Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has entered into a five-year strategic partnership with Microsoft to use AI in enhancing both customer and colleague experiences.  

This collaboration will support and expedite Sainsbury’s Next Level strategy, which aims to deliver stronger shareholder returns.

The integration of the retailer’s datasets with Microsoft’s AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities is expected to optimise store operations, increase efficiency for colleagues, and offer customers a more effective service.

With Microsoft’s generative AI, Sainsbury’s expects online shopping to be interactive, while also streamlining the search process.

Store colleagues will also benefit from real-time data and insights, which will facilitate smarter shelf replenishment processes.

By harnessing AI to amalgamate various data inputs such as shelf edge cameras, store colleagues will be directed to the areas that require restocking.

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This not only saves time but enables colleagues can dedicate more time to customer service.

All these advancements will be supported by Microsoft Azure under Sainsbury’s cloud ecosystem.

Sainsbury’s chief retail and technology officer Clodagh Moriarty said: “Our collaboration with Microsoft will accelerate our ambition to become the UK’s leading AI-enabled grocer.

“It’s one of the key ways we’re investing in transforming our capabilities over the next three years, enabling us to take another big leap forward in efficiency and productivity, continue to provide leading customer service and deliver returns for our shareholders.”

In March, Sainsbury’s announced proposals to streamline its operations, resulting in the loss of approximately 1,500 jobs.