- After signing a three-year cloud contract with Microsoft, Albertsons is using Azure, Azure AI and Azure Cognitive Services to "reduce friction in the shopping experience," according to a company announcement.
- A frictionless shopping experience would ideally cut down on the occasions shoppers can't find what they want and the waiting lines for the deli counter and checkouts, according to the announcement. Employees can leverage the technologies help anticipate out-of-stock and misplaced items.
- Albertsons is also in the transition of moving digital workloads to Azure with plans of building a data science and analytics platform on Microsoft's cloud.
Ever since Amazon's 2017 Whole Foods acquisitions, grocers have been wary of adopting the AWS cloud. Microsoft, on the other hand, has a growing list of grocers on its cloud.
In January, Albertsons and Microsoft announced its cloud partnership, which included signing the grocers' employees up with the Microsoft 365 bundle. At the time of the deal, Albertsons announced intentions of using Microsoft's AI capabilities to co-create cashierless systems.
Microsoft also has an ever-expanding partnership with the nation's largest grocery chain, Kroger. The Cincinnati-based grocer is collaborating with Microsoft on a commercialized retail as a service product once piloting is complete.
Though Albertsons' and Kroger's ambitions vary with Microsoft, the tech company is curating a specific suite of products for grocers across its cloud, including big data, modern workplace, internet of things, advanced analytics and AI.
Microsoft wants Azure to be viewed more than a commodity and rather a platform for innovation as grocers and retailers alike are working to combine their in-store and online customer experiences. However, grocers, compared to other kinds of retailers, have thousands of SKUs to manage, which makes big data capabilities all more important.