US retailer Walgreens is using Microsoft HoloLens 2 to train employees of its new Kroger Express stores. They will learn how to restock products, quality check perishable items and deal with unfamiliar customer service situations through a 3D mixed reality model of the stores.
According to a recent Microsoft news story, the new Kroger Express stores are being remodelled to accommodate the addition of grocery items alongside Walgreens’ typical cosmetics and pharmacy goods. The training programme, developed by Microsoft partner Altoura, aims to get staff familiarised with the new layouts and ready for work before the renovations are complete.
“We feel that this very immersive, interactive technology helps team members grasp new ways of learning beyond what I’ll call the paper exercise,” said Steven Lamontagne, vice president of physical design and formats for Deerfield, Walgreens’ parent company. “By using a 3D model for the store, a team member gets to see what the future is going to be like after their store’s remodelled, and they’re immediately within that new physical environment.”
The revamped Walgreens stores will also feature an anonymous shopping path system from Microsoft partner Acuity. Using Bluetooth beacons on carts and baskets, it tracks how customers navigate the reconfigured stores. Microsoft can then analyse that data in Power BI to determine the success of the layouts in meeting customers’ needs.