Jan. 7 (UPI) — Grocer Kroger and Microsoft announced a pilot project on Monday aimed at competing with retailer Amazon.
Two Kroger stores, in Ohio and Washington, will be outfitted with digital shelving displays, real-time price updates and product information using Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. Video analytics will note low inventories and digital advertisements within the store can be tailored to individual shoppers.
The collaboration is a response to Amazon’s 2017 acquisition of Kroger rival Whole Foods and the use of Amazon Web Services in the stores. Kroger and Microsoft said they will jointly market its technology to other retailers.
Target and Walmart are among retailers who have joined Microsoft’s Retail as a Service platform, instead of that of Amazon.
“Our partnership brings together Kroger’s world-class expertise in the grocery industry with the power of Azure and Azure AI,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement Monday. “Together, we will redefine the shopping experience for millions of customers at both Kroger and other retailers around the world, setting a new standard for innovation in the industry.”
The pilot project has similarities to Amazon’s system, Amazon Go, in which items chosen by a shopper are digitally scanned as the shopper leaves the store. The system eliminates the need for traditional checkout cashiers.