Sainsbury’s enters five-year AI partnership with Microsoft

May 17, 2024 | by magnews24.com

J Sainsbury announced a five-year partnership with Microsoft on Friday, aimed at enhancing customer and colleague experiences through artificial intelligence (AI).

The grocer said the deal would support its ‘Next Level’ strategy by leveraging Microsoft’s AI and machine learning capabilities along with its own extensive data resources.

It said that by integrating Microsoft’s AI technologies, it planned to improve customer service by creating a more interactive online shopping platform.

Enhanced search capabilities powered by generative AI would streamline the shopping process, the board said, making it more user-friendly and engaging.

For store colleagues, the partnership would bring real-time data and insights to optimise key processes such as shelf replenishment.

Using AI to analyse multiple data inputs, including shelf edge cameras, employees would be directed to shelves that need restocking, saving time and preventing missed sales opportunities.

That, the company said, would enable store staff to focus more on customer interaction and service.

Additionally, AI-guided support would help employees respond to customer and colleague queries more efficiently, further enhancing the overall shopping experience.

Sainsbury’s said it would also leverage Microsoft’s smart cloud technologies to power its data operations.

By combining its data assets with Microsoft 365 collaboration tools, generative AI, and machine learning, the retailer said it was aiming to improve decision-making and operational efficiency.

The transformation will be supported by the Microsoft Azure cloud service, which would accelerate the deployment of new services and innovations.

It would also include upskilling programs to help Sainsbury’s employees adapt to the new AI-driven environment, ensuring they can fully leverage the technology.

“Our collaboration with Microsoft will accelerate our ambition to become the UK’s leading AI-enabled grocer,” said Sainsbury’s chief retail and technology officer, Clodagh Moriarty.

“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.”

Reporting by Josh White for Sharecast.com.

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