Tech in CRE

Microsoft just changed the grocery store game

March 6, 2019

If you thought the Amazon and Whole Foods partnership would be the most revolutionary retail news of our time, it may be time to think again.

As reported by VentureBeat, “Microsoft and Kroger are taking a leaf out of Amazon’s book by building futuristic ‘connected’ grocery stores.” It’s more than just grab-and-go technology, it’s a personalized, interactive, guided shopping experience.

What’s happening?

Tech giant Microsoft has partnered with grocery giant Kroger on a new pilot project in two retail stores in Ohio and Washington. In these stores, sensors and Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform power their digital shelving system called EDGE (Enhanced Display for Grocery Environment). EDGE has already been used to show customers promotions and dietary information in dozens of stores across the country, but this system is about to get even more personal.

Now, Microsoft and Kroger are testing features that connect to customers’ smartphones and help them shop more efficiently. A customer can create their shopping list in advance on the Kroger app, then at the store, the app guides them to exactly what they need, and the digital shelving displays light up to help them find what they’re looking for. The displays will also show personalized ads.

Why it’s important for retail CRE

This is a big step for retail, and it benefits both customers and stores.  We know customers seek the experiential factor in modern stores, and stores can now leverage a mass amount of data on their customer in their stores.

A Kroger press release notes, “the EDGE Shelf will enable Kroger to generate new revenue by selling digital advertising space to consumer packaged goods (CPGs) brands. Using video analytics, personalized offers and advertisements can be presented based on customer demographics.”

With these video analytics, coupled with artificial intelligence, retailers will have more accurate inventory information, maximizing the available space in a store and providing better service to customers. So, no matter how prominent e-commerce becomes, there will always be a place for brick-and-mortar stores, especially if they’re built around the customer experience.

Download our resource: “Technology’s impact on retail: what CRE can expect” to learn more about the evolving nature of retail and how technology is taking the stores we visit every day into the future.

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