Sainsbury’s and Microsoft have signed a five-year strategic partnership on artificial intelligence. 

The leading supermarket said the partnership will improve store operations, drive greater efficiency for staff and provide customers with more efficient and effective service both online and in-store.

Sainsbury’s plans to use generative AI to create a more interactive online shopping experience and improve customers’ search experience.

In-store staff will also gain access to real-time data and insights for key processes. For example, AI will be used to pull together multiple data inputs – such as shelf edge cameras – guiding staff to shelves that need replenishing. AI-guided support will also help them to address customer and staff queries more quickly and effectively.

In addition, Sainsbury’s said its rich data assets, combined with Microsoft 365 collaboration tools, generative AI and machine learning capabilities, will enable it to continue driving returns through its ‘Save and invest to win’ programme.

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“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 key ways 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.”

Clare Barclay, CEO, Microsoft UK, said: “Today, Sainsbury’s has laid out a bold vision that puts AI at the heart of its business, accelerating the development of new services, which will enhance and transform the customer and colleague experience. We are delighted to be working with Sainsbury’s to power the next generation of retail.”

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