The Kroger Co. has teamed with Google Cloud and Deloitte on cloud technologies to increase associate productivity across the grocer’s nearly 2,800 stores nationwide. The food retailer recently implemented a range of Google Cloud data analytics, artificial-intelligence (AI) and machine-learning tools under an application framework co-developed by Deloitte and Kroger. The new tools are already enabling store leaders and associates to make real-time operational decisions to provide a better shopping experience.
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“Technology and digital tools are fundamental elements of how Kroger continues to improve the associate experience, which in turn, enhances the in-store experience for our customers,” noted Jim Clendenen, VP, enterprise retail systems at Kroger. “Innovation is a critical component, and execution is even more important. Google Cloud and Deloitte brought us a technology architecture and application framework that we could implement in record time. We’re already seeing results across our stores, with associate tasks being optimized and overall productivity increasing.”
Kroger, Google Cloud and Deloitte collaborated on two purpose-built applications to enhance associate productivity. The first is a task management application that gives Kroger’s night crew managers greater visibility into the volume and type of merchandise arriving on a given day, store staffing information and stocking needs. The solution then prioritizes team activities in just a few clicks on an Android device, with associates quickly told about inventory or delivery changes in real time.
The second is a store management application, which allows store leaders to be less dependent on paper tools. The app provides a standardized audit checklist for store managers and department leaders, helping ensure an elevated shopping experience. It also offers a customizable walk path that guides store audits while giving team members flexibility in how store conditions are periodically evaluated. Both apps are now automatically generating tasks and prioritizing meaningful work for Kroger associates chainwide.
Underpinning Kroger’s apps are various Google Cloud technologies that were used by Deloitte to create a modern, event-driven architecture for the retailer, among them:
- AI and Machine Learning: Google Cloud’s AI and machine learning dynamically optimize Kroger associate task lists based on inbound signals such as goods delivery data and staff availability.
- Spanner: With Google Cloud Spanner’s fully managed relational database, Kroger has built a true event-driven ledger, which allows the company to capture unique events — at different times throughout the day and from different stores — to make better-informed decisions on associate productivity.
- Dataflow: Kroger is employing Google Cloud’s Dataflow, a serverless, fast and cost-effective data-processing service for capturing and analyzing data from different sources, including labor rates, transportation logistics, sales forecasting and out-of-stock information.
“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,” said Jose Luis Gomes, managing director, retail and consumer at Mountain View, Calif.-based Google Cloud. “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.”
“Today, retailers are prioritizing and investing in technology as a strategic differentiator, and customers are making share-of-wallet choices based on those investments,” said Jon Yoo, principal at New York-based Deloitte Consulting LLP. “With Kroger, Deloitte and Google Cloud used that investment to build a platform that considers the unique balance of people, processes and technologies required to power revolutionary customer and associate experiences.”
Serving 60 million households annually nationwide through a digital shopping experience, and almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.