Albertsons Companies, a US food and drug retailer, has integrated cloud solutions from Microsoft, including Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365, to provide new and transformative experiences to customers and employees. By leveraging Microsoft Azure as the its preferred cloud platform, Albertsons will be able to reduce friction in the shopping experience.
 
“We are reimagining the future to serve customers in a way they want to interact with us across all channels,” says Anuj Dhanda, Albertsons Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer. “Our partnership has already produced an innovative way to save time at the gas pump. Microsoft’s strengths in cognitive technologies, artificial intelligence, and data science applied at scale at Albertsons will transform the customer experience in our stores and digitally.”
 
The partnership between the two companies includes immediate and long-term initiatives to digitally transform the customer journey. Microsoft 365 is enabling both corporate and store employees to benefit from a modern and secure work environment.
 
Frictionless Grocery Shopping
 
The two companies plan to work together to leverage Azure, Azure AI, and other Microsoft Cognitive Services to transform the shopping experience by eliminating the friction customers experience. There is an apparent opportunity to improve key consumer engagement points such as   not finding the products they want, longer-than-usual waits at the deli or meat counters, and long checkout lines. For store managers and associates, these intelligent solutions can also help anticipate out-of-stocks and misplaced products.
 
“Customers today have endless choices when it comes to where they shop for groceries, gas, and everything in between,” says Shelley Bransten, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Retail and Consumer Goods at Microsoft. “We’re excited about the unique experiences that Azure and Azure AI are enabling for Albertsons that will allow it to build loyalty in this fiercely competitive market.”
 
Paying for Fuel Is Now One Touch Away
 
Fuel stops are a whole lot faster with Albertsons’ newly released One Touch Fuel application. The app eliminates the hassle of prompts at the pump and saves an average of at least 90 seconds during a fuel-up. It allows customers to pay for fuel, claim rewards, and activate the pump in just one tap of the phone.
 
This solution, which is being piloted in 25 stores across five divisions, uses Microsoft Azure and geo-fencing to enable customers to complete all gas payments within the comfort of their cars. The pilot results have exceeded expectations with app downloads continually increasing. Albertsons plans to introduce One Touch Fuel to more of its fuel stations throughout 2019.
 
Cloud Solutions Powering Digital Workloads and Employee Productivity
 
In addition to creating frictionless experiences for customers and employees, Albertsons has moved its digital workloads, including its e-commerce sites, loyalty applications and more, to Azure. Albertsons plans to build its data science and analytics platform on Azure, with a vision to gain additional insight into its data. This strategy will enable store managers to use predictive scenarios to anticipate and act on revenue-driving opportunities.
 
For employees, Microsoft 365 is enabling corporate workers to collaborate across the organization. Store associates are also empowered with the information they need to provide the best service to shoppers via Albertsons’ online Retail Portal. The Retail Portal ensures that store associates have access to real-time information about specials, promotions, and product recalls via multiple devices.
 

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