Albertsons
TECHNOLOGY

Albertsons dissipates friction with cloud

BY Dan Berthiaume

Albertsons Companies is streamlining front- and back-end operations with the Microsoft Azure cloud platform and services.

Using Microsoft Azure, Azure artificial intelligence (AI) and Azure Cognitive Services, Albertsons is launching immediate and long-term initiatives to digitally transform the customer journey, optimize operations and deliver better products and services. The grocery conglomerate is also leveraging Microsoft 365 for corporate and store employees.

In the store, Albertsons intends to deploy cloud-based AI and cognitive technology to eliminate out-of-stocks, long waits at meat and deli counters, and long checkout queues. Store associates and managers will receive advance notification of out-of-stocks and alerts of items misplaced on shelves. Albertsons’ online Retail Portal provides store associates with access to real-time information about events such as specials, promotions and product recalls.

At the fuel pump, Albertsons is piloting its new One Touch Fuel app, which enables customers to pay for fuel, claim rewards, and activate the pump in one tap of the phone, at 25 stores across five divisions. The app saves an average of at least 90 seconds during a fuel-up. Albertsons plans to roll out One Touch Fuel, which uses Microsoft Azure and geofencing, to more of its fuel stations throughout 2019.

Albertsons has also moved its digital workloads – including its e-commerce sites, loyalty applications and more – to Azure. Albertsons plans to build its data science and analytics platform on Azure, with the goal of gaining additional insight into its data and allowing store managers to use predictive scenarios to anticipate and act on revenue-driving opportunities.

Microsoft Azure Active Directory and Microsoft Intune enable Albertsons to provide employee-facing solutions securely and across devices.

“We are reimagining the future to serve customers in a way they want to interact with us across all channels,” said Anuj Dhanda, Albertsons Cos. executive VP and CIO. “Our partnership has already produced an innovative way to save time at the gas pump. Microsoft’s strengths in cognitive technologies, artificial intelligence and data science applied at scale at Albertsons Companies will transform the customer experience in our stores and digitally.”

Albertsons Companies operates stores across 34 states and the District of Columbia under 20 banners including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs, as well as meal kit company Plated.

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