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GameStop Taps Microsoft Azure to Bolster Consumer Experience, Marketing Strategy

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Microsoft's presence in GameStop stores is moving beyond Xbox consoles. The company will prop up in-store beacons pushing video and promotions via the Azure cloud to customers' mobile devices as they shop in the retailer's brick-and-mortar stores.

Microsoft is the latest company to sign on as a partner in the GameStop Technology Institute (GTI). Microsoft's Azure cloud will also fuel employee tablets with customer data.

The "magic" begins as soon as a customer enters a GameStop location and an Azure-connected beacon pushes a "digital welcome message" to a shopper's device. The welcome message will detail in-store promotions and deliver a map of the store's other beacons, which will serve up game trailers and other product data.

As some customers may not be comfortable with mobile video trailer content as yet, enough to make a decision on a game, GameStop lets customers "flick" the trailers from devices up to the nearest TV in the store.

If that isn't enough to help a customer decide on a game, employees equipped with tablets can then offer the consumer an augmented view of products available.

Leveraging the mobile camera and Microsoft's Azure cloud, the tablet will offer digital windows that brings inanimate products to life. In a promotional video shared with Tech Times, GameStop illustrated how a tablet pointed at a copy of Watch Dogs used the game's signature user interface to show gameplay and social media links overlay over the physical title -- in essence, the box art comes to life.

But GameStop and Microsoft's latest partnership isn't just about putting more content before the eyeballs of consumers and more consumer data in the hands of retailers. The initiative aims to strengthen the relationship between employees and customers as well, according to Tracy Issel, general manager of Worldwide Retail, Consumer Goods, Hospitality and Travel at Microsoft.

Employees can ask customers to follow them by sending shoppers a "follow me" request via the store's tablets. Those who choose to follow employees can sling questions at the sales representative, receive recommendations and get video game news all through the GameStop app.

"Our collaboration with GameStop shows the types of things that are possible when Azure is used to enhance consumer engagement," Issel said in a statement. "GameStop is utilizing our cloud computing technology in their brick-and-mortar stores in new, exciting ways, and demonstrating the type of retail technology applications we can build on Azure moving forward."

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