Microsoft, Kroger partnership to rival Amazon, Walmart
On Jan. 7, 2019 The Kroger Co. and Microsoft Corp. announced that they will partner together to create grocery stores of the future. The move comes as Amazon announced plans to open 3,000 cashierless stores by 2021 and Walmart’s Sam’s Club now allows shoppers to use their phones to pay, find products and access digital store maps.
The collaboration will redefine customer experience using Kroger Technology products powered by Microsoft Azure. Kroger will pilot a connected store experience and market a commercial RaaS product to the industry with Microsoft.
The Kroger Technology team’s smart technology system powered by Microsoft Azure and connected by IoT sensors will to transform two pilot stores located in Monroe, Ohio and Redmond, Washington, near each company’s headquarters. The digital stores plan to introduce a new shelving system—EDGE Shelf—that uses digital displays to indicate prices, promotions, nutritional and dietary information and will allow Kroger to generate new revenue by selling digital advertising space to CPG brands. The technology will also reduce the time it takes for store associates to fulfill curbside pickup orders by using visual cues to help them find items. Microsoft Azure-powered video analytics will help them identify and address out-of-stocks to ensure customers can locate products on their shopping list.
“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.
“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,” Nadella said.