Microsoft unveils new generative AI capabilities for retailers

Microsoft has released new generative AI (genAI) capabilities along with other updates to help retailers create better customer experiences for online shoppers.

The new features include a Copilot template, currently available in preview, that lets retailers build personalized shopping experiences that can be later embedded into an app or website allowing shoppers to make queries in natural language.

The company claims the templates, which are powered by GPT-4 through Azure OpenAI Service, can assist an online shopper in the same way a store associate would aid a buyer in a brick-and-mortar store.  

This template can also surface complementary items to increase basket size and bolster customer satisfaction, the company said in a statement.

Another new Copilot template, also now in preview, can support store operations by helping associates working across physical outlets glean insights from their flow of work. Store associates and managers can use the template, for example, to create a genAI assistant to get answers to questions on store procedures, product catalogs, HR policies, and benefits

Additionally, the assistant can be used to get access to customer information, which could help better in-store shopping experiences.

“Applications built with the Copilot template can also give store leaders a view into employees’ and customers’ most frequently asked questions, allowing them to gain insights that help them take meaningful actions, such as updating training, procedures, or guidelines,” the company said.

Microsoft Experience Centers — physical store locations in New York City, Sydney and London that allow shoppers to experience Microsoft products and make retail purchases — will be among the first retailers to implement this particular Copilot template.

New data capabilities in Microsoft Fabric

As part of the updates, the company added new data capabilities to its unified data warehousing and analytics service, Microsoft Fabric, to help retailers derive actionable insights from their data.

These capabilities include a data model inside the service that allows retailers to plan, architect and design data solutions. “This retail industry data model, which is generally available, can be used for data governance, reporting, business intelligence and advanced analytics,” Microsoft said.

Other features added to Fabric, all currently in preview, include a data connector and analytics templates. The data connector, according to Microsoft, can be used to bring retailers’ data from Sitecore OrderCloud (preview) into Microsoft Fabric in real time.

“Under this unified lens, retailers can access insights and tools to proactively improve customer satisfaction and business operations at every touchpoint from storefront to fulfillment,” the company said.

Separately, the Analytics templates, which include modules such as frequently brought together items, is expected to provide actionable, data-driven recommendations to help retailers improve product upselling and shelf optimization.

New Copilot features in Dynamics 365 Customer Insights

In addition, Microsoft released new Copilot features in Dynamics 365 Customer Insights to help marketers build end-to-end projects and campaigns.

These new features offer marketing teams an Al-driven experience to kickstart projects by simply typing in their desired outcome in natural language or by uploading an existing creative brief.  Copilot then responds by generating a centralized project board, allowing marketers to manage and update their campaign workflows and get Al-recommended content that can be easily changed. According to Microsoft, this eliminates the need for siloed applications and saves time.

Additionally, Microsoft is adding genAI to the Microsoft Retail Media

platform through the launch of Retail Media Creative Studio, an end-to-end banner advertisement creative solution tailored for retail media. It will be available in preview this month.

“With Retail Media Creative Studio, retailers can empower their advertisers to quickly auto-generate and edit banner creatives by using generative Al,” the company said, adding that the new feature optimizes banner campaign performance using Al-powered algorithms to deliver a more personalized shopping experience.

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