Sainsbury’s announces 5-year AI partnership with Microsoft

Sainsbury’s has partnered with Microsoft to roll out AI technology in a bid to boost customer and employee experience.

The supermarket said the five-year partnership will help to create stores that are more efficient and engaging, as well as improve online shopping experiences and customer satisfaction.

The technology will focus on three core areas: enhancing customer experiences, empowering employees, and data.

The retailer said it will use generative AI (GenAI) to make the online shopping process more interactive and improve the search experience for customers.

The AI rollout is also designed to give its store employees access to real-time data and insights, including shelf edge cameras which will let employees know which shelves need replenishing.

Employees at Sainsbury’s will be supported by upskilling programmes which the retailer said will help them learn and grow in the new AI-driven economy.

Additionally, the organisation will combine its data with Microsoft’s GenAI and machine learning tools to improve its ‘save and invest to win’ programme to enhance returns and make the business more efficient. This will be delivered through Microsoft Azure as part of Sainsbury’s cloud ecosystem.

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

The move comes a week after Currys announced it wad partnered with Microsoft and Accenture to build its cloud technology infrastructure to enable the electronics retailer to speed up the adoption of generative AI (genAI).

Accenture, Microsoft and their joint venture Avanade will work with Currys to modernise its technology and allow it to roll out Microsoft AI technologies such as Azure OpenAI Service. The partnership is expected to provide personalised product information for customers, while employees are set to have easier access to info about everything from delivery costs to product availability.

Supermarket rival Tesco also recently announced it was using AI to offer customers personalised challenges that can win them extra points for its Clubcard loyalty scheme.

The supermarket partnered with EagleAI for the six-week campaign, with customers currently able to complete up to 10 challenges from 20 which have been tailored to them.

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