A woman pushes a shopping trolley in a supermarket, looks at vegetable selection

Microsoft forms global strategic partnership with customer data science experts dunnhumby to transform retail sector

Microsoft has formed a global strategic partnership with dunnhumby, the leader in customer data science, in a move that could transform the $5.9 trillion retail sector.

As part of the partnership, dunnhumby will move its widely-used customer insights products to Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform, giving retailers and suppliers instant and secure access to dunnhumby’s customer data science tools. Because Azure can handle vast amounts of information securely and can cope with large spikes in demand, the partnership will enable more retailers and their suppliers to gain deep shopper and business insights, better understand their customers’ needs and preferences and improve collaboration.

dunnhumby works with companies including Tesco, Meijer, Unilever and McDonald’s, using data science to help them deliver better shopping experiences for their customers. Retailers and suppliers are using machine learning and analytics to make better and quicker decisions that improve product promotions, assortment, development, acquisitions and retention.

dunnhumby analyses more than 395 million shopper baskets and nine billion data records every week so thousands of brands and suppliers in the grocery and drug sectors can understand how each of their individual products is performing with different types of shoppers. Combining dunnhumby’s tools, such as Shop on Lab, with the Azure cloud platform will allow many more retailers and suppliers to share critical insights into their businesses. The processing power of Azure and the machine learning data science of dunnhumby can offer the right insights at the right time, so action can be taken quickly to support improved company performance, new trends and innovation, brand switching and loyalty.

  • Above: Clare Barclay, COO of Microsoft UK, and Guillaume Bacuvier, CEO of Dunnhumby, talk about the partnership and what it could mean for the retail sector

“This partnership will empower more retailers and brands across the globe to more effectively compete in this expansive yet turbulent industry,” said Guillaume Bacuvier, Chief Executive of dunnhumby. “By providing access to our science and technology via Azure – the most secure cloud platform, favoured by many retailers today – our goal is to fundamentally change the way data is used in retail and completely democratise the use of customer data science across the retail industry.”

According to recent research by dunnhumby and Forrester Consulting, “85% of grocery retailers globally lack the resources, technology, people and processes to use insights to monetise their data and drive customer experience”. Meanwhile, 96% experience challenges trying to use data to develop customer strategies to drive growth. Among those who are successful, 61% see an improvement in the customer experience.

Clare Barclay, Chief Operating Officer at Microsoft UK, said: “Retailers sit on vast amounts of data but often struggle to create meaningful insights for themselves or their suppliers. Through this strategic partnership, retailers across the globe will benefit from the powerful intelligence that dunnhumby delivers through its market-leading tools with the scale, security and speed-to-market that has become synonymous with the Azure platform.”