Kroger and Microsoft partner to pilot ‘connected’ grocery store technology

USA – The American grocery retailer, Kroger has partnered with the multinational technology company, Microsoft to introduce digital solutions and experience for the retail industry.

Through Kroger Technology products, powered by Microsoft Azure, the retailer’s preferred cloud platform for Retail as a Service (RaaS), the two will pilot two ‘connected’ stores in Ohio and Washington State to market Retail as a Service product for retailers.

The stores bring digital shelves, price tags, and advertisements, designed to make it easier for customers and workers to navigate through them while, saving time and money for Kroger.

According to the companies, the new technology enhance innovation in creating new customer experiences, enable higher levels of personalization and enhance store associate productivity.

Microsoft Azure will store and process data generated in stores that will be introduced to Enhanced Display for Grocery Environment (EDGE Shelf), a system that replaces the traditional paper tags.

EDGE Shelf will display prices, promotions, nutritional and dietary information connected with Kroger’s Scan, Bag, Go to create the desired customer convenience.

“Kroger is building a seamless ecosystem driven by data and technology to provide our customers with personalized food inspiration.

We are identifying partners through Restock Kroger who will help us reinvent the customer experience and create new profit streams that will also accelerate our core business growth.

We are excited to collaborate with Microsoft to redefine grocery retail,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO.

A cashless experience

With the new system, Kroger employees can quickly find items on order and video analytics will help store associates identify and address out-of-stocks to ensure customers can locate products on their shopping list.

Also, using video analytics, personalized offers and advertisements can be presented based on customer demographics.

Kroger has been partnering with companies such as Nuro, Ocado, and Walgreens as it aims to speed up grocery delivery and pickup, and experiment with digital tools to support its network of physical stores.

It is offering convenience to customers who are quickly embracing online grocery purchases.

“Our partnership brings together Kroger’s world-class expertise in the grocery industry with the power of Azure and Azure AI,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.

“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.”

Kroger is joining the race to use AI and cashier-less technology to reduce long lines at stores.

As Amazon plans to have 3,000 cashier-less Go stores by 2021, Walmart’s Sam’s Club allows shoppers to pay with their phones and use them to find products in the store.

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