As part of a digital transformation strategy intended to transform customer shopping experiences and boost productivity across the company, Australian supermarket giant Coles has partnered with Microsoft by making the Microsoft Azure cloud computing service the retailer’s cloud platform of choice. Coles will build an enterprise data platform in Azure that will power advanced analytics and allow the rapid deployment of AI technology, to maximize innovation in physical stores as well as throughout the supply chain.
The deal follows Coles’ announcement of its four-year “Smarter Selling” strategy, which aims to use technology, in conjunction with job cuts, to decrease costs by $1 billion.
Coles will use the Azure AI services to leverage customer insights, driving better decision making based on data analysis. This, in turn, will allow the grocery chain to better tailor its assortment to accommodate customers’ needs and how they like to shop.
In addition to more personalized customer benefits, a key part of Coles’ Smarter Selling strategy is in its stores, where team members will gain access to a range of new tools designed to transform how they work — including removing manual tasks for repetitive activities such as stock management and price markdowns.
The retailer also will use Microsoft’s Modern Workplace suite of technologies to “underpin agile ways of working,” and will implement the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP solution in the Coles Express and meat manufacturing businesses to help streamline operations.
Additionally, Microsoft will be investing in Coles’ innovation lab to create future advanced retail solutions in order to keep up with the constantly evolving retail industry.
Earlier this year, Microsoft signed deals with Kroger and Walgreens Boots to provide the retailers with cloud services and technology to help digitize their stores and reinvent the customer experience.