Attention Shoppers: Microsoft Opens Retail Experience Center

January 12, 2009

NEW YORK, Jan. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Showcasing new and emerging
technologies that create connected and differentiated experiences for
consumers throughout the retail environment, Microsoft Corp. today announced
its new Retail Experience Center, which serves as a center of innovation for
how Microsoft and the retail industry can address rising consumer expectations
and competitive pressures during today’s challenging economic conditions.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO )

Located at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash., the Retail
Experience Center is a private, 20,000-square-foot facility housing a fully
functioning, interactive store environment, from point of service to receiving
dock. Representing a blend of Microsoft’s merchandising efforts as a consumer
goods company and its solution capabilities as a technology provider for the
retail industry, the center is part of Microsoft’s ongoing investments in
exploring how technology-driven innovations can enhance consumers’ lives and
shopping experiences.

The Retail Experience Center features in-store displays of Microsoft
consumer products and showcases powerful ways to cut costs, create
efficiencies, streamline operations, and promote and sell goods — within the
aisles, in the employee break room, at receiving and shipping, at checkout,
across the Web, and even at home or on the go.

“With changing consumer demands and slowed spending, increasing shopper
loyalty and frequency while managing costs is critical for retailers’
success,” said Bill Gonzalez, general manager, Worldwide Distribution and
Services Sector at Microsoft. “Through the immersive setting of the Retail
Experience Center, our retail customers can emerge with an in-depth sense of
how software and innovations can help them rise above competitive pressures
and industry regulations to create a consumer-driven operation – one that
consistently delivers a differentiated customer experience across multiple
channels while empowering employees to make every square foot of retail space
as profitable and productive as possible.”

Visitors to the center can experience more than 25 technology innovations
and partner solutions in action. These showcase how Microsoft and its industry
partners are directly benefiting consumers and the retail industry in the
following ways:

    -- Build connected shopping experiences and customer loyalty. A hands-on
       environment with seamless, multichannel integration, the Retail
       Experience Center encourages visitors to try easy, more natural ways to
       interact with and access digital content. Interactive technologies
       include digital signage and kiosks plus applications that deliver
       targeted, real-time information to a shopping cart or on a consumer's
       mobile phone to help influence buying decisions, sales and customer
       loyalty. Innovations include Microsoft Surface, Microsoft Advertising
       solutions, Microsoft radio frequency identification infrastructure,
       Microsoft Tag, Microsoft Commerce Server 2009 and the multitouch
       features in Windows 7.
    -- Improve business insights and decision-making. From the employee break
       room to assisted selling devices on the sales floor to a store
       manager's workbench, the center showcases innovations across the entire
       retail environment. Visitors can experience how technology can empower
       retail employees with better visibility, support collaboration for
       increased productivity, and enable a seamless consumer experience.
       Innovations include Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, Microsoft unified
       communications offerings, Microsoft business intelligence solutions,
       Windows Mobile and Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007.
    -- Create operational efficiencies. Retailers can cut costs, lower
       expenses and increase operational efficiencies with technologies for
       store systems integration, performance management, proactive remote
       monitoring of a store's environment, virtualization and enhanced data
       security capabilities. Environmental sustainability is also
       demonstrated throughout the center from the design of the building to
       the management of in-store technology and the eco-friendly packaging
       for products on its shelves. Technologies include Microsoft System
       Center Operations Manager 2007 and Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V

Center Serves as Test Facility to Influence New Products, Consumer

The Retail Experience Center is also part of Microsoft’s larger effort to
establish a research facility to better understand and address how consumers
are experiencing the Windows brand at retail as they select and purchase PCs.
Acting as a test facility, it will give the retail industry a unique
opportunity to provide feedback that can directly influence future Microsoft
products and how it sells to consumers.

“Customers have told us they want Microsoft to play a more active role in
their technology experiences, by helping direct them to the specific products,
services and technologies that will most benefit their unique needs,” said

Brad Brooks, corporate vice president for Windows Consumer Product Marketing
at Microsoft.

As a result of consumer feedback, early pilots with retailers have
included branded store-within-a-store displays, with some featuring trained
Microsoft Gurus to assist PC buyers.

Tours of the facility are conducted by invitation only for Microsoft
customers, partners and members of the press. Additional details about the
Microsoft Retail Experience Center can be found at

Innovation on Display at Retail Industry Event

A number of technologies and emerging innovations within the Retail
Experience Center are on display today in Microsoft’s booth No. 637 at the
National Retail Federation (NRF) 98th Annual Convention and Expo in New York.
Attendees can see demonstrations of solutions that help to cut costs, create
efficiencies, streamline operations and drive customer loyalty through
connected experiences. Innovations include Microsoft Surface; Microsoft
Dynamics solutions; a preview of Microsoft Commerce Server 2009, a
comprehensive platform for multichannel e-commerce solutions with new built-in
shopping features; Microsoft Tag, a new mobile marketing solution that quickly
and easily connects mobile users with mobile content from publishers and
peers; and the new multitouch features and gestures in Windows 7.

Microsoft also unveiled several new products and industry alliances today
at the NRF convention including the following:

    -- Windows Embedded POSReady 2009, the next generation of Windows Embedded
       for Point of Service (POS), is Microsoft's embedded operating system
       optimized for OEMs building POS solutions and enterprises using POS
       devices. This next-generation POS platform is a flexible operating
       system designed to seamlessly connect POS solutions with peripherals,
       servers and services. The improved flexibility of the new Windows
       Embedded POSReady 2009 platform will offer retailers a familiar next-
       generation solution that is easily deployed and remotely managed and
       provides new storage options, lowering the total cost of ownership of
       POS devices.
    -- Microsoft, Accenture and Avanade announced a multichannel alliance and
       demonstrated solutions to help retailers provide a shopping experience
       that connects with consumers through social networking and online
       communities. The alliance provides dedicated resources from each
       organization and demonstrates real-time integration between the in-
       store and online shopping experiences.

More information about Microsoft’s participation and announcements at the
NRF convention can be found at

About Microsoft in Retail

Microsoft provides software that helps empower retail’s biggest assets –
its people — to make better decisions at every stage of the value chain.
Microsoft software helps enable retail employees to strengthen customer
relationships, build high-value business connections and improve operations by
addressing key areas such as store systems, real-time analytics and supply
chain management. Through a combination of Microsoft- and partner-provided
solutions, retail customers enable their employees to deliver an outstanding
customer experience across various channels by turning data into insight,
transforming ideas into action and turning change into opportunity. More
information about Microsoft’s work in the retail industry can be found at

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in
software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their
full potential.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.

Source: newswire

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