Kroger, Microsoft Partner On ‘Smart’ Shopping Technology

Kroger and Microsoft are partnering on the development of a new pilot program that is being touted by both companies as a connected store experience.

To officially debut at the upcoming NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show in New York, the new digital solution utilizes Kroger technology products powered by Microsoft Azure, the retailer’s preferred cloud platform for Retail as a Service (RaaS).

According to Kroger, using Microsoft Azure to store and process the data generated in stores, near the smart shelves and on Kroger’s app will introduce a never-before-seen shopping experience. These include the latest generation of EDGE Shelf (Enhanced Display for Grocery Environment), a shelving system that uses digital displays instead of traditional paper tags.

The digital displays indicate a host of information from prices and promotion to nutritional and dietary information. The EDGE Shelf will also connect with Kroger’s Scan, Bag, Go to create a guided shopping experience for customers.

“Kroger is building a seamless ecosystem driven by data and technology to provide our customers with personalized food inspiration,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “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.”

Kroger is testing the technology in two pilot stores in Monroe, OH, and Redmond, WA. The stores are in close proximity to the headquarters of Kroger and Microsoft respectively.

Officials with both companies also said the new technology would have a positive impact on employee productivity. This includes fulfilling curbside pickup orders and helping store employees more easily identify and address out-of-stocks.

Kroger and Microsoft said they are working jointly to market a commercial RaaS product to the retail industry.