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Building a solution for retail and looking for the right location platform? Chances are Azure Maps is exactly what you need.

Today’s shoppers have developed new standards of behaviors, preferences and expectations for their retail experiences. To compete in this new environment, retailers need to overcome the hurdles of legacy technology and captivate each customer with a one-on-one experience using intelligent retail.

 

Microsoft is taking retail to the next level

To help retailers get to the next level, Microsoft recently announced availability of AI-driven insights from new features in Microsoft Dynamic 365 as well as in two new offerings: Dynamics 365 Connected Store and Dynamics 365 Commerce. Dynamics 365 Connected Store is a new application that provides insight into the retail space, helping physical retailers understand and improve the in-store experience by analyzing disparate data from video cameras and IoT sensors to providing real-time and predictive insights that help store managers and employees. Dynamics 365 Commerce delivers a complete omnichannel solution that unifies back-office, in-store, and digital experiences built on Dynamics 365 Retail capabilities.

 

Where does Azure Maps fit

In addition to Dynamics 365 Commerce, Microsoft is investing heavily in IoT platform services to take retail to the next level. Azure IoT services allow securely connecting devices to the Cloud to better harness the data they generate and extract insights to take action. Azure Maps is a location platform part of this family of services. Its geospatial services use fresh mapping data to provide geographic context to both web and mobile applications. Developers can access Azure Maps services for rendering retail shopping maps in multiple styles, searching for retail addresses, and optimize routes for shopping trips, parking, or delivery. They can also use Azure Maps to request public transit and rideshare information, establish user location, geofence, store map data, and apply location intelligence through geospatial analytics.

Here are some examples of how Azure Maps can fit into intelligent retail:

  1. Acknowledge context: Integrate location to improve context about how customers are working, playing and living.
  2. Optimize store operations: Track customer in-store to measure products of interest or not
  3. Optimize delivery services: Pre-plan driver routes to minimize time on the road

 

Learn more on the IoT Show

In a recent episode of the IoT Show on Channel 9, “Retail Location Analytics with Azure Maps,” ShiSh, a 15-year veteran of the Microsoft Retail Industry Team, shows how Azure Maps can be used for location analytics. Specifically, he performs a catchment analysis of a café in downtown Seattle. His demo (available on GitHub) provides a  peek into the potential of Azure Maps and its role in driving intelligent retail.

 

Next steps

Developers can access Azure Maps by spinning up a free Azure subscription and then firing up an Azure Maps account. No licensing or pricing negotiations required.

And for more on intelligent retail, download the AI for Retail Playbook.