Microsoft hopes to interest retailers in its software and services by promoting its Star Style retail concept next week at the National Retail Federation trade show and conference in New York. Introduced in Italy in September, Star Style is the new name for any customized Microsoft projects in the areas of digital marketing and e-commerce.

This story first appeared in the January 8, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Microsoft’s retail group now focuses on digital marketing and e-commerce, business insight and store systems such as point of sale, said Paula Paravecchio, the software giant’s market development director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The company has updated its vision of advanced retailing to include video, mobile and social networking.

At the Star Style launch at a film festival in Italy, Microsoft showed videos from Louis Vuitton, Ferragamo, Chanel and Dior on the wall and on its tabletop touch-screen computer called Microsoft Surface. The Vuitton video is an updated riff on the famous Guy de Maupassant story about a diamond necklace, instead focusing on a Vuitton bag.

Video — whether online, on mobile phones or in the store — is important to create an emotional connection between customers and retailers, said Paravecchio.

Another idea is that stores can combine text messaging with clienteling to automatically send customized messages to customers when they walk into a store, she said. One Italian specialty chain that uses Microsoft customer relationship management software plans to test sending text messages to customers soon. Many retailers have used text message marketing to send discounts to customers.

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