Maximize the value of your data


Every hour in retail, 40 petabytes of data are generated, but it's difficult to unlock the value. Customer touchpoints aren't talking to each other; they're siloed and disconnected. The same customer who completes a transaction on social media versus in-store might appear as two, three, or four different customers because their data sits in different databases, speaking different languages.

Diagram showing the consumer at the center of marketing, online transactions, customer service, and in-store transactions.


For more information, see the following resource link:

Accenture, How to get more value out of your data in the cloud, 2021.

Most retailers are only set up to use a fraction of the data that's available. They lack the tools and technologies to extract business value from unstructured, dark data.

Diagram showing the consumer at the center of marketing, online transactions, customer service, and in-store transactions, each with three to five options.

With Microsoft Cloud for Retail, you're using retail data models to bring multiple systems and applications together by providing a shared language for your applications. This approach helps simplify data management and app development by unifying data into common formats and applying consistency across multiple apps and deployments.

As a result, you'll receive the following benefits:

  • Industry specificity - Use data models with retail-specific semantics.

  • Interoperability - Data models ingest, enrich, and unify data to break down data silos and ease interoperability through industry-specific, pre-built connectors.

  • Faster innovation - Extend the value of the platform with more solutions, analytics, and predictions.

Core components

Microsoft Cloud for Retail uses a combination of Microsoft products to address the industry-prioritized scenarios that are focused on maximizing the value of your data. The following illustration reflects the required and recommended capabilities.

Diagram showing Maximize the value of your data product dependencies.

Unified customer profile

Unified customer profile is a key capability of Microsoft Cloud for Retail. To some extent, it's where the data story comes together. Unified customer profile helps you gain insights across the complete view of a shopper's journey.

With Unified customer profile, you can gain a 360-degree perspective of the customer in a clear and intuitive way. As a result, you can provide personalized experiences, reveal important opportunities, prevent potential loss or churn, and improve customer satisfaction.

Unified customer profile bolsters unification, where you can:

  • Bring multiple identities together to create a 360-degree view of the customer through AI-powered identity resolution.

  • Ingest multiple types of data, behaviors, and customer sentiment in real time through more than 500 built-in connectors.

It also fosters unique enrichment, where you can:

  • Gain a 360-degree view of the customer with proprietary audience intelligence from Microsoft Graph.

  • Use cross-channel behavior to complete the picture of your customer.

Screenshot of Customer Insights showing the Enrichment page.

Furthermore, Unified customer profile gives you better access to customer insights so that you can:

  • Gain more nuanced insights by combining digital analytics with customer profiles to create richer segments and use churn models to understand churn risk at a glance.

  • Observe customer progress through each defined step of the journey and quickly identify obstacles and opportunities.

  • Create custom reports and views based on real-time customer behavior data and use built-in web and mobile analytics to predict customer needs.

Trust, privacy, and consent are essential to the Unified customer profile capability. You can build and uphold customer trust through Microsoft Azure Purview with advanced security capabilities, including a cookie-less future, consent across workflows, sensitive data security, and regulation compliance.

Shopper and operations analytics

Shopper and operations analytics helps you unlock omnichannel insights with advanced analytics. With shopper and operations analytics, you can predict customer and operational needs, monitor and understand online engagement, and unify data integration, warehousing, and analytics.

Screenshot of Microsoft Azure showing the Develop page open to a Sales Dashboard.

With shopper and operations analytics, you can predict customer and operational needs:

  • Use industry-leading, text-indexing technology to gain customer and operational insights from time-series, log, and customer content data.

  • Analyze real-time transactional data that's stored in operational databases, such as Microsoft Azure Cosmos DB, and use end-to-end analytics with deep integration of Azure Machine Learning, Azure Cognitive Services, and Microsoft Power BI.

It also unifies disparate silos so that you can:

  • Use database templates to eliminate data silos for shaping your data estate and rapidly building analytics-infused applications.

  • Perform data integration, data exploration, data warehousing, big data analytics, and machine learning tasks from a single, unified environment.

  • Build ETL/ELT processes in a code-free, visual environment to ingest data from more than 95 native connectors.

Screenshot of Microsoft Clarity showing heatmaps of most clicks and session playbacks.

Shopper and operations analytics can also help you monitor and understand engagement:

  • Use the heatmap feature to view where your site generates the most clicks, what people are ignoring, and how far they're scrolling.

  • Observe how customers use your site with anonymized, hi-definition recordings. Discover user frustrations by documenting rage clicks, dead clicks, and quick-backs with behavior-focused insights, allowing you to devise solutions more efficiently.

  • Understand customer engagement by using built-in web and mobile analytics. Return customer activity recognition, which allows you to create custom reports and views based on real-time customer behavior data.

Intelligent fraud prevention

Intelligent fraud prevention helps protect your revenue from fraud by using AI to identify patterns.

With intelligent fraud prevention, you can protect against digital fraud, stop patterns of fraudulent transactions, and identify at-risk business entities and functions.

Screenshot of the Virtual fraud analyst, showing steps to select target data and examine the effect of fraud on historical transaction data.

With intelligent fraud prevention, you can obtain AI and data-driven account protection:

  • Use adaptive AI, curated datasets, metrics, and Power BI reports for purchase protection and account protection.

  • Safeguard your accounts with device fingerprinting and bot protection. Protect against transaction fraud by recognizing patterns (by using device and location attributes) and identifying returning devices with high fidelity.

  • Use an engine that helps protect specialized account activity scenarios. This engine helps enhance loss prevention by detecting patterns in return and discount activity, which will help improve detection of anomalies.

With fraud prevention also comes empowered employees, which helps you:

  • Gain broad awareness of account and purchase fraud with connected knowledge and provide employees with detailed risk insights about each transaction.

  • Increase operational efficiency by reducing the manual effort that's required to identify at-risk business entities and functions.

Retail media

Retail media unlocks ad revenue by using your Microsoft shopper data.

With retail media, you can unlock high-margin revenue streams, ensure that messaging is consistent, and generate more revenue.

Screenshot of Demo Retailer Promote I Q showing a dashboard with key metrics and a graph of campaigns.

With intelligent product promotion, you can:

  • Generate five times more revenue than outsourced ad networks by working directly with your existing brands to run vendor-funded product ads on site.

  • Gain full enterprise controls over your vendor-marketing program within a single dashboard. Manage vendor access, customize ad placements, and set prices.

  • Automate digital vendor marketing campaigns on site, including promoted product delivery, shopper targeting, and campaign reporting. Launch native ad placement that blends with organic site content.