Coles ramps up digital transformation with extended Accenture deal

The move is expected to help the retail giant achieve cumulative cost savings of AU$1 billion by 2023.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

As part of ongoing efforts to accelerate its digital transformation journey, Coles has extended its long-term agreement with technology services provider Accenture to help support the rollout of several new technology solutions, which is forecast to deliver total cost savings of AU$1 billion over four years. 

"We have committed to being technology-led in our stores and throughout our supply chain to reduce costs while delivering an even better shopping experience for customers and making life easier for our team members," Coles chief executive Steven Cain said.

"The partnership with Accenture will enable us to deliver the efficiencies we need for long-term sustainability, and provide the agility to respond to rapidly-evolving consumer needs. This is a vital part of Coles winning in its second century."

See more: How to choose e-commerce services and software (TechRepublic)

As part of the expanded relationship, Accenture will work with Coles' other technology partners -- Microsoft, SAP, Witron, and Ocado -- to modernise the retailer's supply chain with enhanced analytics capabilities and artificial intelligence (AI), as well as procurement, human resources, and finance systems.  

The deal will also see the two companies work together to improve Coles' online grocery delivery services. It will build on Coles' efforts earlier this year that saw it partner with eBay to sell groceries on its local online marketplace. 

The Australian supermarket giant added the two companies will invest in a joint innovation fund dedicated to exploring new technology applications within Coles, including developing a technology roadmap to ensure Coles' digital capabilities keep pace with the company's long-term strategy. 

The value and length of the deal have not been disclosed.

In the last six months, Coles has made noticeable efforts to bolster its technology solutions, which forms part of the company's broader Smart Selling initiative that's aimed at increasing automation of manual tasks both in stores and in support functions, improving checkout times, using AI for quicker and more accurate stock ordering, and reducing energy use.

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