Albertsons has partnered with Microsoft to implement cloud and AI solutions that will reduce friction in across the shopping experience within its grocery stores. Albertsons will take advantage of Microsoft Azure, Azure AI and Azure Cognitive Services to help shoppers find items, reduce wait times and anticipate out-of-stocks, among other initiatives.
The tools are already being used at 25 Albertsons gas stations across five divisions, where the company is using geofencing to allow customers to pay for fuel, claim rewards and activate the pump with just one tap of their phone. The pilot program has resulted in an increase in app downloads, and Albertsons plans to roll out One Touch Fuel capabilities to additional locations in 2019.
This is Microsoft’s latest grocery partnership, with the company already partnering with Walmart in a similar agreement, as well as Kroger to pilot a connected store experience via the Azure technology.
Albertsons will build its data science and analytics platform on Azure to drive in-store efficiency. With additional insight into data, the retailer seeks to help store managers predict revenue-driving opportunities. Associates will benefit from the Albertsons Retail Portal, which will contain real-time updates regarding specials, promotions, product recalls and other relevant information.
The new framework may help Albertsons build on its recent online developments:
- O Organics Market, an created in partnership with Instacart that offers 3,800 organic and natural products;
- A marketplace for third-party sellers created in partnership with Mirakl that focuses on natural, organic, ethnic, and alternative products; and
- Plans for an automated fulfillment center that can handle local online grocery orders in partnership with Groceryshop.