Supermarket chain Kroger and tech giant Microsoft announced a partnership - one that looks like a move towards grabbing space in next gen grocery.
Two Kroger pilot stores - in Monroe, Ohio and Redmond, Washington State - will feature digital shelving displays with product information and real-time price updates. They will also show digital advertisements personalized for each shopper. Location-specific data will be stored and processed on Microsoft's Azure cloud infrastructure.
The digital features are aimed to help shoppers find stuff more quickly and smoothly, and to aid workers at managing stores more efficiently. Customers will have access to an app that helps them locate items in the store, prepare a shopping list, and scan & check-out. Store associates will be guided on low inventories via an analytics systems.
The concept is apparently a way to entice more customers to Kroger’s brick-and-mortar stores, as people are increasingly spending time on online shopping relative to visiting physical stores. The Kroger-Microsoft alliance on futuristic grocery could also be seen a response to the seemingly heated competition in the grocery space. Amazon launched Go – its cashier-less grocery store – in 2016, and reportedly plans to have as many as 3,000 of those stores by 2021. In 2017, Amazon acquired grocery chain Whole Foods. On the other hand, Walmart has included detailed digital store maps in its mobile app to help shoppers navigate aisles and find products.