Microsoft and Kroger are going to give battle to Amazon in the field of ... food trade
On Habré, news and articles about fully automated supermarkets were published several times. In such a store, the buyer does not need a cash desk, you just need to download a mobile application, go to the shop, select the goods you need and leave. The system will register the purchase and withdraw money from the card automatically. No handheld barcode scanners, ATMs and cashiers.
One of the first such store was developed by Amazon, which, by the way, is now number one on the list of the most expensive companies in the world. Recently it became known that Microsoft and Kroger (one of the largest retailers in the world) have developed their own concept of automated stores.
The system operates on the basis of cloud services, displays, customer and product monitoring, and other technological advances are widely used. Two stores are now open. One is in Monroe, Ohio, USA, near Kroger headquarters, the second is in Redmond, Washington, not far from the main Microsoft office.
Special technologies will help buyers quickly find everything on the shopping list, and store technicians can quickly replenish stocks of goods, both in stock and on counters. This will help specialized displays that display the necessary information. They will soon begin to show personalized ads.
In the Kroger-Microsoft stores there are many cameras that track the movement of customers, the popularity of products, the popularity of individual zones. All data collected by IoT sensors and cameras is collected and processed by Microsoft cloud services. In particular, Microsoft Azure is used.
Microsoft, therefore, competes with Amazon, more precisely, with AWS cloud services, which are becoming more and more popular. In addition to Kroger, the Redmond giant cooperates with Walmart, this company is also gradually mastering the automation of its outlets.
It is clear that Amazon is also not standing still. This company has opened several Amazon Go automated outlets (seven are already up and two are about to open soon). All this is relatively large supermarkets. In December 2018, the company decided to test the concept of mini-stores. We are talking about premises of several tens of meters, where there are only a few racks with the most popular products.
One such is open right in the Australian headquarters, so that employees can buy goods, almost without interrupting work. The company plans to launch such mini-stores in office buildings, hospitals and educational institutions. However, only if the first point will show itself well.
Thus, Amazon is trying to seize the initiative from startups that are developing their own formats of automatic stores. Unfortunately, mini-shops from Amazon are available so far only to employees of the company and its guests. Journalists and ordinary buyers can not test the new product yet. According to the company, the point was opened at headquarters for the convenience of monitoring the processes occurring inside. All this is still an experience, albeit a large-scale one, so proximity to the “laboratory” will not hurt.
The technology that is used in the mini-market is similar to the one that works in “adult” stores from Amazon. In order to get inside, you need to download the application, register and use the barcode to open the door. Further cameras and sensors will track the movement of the buyer and his actions. After the purchases are made and the money is debited from the card, the client receives detailed information about the purchases by e-mail.
Amazon representatives believe that small outlets will allow the company to promote its idea of automatic purchases much faster than if Amazon worked only with supermarkets. Small shops are modular, so assembling them is quite simple, unlike creating a full-scale supermarket. If everything works out, soon the world will see the expansion of the robot stores.