Microsoft plans to incorporate new tools in its Office applications for retail customers, a move that aims to allow it to compete more aggressively with rivals including Amazon, Slack, and Salesforce (via Bloomberg). The company's CEO Satya Nadella plans to hold a speech on January 12 at the National Retail Federation event to discuss how how the retail giant Ikea moved over 70,000 employees to Teams for meetings and chat.
Among these new features, the company plans to introduce a walkie talkie feature to Teams that could allow for easy in-store communications. Ikea is also looking into putting video screens in its stores to give customers access to kitchen design advisors, according to the company's vice president Kenneth Lindegaard. It additionally aims to move the rest of its 165,000-employee workforce to the Office platform before the end of spring.
Microsoft has also announced the release of Dynamics 365 Commerce, allowing retailers to manage inventory, schedules, calls, e-commerce as well as in-store operations, which it plans to show off at the retail event next week. Among its early customers includes Canada Goose Holdings.
Microsoft’s aggressive competition has helped to further take leads over its rivals, including Amazon. A recent survey from Goldman Sachs shows that many IT executives prefer Azure over Amazon AWS, which still holds a lead in terms of overall revenue generation.
What do you think about Microsoft’s efforts it will be putting into the retail industry? Feel free to leave a comment below.