Sainsbury's staff member wearing a headset talking to a young shopper in a store

Sainsbury’s and Microsoft collaborate to power up customer and colleague experience with AI

  • Sainsbury’s and Microsoft have signed a five-year strategic partnership, designed to help deliver the retailer’s Next Level Sainsbury’s strategy
  • It will put the power of AI in the hands of store colleagues, create more efficient and more engaging stores and online shopping experiences, and help deliver leading customer satisfaction and returns for shareholders

Sainsbury plc and Microsoft Corp. today announced a new five-year strategic partnership, using Microsoft’s artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities and Sainsbury’s rich datasets to help accelerate the retailer’s recently announced Next Level Sainsbury’s strategy.

The partnership will improve store operations, drive greater efficiency for colleagues, and provide customers with more efficient and effective service, delivering stronger returns for shareholders under Sainsbury’s ‘Save and invest to win’ programme.

By harnessing Microsoft’s products and expert engineering capabilities, Sainsbury’s will put the power of AI in the hands of store colleagues and make shopping more engaging and more convenient for millions of customers across the UK – both online and in store.

This will be supported by upskilling programmes for Sainsbury’s colleagues, helping them learn and grow in the new AI-driven economy.

Sainsbury’s will use Microsoft’s services to transform across three core areas:

  • Enhanced customer experiences: Sainsbury’s will use generative AI to create a more interactive online shopping experience and improve customers’ search experience, making shopping more efficient and engaging.
  • Empowered store colleagues: Store colleagues will have real-time data and insights for key processes, like smarter shelf replenishment processes. Using AI to pull together multiple data inputs, such as shelf edge cameras, colleagues will be guided to the shelves that need replenishing; saving valuable time as well as ensuring sales opportunities aren’t missed. Sainsbury’s store colleagues will have more time to focus on the things that matter to customers, with access to AI-guided support to address customer and colleague queries effectively in the moment, improving efficiency and enabling the delivery of leading service for Sainsbury’s customers.
  • Data powering the Sainsbury’s business, built on smart cloud foundations: Sainsbury’s data assets combined with Microsoft 365 collaboration tools, generative AI and machine learning capabilities will enable Sainsbury’s to continue driving returns through its ‘Save and invest to win’ programme: transforming operations, driving better decision making, and running a more efficient business. This will be delivered through Microsoft Azure as part of Sainsbury’s cloud ecosystem, reducing time to market for new services and innovations.

Clodagh Moriarty, Sainsbury’s Chief Retail and Technology Officer, said: “Our collaboration with Microsoft will accelerate our ambition to become the UK’s leading AI-enabled grocer.

“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.”