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Drakes looks to AI to create personalised experiences for customers

Independent grocery retailer Drakes Supermarkets, which recently became the first vertically integrated supermarket in Australia, has overhauled its IT infrastructure to support the move to self supply and is exploring AI to bring personalised experiences to customers.

Drakes announced plans to separate from Metcash last September after opening its own $125 million state-of-the-art automated distribution centre, complete with advanced robotics technology.

The retailer recently partnered with cloud company Nutanix and Adelaide-based IT partner, Nuago, to support the 50,000sqm DC in South Australia’s Edinburgh North, amid increased demand for groceries prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IT upgrade has enabled the retailer to access and respond to real-time stock demand.

“We’ve seen our warehousing and IT requirements more than double in the past few weeks, but we’ve maintained 100 per cent availability across all of our systems,” said Drakes IT manager Phillip Romano. 

“We can now focus on taking care of our communities’ shopping needs, getting those staff who can do to work remotely, and hire new staff directly from the increasing pool of unemployed Australians.”

Chief executive Roger Drake said the decision to bring Drakes distribution in-house and modernise IT was based on lowering the cost to customers.

Now the retailer aims to leverage the Nutanix Xi IoT edge intelligence platform, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to provide real-time data insights and video analytics, to create personalised experiences for customers.

“While consumers are currently flooding into supermarkets, the retail industry as a whole continues to experience unprecedented levels of pressure, competition and consolidation,” said Romano.

“To remain competitive and retain customer loyalty, we need to drive efficiency and create personalised experiences.”

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