Kroger began January 2019 by teaming up with Microsoft to create a smart shelf system to more easily guide customers through its stores during shopping. Two stores, one in Washington and one in Ohio, were almost completely retrofitted with Microsoft’s smart shelves. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati grocer installed the smart shelves on endcaps in 100 other locations. The shelves can communicate with a mobile app to give shoppers both an item’s location and details not found on the packaging.
Shortly after rolling out its smart shelves, Kroger launched a new debit card and mobile payment program that gives shoppers double the loyalty rewards, including fuel points and private-brand discounts, when used in tandem. The company then expanded its test of self-driving delivery vehicles from Mountain View, Calif.-based Nuro. The test began in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 2018 and expanded to Houston by 2019.