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Sainsbury’s teams up with Microsoft to enhance customer experience using AI
FoodBev Media

FoodBev Media

21 May 2024

Sainsbury’s teams up with Microsoft to enhance customer experience using AI

Sainsbury's and Microsoft have announced a five-year strategic partnership to accelerate the retailer's 'Next Level' strategy combining Microsoft's AI and machine learning with Sainsbury's data. The partnership aims to enhance store operations, increase employee efficiency and improve customer service, delivering better returns for shareholders under Sainsbury's 'Save and invest to win' programme. The British supermarket giant will use Microsoft’s products and expertise to introduce AI to its store colleagues, enhancing the shopping experience of UK customers, both online and in-store. This initiative will be supported by programmes aimed at upskilling Sainsbury’s colleagues, preparing them for the AI-driven economy. Sainsbury’s will utilise Microsoft’s services across three core areas. Firstly, in enhancing customer experiences, the supermarket will employ generative AI to create a more interactive online shopping experience and to improve customers’ search experience, thereby making shopping more efficient and engaging. Secondly, in empowering store colleagues, they will have access to real-time data and insights for key processes, such as smarter shelf replenishment processes. Using AI to integrate multiple data inputs, like shelf edge cameras, colleagues will be guided to the shelves that need replenishing, saving time and ensuring sales opportunities are not missed. This will allow Sainsbury’s employees to focus on customer needs, with access to AI-guided support to address customer and colleague queries in realtime. Lastly, data will power Sainsbury’s business, built on smart cloud foundations. Sainsbury’s data assets, combined with Microsoft 365 collaboration tools, generative AI and machine learning capabilities, will enable the continuation of driving returns through its 'Save and invest to win' programme. This will involve improving operations, enhancing decision-making processes and running a more efficient business. Microsoft Azure will play a crucial role in this endeavour as part of Sainsbury’s cloud ecosystem, reducing time to market for new services and innovations. Clodagh Moriarty, Sainsbury’s chief retail and technology officer, said: “Our collaboration with Microsoft will accelerate our ambition to become the UK’s leading AI-enabled grocer. It’s one of the key ways we’re investing in transforming our capabilities over the next three years, enabling us to take another big leap forward in efficiency and productivity, continue to provide leading customer service and deliver returns for our shareholders.” Clare Barclay, CEO of Microsoft UK, added: “Today, Sainsbury’s has laid out a bold vision that puts AI at the heart of its business, accelerating the development of new services, which will enhance and transform the customer and colleague experience. We are delighted to be working with Sainsbury’s to power the next generation of retail.” Last month, Microsoft and The Coca-Cola Company also entered into a five-year strategic partnership to align Coca-Cola’s core technology strategy systemwide.

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