In this interactive conversation, Country Head Microsoft Dynamics (Applications) Business, Microsoft India Samik Roy and Co-founder Wildcraft, Siddharth Sood talk on each other’s business vision, company priorities, customer engagement and the reasons why they decided to partner each other…
Samik Roy: Tell us about Wildcraft’s journey, its priorities.
Siddharth Sood: From the first few years of being in business, we wanted Wildcraft to be available at whatever touch point the consumers chose to look for it at. This means we built our business to be multi-channel and our distribution was channel-agnostic from the very start.
Samik Roy:What is Wildcraft’s vision of customer engagement?
Siddharth Sood: Wildcraft is a part of consumers’ adventures. Consumer engagement for us starts at the point where consumers first come across the brand – this could be at a digital or social touchpoint, or as they pass by one of our stores. Engagement for us is not transaction led – it refers to anything that they do that involves the brand. They could be talking about us on Facebook or using our rucksack on a road trip – all of it is consumer engagement in our world.
Samik Roy: What is the importance of in-store experience and significance of the online business model?
Siddharth Sood: In-store is non-negotiable at Wildcraft. We are proud of our expansive retail presence and have invested in ensuring it is a good experience for consumers. As an owned channel it is an important touchpoint for us where we showcase the true identity of our brand. Online is as important. The online ‘retail space’ (i.e. listing displays/brand stores) are templatized by the channel owners to a large extent but it is a great channel for product discovery – we know for a fact that consumers do their research online before they decide to buy. Both real & virtual presence is important for a brand in my mind.
Samik Roy: Tell us about your decision to partner with Microsoft.
Siddharth Sood: There is no doubt that Microsoft is known for its reputation in the market as a tech-integration & channel tech specialist. We shifted our ERP to Microsoft Dynamix AX in 2015. The decision to partner with the team at Microsoft came from our need for a scalable solution that could function as the back-bone of a fast-growing entrepreneurial business. We need something that is agile and that comes with good support teams.
Samik Roy: What are Wildcraft’s plans for future?
Siddharth Sood: There are many plans for us in the coming years – we are after aggressive growth in the market and technology is going to be an important enabler in our journey. Whether it’s Omnichannel ambitions, increasing consumer engagement in stores or getting a single customer view across our diverse channels, our reliance on technology is not going to diminish.
The Other Side
Siddharth Sood: How does Microsoft drive innovation in enhancing customer experience when in-store?
Samik Roy: Face time with a prospective customer or existing customer is the most valuable time for any sales and service organization. It is the moment of truth, where in an interaction can build mind share and a relationship. These relationships, if nurtured well lead to wallet share, which in turn impacts market share.
Imagine a buyer walking into a shop and having a sales person standing next to him with a tablet. The sales person can show different product options, his/her previous purchases (if an existing customer), what other customers have been buying, the trend, what people are saying about the product in social networks etc.
The sales person knows the current promotions, availability of the product at the store, sizes and colors available and every similar piece of information that is needed to do an effective sale. All these are available at the fingertips of the sales person via Microsoft Dynamics Retail AX and CRM. If the buyer decides to procure any product, the billing and customer/warranty registration is done from the tab itself. We call this ‘Empowering the Employee’.
Siddharth Sood: What if the customer was visiting us online instead of in-store?
Samik Roy: It is clear that the focus of the retail experience has expanded well beyond the walls of the physical store and now includes everything from the retailer’s website and call center to marketplaces and social networks—connected seamlessly as one experience. In other words, Omnichannel retail simply is retail today.
If the prospect or customer visits the online store, they can similarly view their past history, trends, points, ongoing promotions and offers, product features, existing customer experiences, stocks in hand, delivery timelines and more. They can get on an automated knowledge base for chat or engage an online chat agent for further queries. All aspects from browsing to ordering to history is available from the online store module of Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail. This is what we call ‘Empowering the Customer’.
Our ERP, Modern POS, Store Management, On-line Store, CRM and Analytics all run on a single data model. The same solution runs the e-commerce engines as well as the in-store experiences. With Customer becoming the key driver in the growth of Retailers here-on, Microsoft Dynamics for Retail enables a consistent view of customer across multiple channels – which is possible only by having a single source of truth as far as customer information is concerned. The same holds true for inventory and all Retail functions as well.
At Microsoft, we believe that modern business solutions should connect people inside and outside the organization, giving them the context and insights that drive better decisions and boost productivity.
Siddharth Sood: What are Microsoft’s views on customer success?
Samik Roy: We believe in partnering with our customers. In this changing retail landscape, it is important to understand our customer’s vision and objectives and align accordingly as a team. Digital, Cloud and Mobility are major focus areas for us.
Our engagement with our customers’ increase post procurement of our licenses. We stay in close touch till the solution is implemented and customers’ use it effectively. Consumption and Adoption are very key for us. That is what measures success for us at Microsoft.
Siddharth Sood: How can Microsoft help me in my vision in as far as Wildcraft is concerned?
Samik Roy: History leads us to present. Present leads us to future. We have traversed a beautiful journey together with Wildcraft. Initially when they built the company, they used to run on Microsoft NAV, our ERP for SME’s. As they grew, we moved from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics AX, our ERP for the enterprise. As they expanded into retail, we together implemented Dynamics AX for Retail and POS. The next step is CRM. It is our constant endeavor to stay in touch with Wildcraft, understand the priorities and provide the technology to help them grow. We grow together as partners.