Microsoft is teaming up with America’s largest grocery store to create a smarter shopping experience.
It was announced on Monday January 7 that the global technology company has partnered with Kroger. Together the brands hope to introduce digital solutions to the retail industry, piloting two ‘connected experience stores’ using cloud technology.
This ‘Kroger solution powered by Microsoft Azure’ is set to provide an array of positives. It promises to offer “a suite of capabilities” to support KPIs and merchandising plans.
Customer insights will be collected, employee productivity will be enhanced, and stock control is set to be improved – say the giant brands. Customer experience should be bettered too, thanks to hyper personalisation by using proprietary tech.
What will this actually involve?
New features, being introduced initially at two stores in Ohio and Washington, will bring supermarket shopping into the 21st century.
By using Microsoft Azure to curate and process store specific data the two brands hope to create “transformative customer experiences”. This will include Enhanced Display for Grocery Environment (EDGE) Shelf facilities.
— Microsoft Stories and News (@MSFTnews) January 7, 2019
This type of shelving uses digital displays rather than traditional paper tags. This means prices and product information can be updated effortlessly, and adverts can also be shown . EDGE Shelf will also let Kroger enjoy new revenue, by selling advertising space.
“Greater employee insight and productivity” will also be achieved by the new service, say Microsoft and Kroger. Video analytics will help store associates identify and address stock levels. Visual cues will also help them find products faster.
What have Kroger and Microsoft said?
“Our partnership brings together Kroger’s world-class expertise in the grocery industry with the power of Azure and Azure AI,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO.
“Together we will redefine the shopping experience for millions of customers at both Kroger and other retailers around the world, setting a new standard for innovation in the industry.”
Meanwhile Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO, has also spoken positively about the partnership.
He added: “We are excited to collaborate with Microsoft to redefine grocery retail.”
So, when can we see this in action?
EDGE Shelf, the first RaaS product offered, will first be unveiled at the National Retail Federation 2019: Retail’s Big Show, in New York.
At the show, McMullen will share further details about the partnership and give his view of the grocery retail industry (from 9.45am on Sunday January 13).
Early news about this fresh development has been met with excitement and intrigue. As Bloomberg report, competitors – like Amazon – are bound to take note.