Software large Microsoft is teaming up with Albertsons, America’s 2nd-largest grocery chain, to put into effect a “frictionless” purchasing revel in for clients. The deal comes as Amazon has been an increasing number of turning its attention to the grocery commercial enterprise, which acquired Whole Foods in 2017 and has reportedly been planning to open hundreds of Amazon Go stores throughout the country.

The partnership will bring Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365 to Albertsons shops, which Albertsons Companies govt vp and CIO Anuj Dhanda says will allow it to “remodel the customer revel in in our shops and digitally,” using “cognitive technologies, artificial intelligence and data technological know-how implemented at scale.”

The aim, in line with Microsoft, is to “cast off the friction customers revel in on the grocery store,” through making it easier to locate gadgets and reduce wait instances, even as also supporting shop employees music their stock and assume whilst they may need additional inventory.

Albertsons has been operating to enlarge its era services, and the businesses say that the partnership has already added along consequences. Its eCommerce platform now runs on Microsoft Azure, and last year, Albertsons rolled out a “one touch” app for its fuel stations (which runs on Azure), which permits drivers to drag as much as a fuel pump and gas up by means of paying with a mobile tool. The era is presently being utilized in 27 stores, and the business enterprise says that it’ll enlarge the pilot to greater this year. Microsoft says that Albertsons will use its data technological know-how to improve its supply chain and logistics as nicely.

Microsoft has made several inroads into the grocery and retail market inside the final yr. Last July, it teamed up with Walmart for a five-year deal to carry Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365 to the retail large, whilst in January, it formed a partnership with Kroger, the largest grocery chain inside the United States, to build multiple excessive-tech grocery stores in Ohio and Washington that use virtual signs and symptoms and apps to allow clients to discover objects quickly.

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