Grocery co-op identifies urgent store issues with AI

Associated Food Stores (AFS) is leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to determine what really needs fixing in the store.

Salt Lake City-based AFS, which consists of about 500 independent and corporately-owned stores in the western and southwestern U.S., found itself dealing with a growing number of SKUs. This resulted in more potential issues occurring at store level than a manager could effectively track or prioritize.

AFS is now utilizing an AI solution from CB4 which analyzes pre-existing POS data to identify when physical issues in a store are holding back sales and hurting the customer experience. These issues include products that aren't easily visible, ticketing problems, and out of stocks.

AFS store managers can now accurately project how much sales will increase after fixing an issue, meaning they can identify the exact SKUs in their stores that need the most attention. The CB4 solution guides them on how to fix potential issues. The software requires no in-store hardware or external data sources, meaning implementation and onboarding can be performed in a few days.

"What really caught my attention was the ease of implementation," said Wade Judd, CIO of AFS. "We were able to roll out some pretty sophisticated technology, train our store managers, and start reaping the benefits in weeks rather than months. It was one of the simplest implementations that our team has been involved with."

AFS may be ahead of the curve when it comes to applying AI to store-level SKU issues. According to the Boston Retail Partners (BRP) 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey, most retailers (67%) are not leveraging advanced analytics to improve their planning decisions and optimize inventory. In addition, only 39% of surveyed retailers identified improved analytics as a top priority.