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Shaping the future of retail with Microsoft Customer Experience Platform

Today, nothing is certain for brands. Standing still means falling behind. Heritage brands are no different. Now more than ever, brands need to find authentic ways to engage with digitally-savvy consumers no matter where they are. How do brands steeped in tradition create modern experiences that resonate with today’s digital-native consumers?

Heritage brands like Campari and Leatherman are at a pivotal moment in their rich history, as consumer behavior shifts seemingly overnight. To adapt, these established brands turned to Microsoft Customer Experience Platform to forge direct relationships with consumers. Hyper-personalizing experiences while retaining their unique brand personality is made possible by combining digital technology with their brand and marketing strengths to attract and retain customers. Individualized journeys require real-time insights gleaned from customer data and infused into line-of-business applications, and seamless activation across a growing number of customer touchpoints. Privacy-aware, consent-enabled personalization powered by AI enables the brands to engage each customer at precisely the right moment with the right touch, at scale.

Unify and predict to personalize experiences

Campari Group, the 160-year-old alcohol spirits manufacturer, found it challenging to collect and analyze data to accurately predict customer needs. To derive value from the vast amount of customer data, Campari turned to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, a customer data platform (CDP) that’s part of Microsoft Customer Experience Platform to unify fragmented customer data and generate AI-powered insights that reveal the next best action.

Because of the sensitive nature of customer data, security and compliance were very important considerations. With the most advanced data governance and consent management capabilities, Dynamics 365 Customer Insights was the obvious choice.

Moving forward, Campari is taking experiences to the next level with real-time, customer-led journey orchestration in order to hyper-personalize experiences across different touchpointslike email, mobile, social, and in-personaccording to marketing segments and consumer types.

“Customer journey orchestration in Dynamics 365 Marketing promotes contextually relevant and consistent real-time conversations with every customer across all interaction points. We can more precisely align marketing messages for each communication channel to gain the greatest impact. We see the effects in in-store sales and also in e-commerce, which is particularly important during COVID-19We want to use this data in an end-to-end way, from marketing to sales to customer service, capturing and optimizing the entire customer journey.”Chad Niemuth, Vice President, Global IT Marketing and Sales, Campari Group.

By unifying data and deriving insights, Campari is now better prepared for new opportunities, whether it’s launching a new product, entering a new market, or building customer loyalty.

Engage in new ways

Whether customers are engaging with your brand virtually, in-person, or both, Microsoft can help create a seamless customer journey across channels. Leatherman, a leader in high-quality multi-tools, pocket tools, and knives for 37 years, needed a solution to meet their growing direct-to-consumer business. They wanted to curate a more personalized customer journey and to create user experience continuity with their online store. They leveraged customer journey orchestration to deliver an end-to-end welcome journey for their new customers.

Leatherman was able to create multi-touchpoints that allowed them to engage their customers across commerce and marketing using real-time custom events. This journey was executed every time a customer signed up or started to check out on their website. It allowed Leatherman to seamlessly activate new customers and to create opportunities for continued engagement along the way.

“We have the flexibility to trigger our journeys in multiple ways from our website and our other Dynamics products, and products from other vendors. The journey can also react to customer activities in real-time.”Liz Lee, IT Director, Leatherman Tool Group.

Leatherman gained a 360-degree view of their customer, was able to break down silos between existing systems, use the data to drive insights, and better tailor the customer experience.

When you have true multi-channel personalization that keeps your customer top of mind, you not only create a better experience for them, but also build brand loyalty. These individualized customer journeys keep them coming back for more and can turn customers into ambassadors for your brand.

Learn more

Take your brand into the future by creating tailored, delightful customer journeys with Microsoft Customer Experience Platform, an end-to-end solution that safely unifies and protects your customer data while inspiring trust and loyalty.

The post Shaping the future of retail with Microsoft Customer Experience Platform appeared first on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog.

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Power Fx: Error handling graduates to preview

We are thrilled to announce that the long-time experimental feature Formula-level error handling has moved forward to preview. As a result, you and your end users will enjoy higher reliability and more transparency about what is happening in your apps. It’s a huge step. Adding error handling to an existing language turned out to be a very tall order, touching almost everything, from data types, to functions, to the runtime. Thank you for all of your support, feedback, and patience as we got this done. What does it mean for you? Your apps will more reliably detect and report errors.You can write blank/null values to a database.You can detect and replace errors with the IsError, IsErrorOrBlank, and IfError functions.You can control error reporting and logging at a central location with App.OnError.You can create and throw your own custom errors with the Error function. Error handling is a big change in behavior. By entering preview, we are signaling that we believe we are done, that we anticipate no further significant changes from here. Many of you already use error handling in production and this move to preview should only embolden more of you to do so. If significant changes are needed from here, we will treat them as a separate feature. We are rolling this out slowly as it is such a big change. All of you will soon see that the Formula-level error handling switch has moved from experimental to preview in the settings (as of version 3.22082). It will still be default to off for most tenants. Over the coming weeks we will slowly change the default for new apps only to on across the tenants. Makers can still disable this feature and will be able to do so for a long time. I say again: we are changing the default for new apps only. Existing apps will continue running as they always have. We have no plans at this time to turn this on for existing apps, and as this is such a big change, we may never do this and make this a permanently available switch. Your feedback will guide us. The documentation for Error, IfError, IsError, IsErrorOrBlank functions and the App.OnError property covers these changes. IfError and IsError are very similar to their Excel counterparts. We are also working on overview docs that will be released shortly. But before that, let’s take a brief tour. Let’s start with what Excel does, the inspiration for Power Fx. For an error like division by zero, Excel is very clear that something has gone wrong with a # error message that shows right in the cell. This error will propagate to other cell formulas if A1 is used in a formula: Today, without error handling, Power Apps won’t report anything in this scenario, instead treating the division by zero error as a blank value. That’s not good, as the maker and the end user of the app have no idea something may have gone wrong: Errors happen. Unexpected data flows in, networks go down, storage fills up, to name just a few situations that an app may encounter in the real world. Makers don’t often think through all the ways that things can go sideways which makes default error handling even more important. Returning a blank for an error is also a problem because blank is a legitimate value in our type system and in many databases. Without error handling, Power Apps won’t allow you to write a blank to a database instead thinking it is an error. So, instead of returning an easy to ignore or misinterpret blank value, with error handling turned on we now report an error to the end user (the error banner) and show the formula as having an error to the maker (the red filled in circle on the control): Further, if you look at the value of the formula, it is not a blank but an error value. Just as any formula can result in a blank, now any formula can also result in an error: Now, we still aren’t showing an error in the label control itself as Excel does. We couldn’t do this generically because, unlike Excel, the error could be on a property of a control for which there is no way to display the error. For example, where should an error on a slider control? Where should an error be shown for an imperative operation in the middle of a button’s OnSelect formula? We settled on showing the end user banner and flagging the control in the design experience. That’s not to say you can’t detect and display an error in that label control. Error handling provides a wealth of mechanisms to control how errors are handled and reported. For example in this case, we can wrap the division by zero with an IfError function to return a custom message in the label: The Text function call is required for type compatibility. Or we can use IfError to throw a different, more specific error with the Error function: Or we can have a catchall for all errors in the app with App.OnError. For example, we can log the error and present a different message to the end user: If we look at the log, we see the details of the captured error from FirstError (and there is also an AllErrors), including where it happened and when it was detected: The possibilities are endless! You now have all the tools you need to detect, replace, report, and log errors, including a good default behavior if you never take advantage of these tools. And, bonus, you can also now write blank (or null) values to databases. Please let us know what you think in the Power Apps community forum. There is a dedicated and active space for error handling discussions at Error Handling – Power Platform Community (microsoft.com).

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