Kroger to pilot ‘connected stores,’ sell technology solution
Kroger has joined forces with Microsoft to offer a retail technology product to the industry, and two Kroger stores are going to be piloting the system.
“Kroger is building a seamless ecosystem driven by data and technology to provide our customers with personalized food inspiration,” Kroger chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said in a news release. “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. We are excited to collaborate with Microsoft to redefine grocery retail.”
The newest EDGE Shelf system allows retailers to offer promotions and nutrition information at the point of sale along with prices.
The technology can also facilitate a “guided shopping” experience. Shoppers who use the Scan, Bag, Go app to create a grocery list will be alerted via an icon on the shelf when they are near an item on their list.
Similarly, pick-to-light technology allows employees fulfilling online orders to find items more quickly, with a blinking light around the “tag” of a desired item as they approach.
Video analytics, another element of the system, can help employees quickly remedy out-of-stocks. It can also allow for the display of personalized offers and advertisements on the digital shelf based on customer demographics, according to the release.
Selling space on the shelf for advertisements by consumer packaged goods companies will be an additional revenue stream for Kroger.
These technologies will be piloted in two stores in Monroe, Ohio, and Redmond, Wash. Expansion plans will be based on the experience of those stores.
System for sale
While Kroger is experimenting with these technologies for its own use, it is also selling them in partnership with Microsoft.
Options in the commercial Retail as a Service product (RaaS) currently include EDGE Shelf, guided shopping, personalized ads and pick-to-light. More services are on the way.
“The RaaS product is enablement software built by a retailer for retailers, supporting modern retail experiences and harmonizing customers’ digital and physical shopping experiences,” Kroger said in the release. “The rapid transformation platform enables a retailer to prioritize its most desired initiatives. Future commercial products include Scan, Bag, Go; Virtual Store Manager; sensor network; and connectors to corporate systems like point-of-sale and inventory management, tag and merchandising systems.”
It is not yet known whether these technologies will be used in the perimeter departments like produce; the video promoting the new partnership only showed center-store aisles. Produce Retailer has reached out to Kroger for more information.