Microsoft and Kroger Team up to Take on Amazon

Whether you like or dislike Amazon, there’s no doubt that they’ve disrupted how we approach shopping and it’s forcing other large companies to do the same.

Amazon is now expanding offline and rapidly changing the grocery shopping experience presenting new challenges and areas of opportunity for today’s grocers. In 2017 alone, Amazon sold $2 billion in groceries online, which is up 59% year-over-year. It’s estimated that Amazon has 18% of the U.S. online grocery market on lockdown, which is double that of Walmart, Amazon’s closest competitor.

For a while it seemed that the most likely candidate to compete with Amazon’s innovations was Walmart with their global brick-and-mortar presence and warehouse space. That is until recently, when Kroger and Microsoft teamed up to take on “Amazon’s cashierless stores with their own futuristic grocery store pilot.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated that the partnership promises to “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.”

Stores will leverage the power of Azure and Azure AI by providing video analytics systems that will alert store associates when inventory is low, while featuring digital shelving displays with personalized advertisements, updates on product descriptions, and real-time price changes.

With this partnership you can imagine a flash sale that only triggers between certain hours of the day while you have your Kroger app open on your smartphone. Or getting your grocery shopping done faster than ever and for less money, so you have more time to spend with your family.

Depending on the demographic, Kroger could very well be more approachable considering their turn-of-the-20th-century American roots. They already have a huge customer base and this move could prevent anyone from ever trying Amazon or Whole Foods.

With the grocery wars just starting to heat up, it will be exciting to see what happens next and how shoppers will react to ongoing innovations from trusted grocers and new ones alike.

Contributed By: Arash Ghaemi, Integer Denver

Image Source: Unsplash