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4 post-pandemic retail trends – Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog

The last few decades have seen monumental change in the retail industry. Specifically, technology has untethered the shopper from the store and allowed retail to take place anywhere, at any time. When viewed through hindsight, these changes occurred just in time, for without the e-commerce revolution during the past two decades, retailers would have faced…

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The last few decades have seen monumental change in the retail industry. Specifically, technology has untethered the shopper from the store and allowed retail to take place anywhere, at any time. When viewed through hindsight, these changes occurred just in time, for without the e-commerce revolution during the past two decades, retailers would have faced a significantly more difficult situation during the recent pandemic. Nonetheless, innovative companies have been able to adapt and adjust to these challenging times.

Businesses looked to the role of technology in enabling the agility to not only meet emerging customer needs but also to drive lasting impact in their organization’s business efficiency, customer experience, and market position. Patagonia partnered with Microsoft and Dynamics 365 to help navigate through the market turmoil and continue to innovate and drive to meet their business goals.

The pandemic forced many retailers to rethink almost everything related to the purchase experience. Where and how can customers pick up and return their purchased items? How can they pay? What is the utility of a store in an online-first shopping environment? Questions like these are now being answered in ways that will reverberate through the industry long after the pandemic has receded.

Dynamics 365 has helped equip retailers with a flexible, unified, and seamless buying experience for customers and partners. With Dynamics 365 Commerce, businesses have been able to engage across traditional and emerging channels while allowing consumers the option to buy when, how, and where they want—on any device—by delivering a frictionless and consistent experience across online and offline channels.

As we continue through the pandemic, both shoppers and retailers will have to adapt to a new normal. Let’s take a closer look at some trends that will persist in retail for the time to come.

1. Flexible order fulfillment

2020 ushered in the mass adoption of non-traditional fulfillment opportunities. One of these new methods that became essential during the past year is BOPIS, or buy-online-pick-up-in-store. As the pandemic unfolded, retailers saw a 208 percent increase in BOPIS from the previous year as customers gravitated to the increased convenience and choice that flexible order fulfillment offered. This accelerated a trend that had been gaining ground in some industries, like grocery, and saw it spread to retail sectors of all kinds.

2. Flexible returns

Like flexible order fulfillment, flexible returns provide the customer with increased convenience, this time related to items they no longer need or are not satisfied with. Returns are costly, and COVID-19 supercharged their numbers, with 2020 seeing consumers return $428 billion in merchandise, with $102 billion attributed to online purchasing, up 38.5 percent from 2019. As we move forward, the challenge will be for retailers to manage costs around returns without depriving consumers of the ease of returns they came to expect during the pandemic.

3. Contactless payments

Of all the trends mentioned in this blog, contactless payment via radio frequency identification (RFID) and near-field communication technology was perhaps the most widely adopted before the pandemic. Even at that, the need for increased cleanliness protocols and a desire to avoid touching surfaces where possible meant that the use of contactless payments has increased by 30 percent since COVID-19 started. With continued growth expected, savvy retailers will no longer allow the purchase experience to be tethered to specific locations or modes of payment.

4. Omnichannel retail

Like contactless payments, omnichannel retail plans had already been a high priority for many companies pre-COVID-19. However, the pandemic forced many retailers to speed up transitions from mostly brick-and-mortar to a proper omnichannel solution. Omnichannel has become an absolute requirement for modern retailers to survive. Part of this transition includes a re-thinking of the physical store itself. Rather than acting as the critical location in the retail journey—a place for customers to browse for and purchase items—the store now serves as a place for customers to see, touch, and feel items they have discovered through other shopping channels before final purchase.

Microsoft is helping retailers deliver on their brand promises

In each of the trends mentioned, consumers rushed to welcome the added flexibility to the retail experience. As we continue through the pandemic and return to a new normal, consumers will be reticent to give their newfound conveniences.

At January NRF we announced Microsoft Cloud for Retail to help retailers deliver seamless experiences across the entire buying journey, and recently we announced even more capabilities within the Microsoft Cloud for Retail public preview to help businesses build flexibility into their systems in order to thrive in the post-pandemic world.

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Blooming Tree brings daily dose of gems to Monster Legends players

Players of Monster Legends can take advantage of a new feature to grow their monster collection and gain other rewards by coming back to the game daily. Look for the new Blooming Tree in the game’s shop, then purchase it to activate the Bloom and get your instant gems reward. Then return the next day…

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Players of Monster Legends can take advantage of a new feature to grow their monster collection and gain other rewards by coming back to the game daily.

Look for the new Blooming Tree in the game’s shop, then purchase it to activate the Bloom and get your instant gems reward. Then return the next day to collect your daily dose of gems, and keep coming back until the last day of blooming. Gems Bloom is active for 30 days after the purchase.

Also, players can now participate in the last event of the season: the Bounty Hunt. From Aug. 12 to Aug. 19, flip tiles to find the fugitive monster and defeat it. The more points you get in this event, the more leagues you will climb. Great rewards await players, especially at higher leagues: the new monster Goliathess is one of them.

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Microsoft is a Leader in The Forrester Wave: CRM Suites, Q3 2022

We are honored to announce that Microsoft Dynamics 365 was identified as a Leader in The Forrester WaveTM: CRM Suites, Q3 2022. A few weeks ago, during his Microsoft Inspire keynote, Satya Nadella reminded us of the distinct value that Microsoft provides to organizations by leading the way in digital transformation and supercharging their systems…

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We are honored to announce that Microsoft Dynamics 365 was identified as a Leader in The Forrester WaveTM: CRM Suites, Q3 2022.

A few weeks ago, during his Microsoft Inspire keynote, Satya Nadella reminded us of the distinct value that Microsoft provides to organizations by leading the way in digital transformation and supercharging their systems of record. “Dynamics 365 is purpose-built for this new world of business process. Our intelligent business applications connect data, process, and teams, ushering in a new era of hyper connected business and offering unparalleled value.” And over this past year we have been proud to see our customers take Dynamics 365 and show that there are really no limits to what can be done when you unite data silos with industry-leading AI and integrate collaboration tools throughout.

From the Campari Group’s ability to deploy bespoke personalization to their event attendees with real-time customer journey orchestration, to Dextra Group’s saving a whopping 60 percent on their customer relationship management (CRM) cost while also increasing seller productivity and lead quality, and to the city of Richmond, Virginia transformation of their non-emergency case management capabilities to deliver omnichannel engagement for improved efficiency and also becoming benchmark for how governments nationwide can utilize digital tools to better serve their communities.

What makes our CRM and connected products stand out for our customers? Here are seven key insights we have heard over the past year.

  1. Dynamics 365 provides an end-to-end, full-funnel solution. Dynamics 365 is the only portfolio of intelligent business applications that accelerates revenue outcomes by transforming selling experiences with a single intelligent, digital, customizable solution.
  2. Robust AI insights at your fingertips. Dynamics 365 enables everyone, across every team, to make better and more impactful decisions by converting data into insights with the intelligence of Microsoft AI allowing teams to be more efficient and productive.
  3. Breakdown the barriers between people. We offer the leading workplace collaboration, video conferencing, and meeting software in the world with Microsoft Teams, which can connect seamlessly with our out-of-the-box CRM or be personalized to fit an organization’s needs with custom features.
  4. Personalize every experience. Dynamics 365 Marketing assists companies in more deeply understanding their customers and drives intent with AI-powered insights to deliver connected experiences—all the way from acquisition to retention.
  5. Streamlined, proactive, scalable sales. Dynamics 365 helps sales teams uplevel forecasting and revenue operations with built-in AI and machine learning and enhance seller performance with recommended next best actions, productivity tools, and real-time coaching.
  6. Breakthrough service capabilities. Dynamics 365 Customer Service helps organizations meet the evolving needs of every customer across every channel and increases customer satisfaction, while boosting frontline employee productivity regardless of location.
  7. Low-code transformation. With Microsoft Power Platform, organizations can provide anyone with the ability for low-code transformation with low-code, intuitive, extensible tools that seamlessly connect to Dynamics 365. 

It’s an honor for us that so many organizations look to us for help modernizing sales, marketing, and service operations. As Forrester states in its report, “Microsoft’s strong vision, the breadth of its suite, and its partner ecosystem and industry solutions drive its 40% year-over-year growth, especially in industries such as financial services, healthcare, and retail.” We genuinely believe that with connected data, underpinned by industry leading AI and insights, there are no limits to what organizations can do. From upleveling employee experiences, to improving team productivity, and building deeper relationships with customers. It is all available with Dynamics 365.

Learn more

To learn more about how Microsoft compared with the other eight selected providers, please navigate to The Forrester WaveTM: CRM Suites, Q3 2022 website and get your copy.

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Exchange Online Basic authentication is going away: What you need to know

Effective October 1, 2022, you will no longer be able to use Basic authentication to connect to Microsoft Exchange Online. If your organization uses server-side synchronization or the deprecated Dynamics 365 Email Router, you should find out now whether you need to prepare for the change. How will removing Exchange Online Basic authentication affect Dynamics…

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Effective October 1, 2022, you will no longer be able to use Basic authentication to connect to Microsoft Exchange Online. If your organization uses server-side synchronization or the deprecated Dynamics 365 Email Router, you should find out now whether you need to prepare for the change.

How will removing Exchange Online Basic authentication affect Dynamics 365 and Power Apps?

After October 1, 2022, any connection to Exchange Online that uses server-side sync or the Dynamics 365 Email Router with Basic authentication (username and password) will quit working. Dynamics 365 mailboxes that use these connections will no longer be able to:

  • Send email from Dynamics 365 through Exchange Online
  • Retrieve email from Exchange Online
  • Synchronize appointments, contacts, or tasks between Dynamics 365 and Exchange Online

This change doesn’t affect connections that use Modern authentication (OAuth 2.0 token-based authorization).

How can I find out if I need to prepare?

If your company is using server-side sync or the Email Router to connect to Exchange Online using a username and password, you need to act. There are a couple of ways to find out whether your organization is affected and what you need to do if it is.

Review your Message Center Posts (recommended)

The fastest and most reliable way to know if you need to prepare and what to do is to look in the Microsoft 365 Message Center. (You must have admin rights to sign in to the Message Center.) The Exchange Online team has been sending monthly Message Center posts to all affected customers with the following title format: “Basic Authentication – Monthly Usage Report – 2022.”

If your organization is using server-side sync with Basic authentication, you may also have received Message Center posts from the Dynamics 365 or Power Apps services. Look for posts with the following title: “Impact due to Exchange Online disabling Basic Authentication.”

The posts provide detailed information about the change and actions you need to take before October 1.

Check your Dynamics 365 email settings

If you don’t find any posts in the Message Center, read our guide on how to check whether your organization is affected and if it is, what you need to do before October 1.

Learn more

You can find more information, including FAQs, in the documentation:

Use of Basic authentication with Exchange Online | Microsoft Docs

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