Lets face it. It’s easier to talk about innovation when you have 200 employee company or are already in tech. When you’ve a cumbersome century old business in a very traditional industry, innovation is no minor feat.

For Macalline, a furniture and home design retailer has a very lengthy chain as a traditional business. With a history of over three decades, 190 brick-and-mortar shops and 60 thousand suppliers, innovation is complicated business. “For a home furnishings vertical, there may be flexibility to allow for partial innovation, but overall amelioration is very difficult,” said Macalline’s vice president Zhan Huichuan.

She says that there more to innovation than putting their merchandise online commerce. “we couldn’t just take part in consumers’ decisions at the point of sales. “ With a platform, we want to be there at an earlier stage, and predict their needs. We are going to implement AR and VR technology, and use data to help increase the efficacy of the sales,” she said.

But these are foreign territories for  furnishing retailers like Macalline. Microsoft Accelerator is there to help, says CEO Lou Bin. “There is a major disparity between brick and mortar shops and online shops, and with our cloud computing and big data we aim to keep the information asymmetry as low as possible, and make the transaction fair and smooth for both parties. ”

“We are like the utilities company, because indeed, cloud computing and big data is like a necessity of life for these companies seeking innovation, big data algorithms will help you better find and target customers, that’s the strongest limb of companies in our accelerator.”

Based in Beijing, April Ma writes on tech trends and covers startups that may (or may not) be the next BATs. Reach her at April.ma@technode.com or Mafangjing (Wechat).