Tech giant Microsoft has tied up with grocery chain Kroger to provide competition to Amazon’s grocery store with their futuristic pilot project which will provide cashier-less store facility to customers. The partnership is something of a response to Amazon’s foray into grocery supplies business after it acquired Whole Foods in 2017. The retail business of Amazon which is pushing new frontiers has started to singe feathers of established players in these businesses and is likely to face a backlash soon. Retail chains like Wal-Mart, Target and Kroger are scouting around for vendors that can help manage their extensive workloads and manage their e-commerce offerings and digital marketing.
The partnership between Microsoft and Kroger has led to refurbishment of Kroger stores in Ohio, Monroe, Redmond and Washington which will feature digital shelf displays with regular price updates and product information along with digital advertisements catering to shoppers’ tastes and requirements. The video analytics systems within the stores will alert associates about essential details like diminishing inventories on shelves and all its location based data will be stored on cloud infrastructure of Azure which is owned by Microsoft.
Both partners will market this technology to other retailers in US and other countries. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated that the partnership will bring two powerful knowledge hubs together as Kroger is a leader in grocery industry and Azure is a powerhouse in Artificial Intelligence.Together they will redefine grocery shopping experience of customers at Kroger and other grocery retails across the world and will set a new innovation standard for the industry. This pilot is similar to the Amazon-Go pilot project which detects items picked up by shoppers in a store and scans them automatically so that traditional cahiers are not required in physical stores. Amazon is likely to expand Go project to Whole Foods stores too and is asking traditional grocers to adopt similar shopping experience to their customers.