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Kroger to Expand Cloud Service in New Partnership with Google

The retail grocery chain Kroger started off as a brick-and-mortar store, but they're in the midst of building an extensive online network that leverages data analytics, the Internet of Things and even home delivery services.

Embracing Next-Gen Technology

Kroger recently pioneered a system known as Kroger Edge, in tandem with Microsoft Azure, to provide nutritional info, digital coupons and targeted video advertisements to in-store shoppers. The system will be featured in nearly 200 stores by the end of 2018; but this only marked their first foray into the world of next-gen technology and large-scale data collection and storage.

Even more recently, Kroger teamed up with Google to enhance their cloud footprint and facilitate a delivery services directly to consumer doorsteps. It's an ambitious plan, but it's something that's already seen in some markets – albeit on a much smaller and localized scale.

Chris Hjelm, chief information officer with Kroger, outlined some of their plans by saying: ''"Kroger Technology has been working to accelerate our ability to deliver our business the tools and technology-enabled services that support growth as outlined in our Restock Kroger Plan. The expansion of our cloud computing portfolio will be a foundational cornerstone to current and future initiatives that will drive measurable business value by advancing Kroger's ability to offer the digital and e-commerce services our customers want most."''

Avoiding Amazon

Kroger has already participated in cloud projects with Microsoft and Google, but there's one name their purposefully avoiding – Amazon. And they're not the only one. Other popular retailers, including Target and Wal-Mart, are also opting to do business with Amazon's competitors. In Kroger's case, they simply don't want to help Amazon develop their business. After all, Amazon is already working on some projects that would stand in direct competition to Kroger's recent ventures.

There are other reasons, too. When Amazon purchased Whole Foods in 2017, the popular online storefront immediately slashed grocery prices across the board. Amazon is also reportedly targeting the pharmacy market, which currently generates nearly 10% of sales for Kroger.

Hjelm addressed this issue by saying: ''"For obvious reasons competitively, it doesn't make sense for us to do a ton to help grow that business for them."''

But Kroger does utilize Amazon in some areas. Since they've acquired numerous businesses over the past few years, many of which utilized AWS, there is some interaction between the two giants. However, Kroger insists they will not begin any new investments or initiatives with Amazon.

Setting an Example for Others

If nothing else, Kroger is a great role model for other retailers and, in particular, grocers. Some of their initiatives, like Kroger Edge, are already setting an example for things to come. If their plan to link home delivery services with online ordering comes to fruition, they could become one of the earliest pioneers in the next generation of grocery shopping. And as of right now, it seems they'll do it with the help of Microsoft and Google instead of Amazon Web Services.

To find out more information about Kroger, please visit their official website at {{|}}.


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