Kroger and Microsoft are looking to change the grocery landscape themselves, announcing a collaboration on a new connected store experience pilot. The pilot will guide Kroger's 2019 expansion plans and introduce never-before-seen technology that the two believe will redefine customer's brick-and-mortar experience.
"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 Kroger’s CEO and Chairman Rodney McMullen.
Kroger and Microsoft will transform two pilot stores in Monroe, Ohio, and Redmond, Washington, and use Kroger Technology products powered by Microsoft Azure—the retailer’s preferred cloud platform for Retail as a Service (RaaS)—to quickly implement innovations that will create new customer experiences, enable higher levels of personalization, and increase store associate productivity.
"Our partnership brings together Kroger's world-class expertise in the grocery industry with the power of Azure and Azure AI," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella added. "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."
Specifically, the new format will generate and process data in store using Microsoft Azure. According to a press release, this technology includes the latest generation of EDGE™ Shelf (Enhanced Display for Grocery Environment)—a shelving system that uses digital displays to indicate everything from prices and promotions to nutritional and dietary information. The new EDGE Shelf will work in tandem with Kroger's Scan, Bag, Go®, alerting store associates of out-of-stock items and helping them fulfill curbside pickup orders. EDGE Shelf will also enable the retailer to generate new revenue by selling digital advertising space to consumer packaged goods (CPGs) brands.
To learn more about the new pilot, read Kroger’s press release in its entirety here.
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