Supermarket chain Kroger has partnered with Microsoft to enhance the customer experience through a new connected store concept.

Under the agreement, the retailer will use Kroger Technology products powered by Microsoft Azure to deliver retail as a service (RaaS) solutions to the industry.

Kroger chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said: “Kroger is building a seamless ecosystem driven by data and technology to provide our customers with personalised food inspiration.

“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.”

The Kroger Technology team has used Microsoft Azure and connected by IoT sensors to develop a smart technology system to transform two pilot stores in Monroe, Ohio, and Redmond in Washington.

Leveraging RaaS, the two US stores will offer personalised services through insights and enhance store associate productivity.

“Kroger is building a seamless ecosystem driven by data and technology to provide our customers with personalised food inspiration.”

The retailers will use Microsoft Azure to store and process data generated in shops, smart shelves and on Kroger’s app to offer new shopping experiences such as the generation of ‘Enhanced Display for Grocery Environment’ (EDGE) Shelf concept.

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EDGE Shelf system uses digital displays to assist customers by offering information on prices, promotions, nutritional and dietary information.

The system will use Microsoft Azure AI to connect with Kroger’s Scan, Bag, Go and offer guided shopping experiences for customers.

EDGE Shelf will also allow the retailer to sell its digital advertising space to consumer packaged goods (CPGs) brands and generate new revenue.

In addition, the partnership will offer a pick-to-light productivity solution for store associates to reduce the time taken to meet curbside pickup orders through visual cues.

Solutions such as Microsoft Azure-powered video analytics will assist store associates to identify and address out-of-stocks issues.