Kroger and Microsoft Pilot Digital Shelving Displays
Photo credits: Microsoft
- The US retailer Kroger opts for Microsoft’s Azure Cloud infrastructure to test smart shelving displays adjusting to their consumers’ profiles and reducing the amount of time required to choose articles.
- These new services will be tested in two pilot stores near the companies’ headquarters in Cincinnati (Ohio) and Redmond (Washington).
- Overall objective: Digitise Kroger’s sales spaces and organise their response to Amazon and Walmart.
- How it works?
- Through Kroger’s app the customer adds products to his list and an avatar to be paired with his profile
- When walking through the store and passing by one of his listed products, the digital tag below the considered article shows his avatar
- Kroger relies on image recognition technologies as well as on weight sensors to define when products are picked up from the shelves
- Products’ prices can be adjusted in real time based on customers’ profiles, consumption analytics and featured offers
- For employees: This new system is a means to monitor inventories and shelf stocking, improve ordering processes, while also save time on product picking.
- These smart shelves are connected to Microsoft’s Azure Cloud infrastructure. They can also display targeted ads when customers are relying on Kroger’s self-checkout app.
- Kroger does not yet explain how the checkout step unfolds but it could be carried out in-app.
- Part of the technologies designed by Microsoft have already been rolled out in 92 Kroger supermarkets. However, the point remains to craft a new system to be implemented throughout the retailer’s locations (roughly 2,780 points of sale).
- Meanwhile, the US retail group also announced they were planning to develop a Retail-as-a-Service business for the sake of meeting their growth objectives. They are hoping to achieve $400M in operating profit by 2020.
- In June 2018, Microsoft announced they were also working on a system reminiscent of Amazon Go, but based on less expensive technologies. This vendor already managed to attract several retailers such as Walmart, Macy’s and Ahold Delhaize.
- In Japan, Panasonic is currently working on a technology similar to the one considered by Kroger, involving real-time analyses and customer-based adjustments to products’ prices. This group is also testing smart shopping carts in one of Trial’s stores.