MICROSOFT AND M&S LAUNCH STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP AIMED AT TRANSFORMING THE RETAIL EXPERIENCE USING THE POWER OF AI
- Partnership will investigate and test the capabilities of technology and artificial intelligence in a retail environment
- Microsoft AI engineers will partner with the M&S technology team
- Important next step in M&S’s Digital First Retailer focus, part of its business-wide transformation programme
LONDON — 21 June, 2018 — Microsoft Corp. and M&S today announced the signing of a strategic partnership focused on testing the integration of Microsoft AI technologies into M&S’ customer experience, stores and wider operations.
The partnership will see the two organisations work together to explore how technologies such as artificial intelligence can be utilised within the retail environment to improve customer experience and optimise operations. A team of world-class AI engineers and product personnel from Microsoft will partner with the M&S Retail Labs team to accelerate M&S’ digital transformation.
The announcement forms part of M&S’ drive to become a truly Digital First business that brings real value to its business and customers under its business-wide transformation programme. The partnership with Microsoft builds on M&S’s new Technology approach which was announced earlier this year.
Steve Rowe, M&S CEO, said: “M&S is transforming into a Digital First retailer, at a time when the sector is undergoing a customer-led revolution. We want to be at the forefront of driving value into the customer experience using the power of technology.
“Working together with Microsoft to understand the full potential of how technology and artificial intelligence can improve the in-store experience for our customers and the efficiencies of our wider operations could be a game changer for M&S – and for retail.”
“We firmly believe that AI has the power to amplify human ingenuity,” says Cindy Rose, CEO, Microsoft UK. “The retail sector is one of the most challenging landscapes in the UK right now and we are thrilled to be working with M&S to explore how AI can help such an iconic brand transform the customer experience and improve wider operations.”
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For further information, please contact:
Microsoft Media Relations, Assembly Ltd, MSCommercial@Assemblyinc.com
M&S Corporate Press Office: +44 (0)20 8718 1919
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M&S is a unique retailer with a great heritage. We operate Food, Clothing & Home and other retail businesses using the M&S own-brand model, focused on delivering great value for money. Although primarily based in the UK, we sell into 57 countries from 1,463 stores and websites around the world. We employ 81,000 colleagues serving about 32 million customers. For more information visit corporate.marksandspencer.com
Making M&S Special
In November 2017 Marks & Spencer set out a five year transformation programme for the business concentrating on Restoring the Basics, Shaping the Future and Making M&S Special.
Under this transformation programme, Making M&S Special, M&S has to date announced:
- A slowdown in the Simply Food store opening programme
- An acceleration of the UK store estate closure programme
- The sale and franchise of its retail business in Hong Kong and Macau
- A new Technology Transformation Programme
- Improvements to its Clothing & Home Logistics Network
- The restructure of the Customer, Marketing & Digital Team
- New customer insight partnership with Starcount
- The appointment of a new Food Managing Director
- The merging of its Retail & Property functions
- A New leadership team responsible for overhauling Clothing & Home business
- The announcement of the start of a programme to create a family of businesses under the M&S brand
- The appointment of two new Non-Executive Directors to its Board