Kroger Co. is leveraging cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology to improve real-time associate performance.
America’s largest grocery retailer is deploying a variety of Google Cloud data analytics, AI, and ML tools under an application framework co-developed by Deloitte and Kroger. The retailer is utilizing these solutions across its nearly 2,800 stores nationwide to aid store managers and associates in making real-time operational decisions that will deliver a better shopping experience.
Kroger worked with Google Cloud and Deloitte to create two, purpose-built applications designed to enhance associate productivity. The first is a new task management application that provides Kroger's night crew managers with greater visibility into the volume and type of merchandise arriving on a given day, store staffing information, and stocking needs.
The system then prioritizes team activities in a few clicks on an Android device, with associates informed of inventory or delivery changes in real-time.
[Read more: Kroger launches ambitious AI transformation program]
The second solution is a new store management application, which provides a standardized audit checklist for store and department managers. It also offers a customizable walk path that guides store audits. Both the store management and task management applications are now automatically generating tasks and prioritizing work for Kroger associates nationally.
Deloitte utilized several Google Cloud technologies to build the Kroger’s new cloud-based AI architecture, including the Google Spanner SQL database management and storage service and the Google Cloud Dataflow serverless data processing service.
"Technology and digital tools are fundamental elements of how Kroger continues to improve the associate experience, which in turn, enhances the in-store experience for our customers. Innovation is a critical component, and execution is even more important," said Jim Clendenen, VP, enterprise retail systems, Kroger. "Google Cloud and Deloitte brought us a technology architecture and application framework that we could implement in record time. We're already seeing results across our stores, with associate tasks being optimized and overall productivity increasing."
"Retail is in the details. One of the most important ones many retailers struggle with is how to maximize the time and talents of their associates when every store and every day is different," said Jose Luis-Gomes, managing director, retail and consumer, Google Cloud. "Kroger doesn't just have the latest and greatest technologies — the grocer is literally putting them into the hands of their associates so their time can be used on what matters most for Kroger's customers."
"Today, retailers are prioritizing and investing in technology as a strategic differentiator, and customers are making share-of-wallet choices based on those investments," said Jon Yoo, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP. "With Kroger, Deloitte and Google Cloud used that investment to build a platform that considers the unique balance of people, processes, and technologies required to power revolutionary customer and associate experiences."
Based in Cincinnati, Kroger operates 2,800 stores, including more than 100 stores in Southeast Texas and Louisiana, under a variety of banners across the U.S., including Kroger, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Dillons, Smith's, King Soopers, Fry's, QFC, City Market, Owen's, Jay C, Pay Less, Baker's, Gerbes, Harris Teeter, Pick 'n Save, Metro Market, and Mariano's.