Microsoft announced the global debut of a retail solution, available first in Harvey Norman, that empowers consumers to make informed purchase decisions amidst the myriad of options available online and offline.
The solution, called Microsoft Synchronized Shopping, is aimed at simplifying the consumer journey by leveraging intelligent cloud technology.
Using AI to Customise Your Shopping
With the online proliferation of options and the anywhere/anytime nature of shopping via mobile devices, two issues plague the customer journey for consumer electronic purchasers today. First, shoppers (80% of whom start their journey online) end up delaying or even postponing a purchase because they are overwhelmed by the number of choices. Second, they find it difficult to choose the product that best meets their needs, without conducting extensive research, and often end up buying a less-than-satisfactory device. This “choice paralysis” inspired the design of Microsoft Synchronized Shopping.
With the Microsoft Synchronized Shopping solution, shoppers use a customized conversational A.I. driven product advisor, on the Harvey Norman website, that asks a series of questions to identify their needs, then recommends devices that best meet those specific needs such as long battery life or storage capacity. Product advisor results reflect devices that are on display in Harvey Norman, where customers can go to try them out.
The immersive and engaging experience starts when the shortlisted device(s) on the website creates a shopper pass on the mobile device with embedded geo-location services. When shoppers are in proximity of the store where the specific PCs are available, they get a phone notification, and once they enter the store are guided to the exact PCs that were recommended by the online advisor.
This simplifies the in-store experience, eliminating the need for shoppers to spend time navigating through all the choices in the PC aisle. In addition, it provides a seamless online-offline purchase journey tailored to their needs which is highly secure (and with no footprint of the user on any of the interacting devices).