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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.