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Kroger invests in digital enterprise transformation

Kroger is pursuing digital transformation.

The Kroger Co. is revealing efforts to implement innovative digital solutions to assist customers, employees and management.

At the recent National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show conference in New York City, Kroger CIO and senior VP Yael Cosset discussed several elements of the grocery giant’s companywide digital transformation program.

"We continue to invest in our digital transformation journey by enhancing our customer and associate experiences, recognizing that both are equally impactful to gaining loyalty and earning our customer's next trip," said Cosset. "Our aim is to be the fresh food destination by providing customers with an experience that gives them exactly what they want no matter how they shop and use our digital capabilities to support associates, making their jobs easier and enabling them to spend more time doing what they are best at—interacting with customers."

Here are highlights of Kroger’s innovation initiative in several key areas:

Generative AI

Cosset said Kroger is committed to the “responsible” development of artificial intelligence (AI), including generative AI, which is based on machine learning (ML), can create new content and ideas, including conversations, stories, images, videos, and music.

"I believe generative AI is already impacting and will continue to impact the grocery industry broadly and in a transformational way,” said Cosset. “We continue to use AI and generative AI across the business for improvements such as more relevant creative marketing content, better search outcomes on digital platforms, greater personalization for customers, easier solutions for our associates, and many more areas. Like all technology, we view AI as a resource for our customers and associates to improve our human connections, not replace them.”

[Read more: Kroger increases associate productivity with cloud analytics]

Digital circulars

Cosset explained Kroger is making weekly circulars digital so that customers can shop ads directly receive electronic notifications of available savings they have not engaged with on products they most frequently shop. 

Associate solutions

On the associate side, Cosset said Kroger is providing in-store mobile tools for customized learning and training experiences, task management, and providing the ability to better assess product availability to support stock levels and fulfillment.

Kroger also utilizes digital-first HR solutions and training applications, such as its “Fresh Start” employee app, to reduced time-to-hire and increase the speed by which employees learn and master job responsbilities. 

“Lastly, as we do for our customer experience, we are measuring if the technology we are deploying improves the associate experience by monitoring Net Promoter Score for our associates' solutions so that we can constantly improve the impact digital transformation has on associates,” said Cosset.

Based in Cincinnati, Kroger operates 2,800 stores 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.

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