Kroger is elevating its store leadership and associate experience by tapping advanced tech like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data analytics to improve real-time operational decisions.
The company is working with Google Cloud and Deloitte, leveraging cloud tech across its 2,800 stores across the U.S. such as a new task management solution for night crew that improves merchandise visibility, provides store staffing information, and communicates stocking needs. Additionally, through a new store management application, store leaders can utilize a standardized audit checklist with a customizable walk path for audits.
Managed via an Android device, these capabilities use AI and ML to build tasks lists based on inbound signals like delivery data and staff availability. Additionally, through an event-driven ledger, the company can determine how associates will be most productive across stores, days, and times. Lately, using a Dataflow tool, Kroger can capture and analyze data from different sources like labor rates, transportation logistics, sales forecasting, and out-of-stock information.
Jim Clendenen, vice president of enterprise retail systems at Kroger said that tech and digital tools are fundamental elements of how the company continues to improve its associate experience, which then trickles down to an enhanced customer experience in stores.
"Google Cloud and Deloitte brought us a technology architecture and application framework that we could implement in record time,” Clendenen added. “We're already seeing results across our stores, with associate tasks being optimized and overall productivity increasing."
Jon Yoo, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, added that today’s retailers are prioritizing and investing in tech as a strategic differentiator, “making share-of-wallet choices based on those investments.”
Jose Luis-Gomes, managing director, retail and consumer, at Google Cloud said 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," Luis-Gomes added. "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."