Monday, July 1, 2019

Microsoft Global Grocery Technology Platform Elevates Competitiveness

Microsoft excels at developing software technology platforms for business and Loblaw knows a good thing when they see it according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  
Yes, Canada’s largest food and drug retailer is leveraging Microsoft’s cloud computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help power its digital transformation, with a focus on developing a more personalized experience for customers, while edifying its competitiveness according Johnson.
We must note that Loblaw joins the likes of the top five U.S. grocery retailers by sales — Walmart, The Kroger Co., Costco Wholesale Corp., Albertsons Cos. and Ahold Delhaize — as Microsoft cloud customers.
The Redmond, Wash.-based tech company unveiled sweeping partnerships with Kroger and Albertsons in January and with Walmart last July to use its Azure cloud platform to help drive their digital initiatives. Costco adopted Azure as its hybrid cloud platform in 2017. Other food and drug retailers using Azure include Walgreens Boots Alliance, which announced a partnership with Microsoft in January, and Giant Eagle.
Loblaw worked with Microsoft to integrate its AI technology into the retailer’s PC Optimum loyalty program to tailor deals and offers to members based on their online preferences.  David Markwell, senior vice president of information technology at Loblaw “We’ve partnered with Microsoft to create digital experiences that not only meet our customers’ expectations, but exceed them,”
Markwell continued “A key objective was to “democratize” customer data stored in siloes, a project that Loblaw and Microsoft were able to accomplish in 90 days.” “With the data already collected but separated into different customer experiences, it made sense to move it all to the cloud and to leverage AI tools to drive results,” Markwell (left) explained. “With AI, I see this democratization of knowledge and ability to make decisions being moved out into the business units.”
Using Azure to securely store and process data, Loblaw redesigned its customer data by disassembling the siloed information and then anonymizing and aggregating it to build a feature to customize offers to PC Optimum members at scale.
“It allowed us to cross-pollinate user experiences and deliver it to millions of people at once,” said Peter Danforth, vice president of loyalty program strategy and management for Loblaw. “What AI enables us to do is make a decision at a scale that was just impossible before.”
By using Microsoft’s cloud and AI solutions to redefine the customer experience, Loblaw was able to develop more personalized deals, making a stronger connection with its shoppers. According to Johnson Loblaw is looking a customer ahead.
“Predictive AI can help us to communicate on a one-to-one basis with each customer or provide relevant offerings to each customer,” said Jenny McConvey, director of targeting support and systems at Loblaw. Are you elevating you brands competitive footprint?
Are you looking for a new partnership to drive sales? Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may have the clue you need to propel your continued success.

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