Kroger is again testing new tech at a Butler County store. Here’s what’s new.

A Monroe Kroger store is one of two nationally that will test technology developed in a partnership between Kroger and Microsoft that is meant to create a “smart” shopping experience.

The features include digital shelf displays that indicate deals, nutrition information and personalized information for shoppers. A Redmond, Washington, store also is being used for the test.

“Customers will be able to get in and out of the grocery store more efficiently than ever before and will see promotions and offers customized to their grocery list as they shop,” Kroger spokeswoman Erin Rolfes told this news outlet.

Under the partnership, the pilot stores employ digital shelves, price tags and advertisements courtesy of a smart technology system, powered by Microsoft Azure and connected by IoT (Internet of Things) sensors.

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Kroger’s preferred cloud platform, Retail as a Service, adds innovations aimed at making it easier for customers and workers to more quickly and efficiently navigate the stores, saving time for shoppers and money for the Cincinnati-based company, company officials said.

The Kroger-Microsoft partnership entails the use of Microsoft Azure to store and process the data generated in stores, near the smart shelves and on Kroger’s app. That means the digital stores are able to introduce never-before-seen shopping experiences, including the latest generation of EDGE Shelf (Enhanced Display for Grocery Environment).

The shelving system uses digital displays, instead of traditional paper tags, to indicate everything from prices and promotions to nutritional and dietary information.

“Kroger is building a seamless ecosystem driven by data and technology to provide our customers with personalized food inspiration,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “We are identifying partners through Restock Kroger who will help us reinvent the customer experience and create new profit streams that will also accelerate our core business growth.”

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Shelves will be able to digitally display personalized offers and advertisements based on customer demographics.

Kroger and Microsoft selected Monroe and Redmond as pilot stores to be near each company’s respective headquarters, Rolfes said.

The local launch of the new technology is not the first time Kroger has looked to Butler County for to roll out a new type of store, service or technology.

In July 2006, Kroger’s opened its first Marketplace location in the region at 7300 Yankee Road in Liberty Twp. That store, in 2014, also was one of the first to replace furniture and home decor items to stock clothing, something the grocer has since removed from that location.

In 2015, that location was the first to test Kroger’s online shopping option.

Kroger announced in November that it would located its first automated warehouse in the nation in Monroe. The $55 million robot-powered project, Kroger’s first customer fulfillment center, is expected to generate at least 410 new jobs.

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