Sainsbury’s turns to cloud to lift retail operations

The challenging world of retail sees the biggest UK supermarkets operating on tight margins to make gains across the country, and now it seems the cloud computing sector is being more heavily leaned on to optimise results.

Food retailing giants are always trying to get ahead of competitors by offering more of what they believe customers want, but now a partnership between Sainsbury’s and Google Cloud could see them deliver customer insights that allow them to get ahead in the market.

Google Cloud’s managing director for UK and Ireland, Alan Coad, said the supermarket was seeking “new insights on what the customers want and the trends driving their eating habits.”

The aim is to use machine learning to realise this goal, as they work with lots of raw customer data to get a better idea of how to deliver products more likely to be consistently purchased, which could save much capital on some ineffective new product developments and launches.

With many data streams running across their operations, an ability to scale infrastructure to analyse this information in real-time could be seen as a key option in a highly competitive market.

Phil Jordan, group CIO at Sainsbury's, said the move was essential to be “generating new insight into how the world eats and lives, to help us stay ahead of market trends.”

He cited customer expectations of “high quality at great value,” with “innovative and distinctive products” being top of the wish list.