together, enabling real-time personalized recommendations, click and collect, and in-store digital assistants.

What to do next? The Microsoft consultants at Oakwood are eager to help you ignite new ideas and accelerate existing initiatives. It’s a collaborative approach that challenges the status quo and imagines the ‘art of the possible’ by helping dream up and develop big ideas and innovative scenarios. By leveraging an inclusive design thinking process and bring together a multi-disciplinary team with a common purpose. Resulting in a shared vision, roadmap, customer journeys and a series of micro-revolutions to help you maintain leadership, advance innovation and accelerate growth.

Are you ready? Contact us below and we’ll get started.

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