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Piggly Wiggly Midwest to pilot digital store platform

Piggly Wiggly Midwest is automating and optimizing enterprise store functions.

Piggly Wiggly Midwest will test the viability of a completely digitalized store.

The company, which operates corporate stores and services independent franchisees under a chain-style program and is a subsidiary of C&S Wholesale Grocers, will be piloting the Focal Operating System (FocalOS) in its Wisconsin and Illinois stores.

[More consolidation: C&S Wholesale Grocers to acquire Piggly Wiggly Midwest]

The FocalOS platform digitalizes operations across the entire store in order to automate and optimize ordering, inventory management, merchandising and in-store labor, with the objective to deliver a better experience to customers.

Piggly Wiggly Midwest is preparing to run this pilot as its parent company is making NielsenIQ Brandbank digital content available to support C&S efforts to provide product imagery and verified product attribution. C&S Wholesale intends the new digital product content to aid its retailer partners with a wide variety of use cases, including planogram solutions, mid-aisle product ordering, and digital/print production.

This implementation also enables contracted NielsenIQ Brandbank suppliers to have their approved digital product content syndicated to C&S Wholesale and its retail partners at no additional cost.

In another example of a retailer streamlining store operations with Focal technology, Walmart Canada is rolling out a computer vision artificial intelligence (AI) solution from Focal Systems that uses cameras to automate out-of-stock detection to all stores. The solution, which is integrated with the retailer’s existing inventory systems, automatically detects real-time availability concerns, such as out-of-stock or low-stock products on shelves, and directs store associates to replenish them. Walmart Canada is going into full deployment following a 70-store pilot

“Piggly Wiggly has been changing the industry since it launched its first store. Our partnership with Focal Systems will enable us to provide an even better shopper experience by leveraging the most innovative retail automation technology available,” said Mark McGowan, senior VP, retail, C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc.

“We’re thrilled to work with such a beloved and historic grocer that has been a staple in American lives for more than a century,” said Francois Chaubard, CEO and founder of Focal Systems. “I’m seeing the first signs of massive adoption of AI and computer vision in the grocery and retail industry and it’s exciting to see one of the best grocery chains helping to lead the charge. In partnering with Focal Systems, Piggly Wiggly Midwest is demonstrating how it continues to be a pioneer in the industry. We look forward to expanding our partnership in years to come.”

Piggly Wiggly operates stores throughout the Midwest, South and Northeast. Its stores offer the selection and assortment of a national chain, with specialized local assortments designed to meet local shoppers’ needs.

Founded in 1918 as a supplier to independent grocery stores, Piggly Wiggly Midwest parent company C&S Wholesale Grocers now services customers of all sizes, supplying more than 7,500 independent supermarkets, chain stores, military bases and institutions with over 100,000 different products.

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