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Microsoft reiterates commitment to SMB retail as Dynamics RMS VARs ponder industry future

by Valerie Miller
Contributing Writer, MSDW

The final day of the Retail Realm 2015 technology conference in Las Vegas saw a flurry of activity on Monday. Partners and vendors were eager to offer hope for brick-and-mortar retailers, while the smallest shops were also promised an alternative to Dynamics RMS that would fit their budgets.

Buzz about Retail Realm Essentials seemed to energize the three-day conference, which ran April 25-27 at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Monday's opening keynote session, looked at how brick-and-mortar stores and their online counterparts could complement each other.

Michael Montrose of UniteU, the vendor providing the eCommerce component of Retail Realm Essentials, pointed to some scary predictions for the future of retailing - that more retailers will disappear, that it is a bloodbath out there. And he raised a question - is retail past its shelf life?

"Don't bet on the death of brick-and-mortar stores. Bet on the transformation of it," Montrose said. He painted a picture of merging online with brick-and-mortar through a combination of eCommerce, in-store kiosks, and POS.

And Montrose promoted offering a better in-store experience - to match the online experience, and better in-store technology "as a prescription for what ails retailers."

Microsoft Dynamics is also betting in the future of retail. "We are committed to the retail space," said Microsoft Dynamics Senior Marketing Manager for Retail Esther Christoffersen. "That's an investment that is only growing."

Microsoft's Duncan Taylor said the Retail Realm Essentials' offering, which is based on the enterprise AX platform, is a plus for smaller companies.

"Those smaller retailers can take an advantage out of bigger retailers' (AX) capabilities," he said in a question-and-answer session on Monday.

"I get two to three emails a week that ‘RMS is ...

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About Valerie Miller

Valerie Miller is an award-winning Las Vegas-based journalist who can be reached at (702) 683-3986 or

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