Guest Post: New Technologies Built on Azure Can Spur a Revival for Retail and Wholesale Businesses

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The following is a guest post by Richard Mayr, CEO of blue-zone AG.

Do you think online shops are going to replace retail and wholesale businesses in the long run? You might be right, if retail and wholesale do business as usual. But blue-zone thinks new technologies can launch a revival for today's retail and wholesale businesses if they use technology to appeal to customers emotionally – not only with guerrilla marketing, but with satisfying a customer's needs on the spot. For this reason, blue-zone created a sales app solution based on Microsoft Azure. By using Azure, we can virtually increase your product portfolio while consulting your customer in your store, even in locations with poor data coverage.

Retail stores have experienced several new challenges since the arrival of online shopping. One of these challenges is the advisement of customers. In a store, customers can be advised in the impending decision of a purchase. This advantage is not available during online shopping, which means the purchase does not take place through interpersonal relations and lacks the same emotional criteria. Now there are new technologies that allow us to handle those customer needs, even if the product range is limited. With the help of modern apps on mobile devices combined with Azure, the adviser will be presented with new possibilities for customer support in retail or wholesale.

Many manufacturers are already taking advantage of mobile solutions to improve their business and their customer relationship. B2B relationships can be a good model for the B2C relationship. Just like manufacturers enthuse their customers (wholesale or retail managers) by using mobile devices for showing products, retail personnel can advise their customers (consumers coming into their shop). Using mobile devices to support a sales approach and stirring customers in that same way means starting a new generation of business.

What until now was well-covered with a web-based ordering system might be – for the new market challenges – outdated. While web-based ordering systems have limits, such as working only when connected or not always mobile (stationary PCs), new mobile sales apps support interaction with the customer from any corner of the shop. Products are shown in a fascinating way and additional product variations can be ordered while advising. This is due to Azure, which ensures scalability no matter how consistent or inconsistent the consumption is (more customers coming in on weekends versus weekdays); no matter whether the customer meeting takes place within a mall when connectivity is sometimes poor; no matter whether the products are in the shop or whether additional pieces are ordered from stock and delivered to the customer's address. But the best part is you emotionally bind your customer to your shop with a positive experience.

Due to offline usability, Azure makes data always available for the app. It provides the latest update of the data from and to the app for high performance, and it provides scalability when needed. The data synchronization is limited to the difference between the previous update and the latest update, which means it's quick, easy, and always up to date. When the data is transferred to Azure, it is being analyzed, updated, and synchronized, and it works anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Learn more about how blue-zone's sales app solution on Azure can improve your daily business and satisfy your customers' needs whenever they enter your shop. For an example of a business scenario in German, visiting our website.

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