I heard Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer make the case yesterday for Microsoft Retail Solutions to the “the highest concentration of CEOs in retail,” convened for the National Retail Federation (NRF) Annual Convention, as I present and discuss in “Microsoft: Steve Ballmer sells to retail in NYC.”
Ballmer showed a short video designed to illustrate Microsoft’s vision for retail’s future, or the Microsoft “retail innovation outlook.” The video envisaged a big-box retail consumer future where consumers are “empowered” through mobile, on-demand access to product information, availability and promotions.
Equipped with data-rich smart phones, consumers will enter department stores with shopping lists pre-mapped for easy in-store product retrieval. Retail management, armed with mobile handsets, will be on-call to place real-time stock replenishment orders and authorize on-the-fly purchase incentives. Checkout lines will be extinct as consumers simply scan their completed shopping lists at exit for automatic payment debiting.
After Ballmer’s presentation, I met with members of the Microsoft Retail & Hospitality team to get more in-depth information on the status of Microsoft’s “retail innovation outlook.”
In “Microsoft: Steve Ballmer sells to retail in NYC” I discuss the Microsoft A.U.R.A.--Advanced User Resource Annotation--prototype annotation services under development aimed at leveraging “the participatory media wave to shape customer decisions.” I also demoed mobile shopping applications currently being implemented by Microsoft technology partners.
Microsoft is the leading technology company in terms of market cap, twice the size of Google. Microsoft is doing all it can to maintain its dominance hoping for “Wow,” while Google is doing its Googley best to continue to close in.
Google was a “no-show” at the Consumer Electronic Show (see “Google search for super models”) and not much of a show at retail’s big show.
Microsoft, along with IBM, JDA, Oracle and SAP, are “Chairman’s Circle Sponsors” of the NRF convention. Google and Google Checkout are no where to be found in the Convention Program Guide.
On my way out of the convention center, I noticed a cute little Google Checkout “cart” manned by a sole Googler. The cart included a computer to demo the “checkout process.” The Googler was making a valiant effort to flag down exiting attendees for a look.
I recall both the cart and the Googler from the NRF’s Shop.org ecommerce conference last October. At Shop.org, I attempted to take the Googler up on his offer, but he was unable to login to the system.