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Kroger partners with Microsoft for connected stores

Grocery operator The Kroger Co. and Microsoft Corp. will pilot connected stores powered by the tech giant's Azure cloud platform.

Two pilot stores in Ohio and Washington will offer a new customer experience using what the company called Retail as a Service, or RaaS. Following the pilot, Kroger and Microsoft will sell their RaaS software bundle as an "enablement software built by a retailer for retailers."

Pilot stores feature a shelving system with digital displays that show prices, discounts and nutritional information. Kroger will also integrate its Scan, Bag, Go system with Microsoft's artificial intelligence to create a guided shopping experience.

In December 2018, Kroger and pharmacy chain Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. expanded their collaborative pilot, which allows users to pick up and buy Kroger orders and products at select Walgreens locations.