Microsoft and Kroger are taking a leaf out of Amazon’s book by building futuristic “connected” grocery stores.
As part of a pilot project, Kroger, the largest supermarket in the U.S. by revenue, and Microsoft have transformed two retail stores, one near each of their respective headquarters — in Monroe, Ohio and Redmond, Washington — using technology powered by connected sensors and Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.
The first fruit of the partnership is a digital shelving system, which was actually announced last year and is in the process of rolling out to dozens of Kroger stores across the U.S. Called EDGE (Enhanced Display for Grocery Environment), it bypasses paper price tags for digital shelf displays that can be changed in real time from anywhere, and it also can display promotions, dietary information, and more.
But the test stores are where Kroger and Microsoft are taking things to the next level. In addition to EDGE shelving, the system will include a new guided shopping experience, personalized ads, and something the partners are calling “pick-to-light.”