Morrisons is challenging traditional convenience retailers through its use of technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and online ordering.

Speaking at the ACS Summit in Birmingham, Morrisons head of wholesale convenience Paul Dobson said AI tools were giving access to local insights only a local shop owner would previously know, and that the tools learn from their own performance.

He said it uses “trillions of data points to get stock on shelves” and also decides ranges for each store.

Responding to the technology, PayPoint commercial director Lewis Alcraft told Retail Express: “It’s inevitable, convenience is moving from an intuitive approach for making decisions based on local factors to a data-driven model. It’s important to use both but even more important to have the EPoS data tools independents need to get a leg-up on the competition.”

Morrison’s AI tools will also be shared with its retail partners including Rontec and McColl’s.

Dobson also said the company’s tie-up with Amazon to fulfil grocery orders was directly denting convenience sales.

“It is very much convenience shopping. People on their way home from work are rather placing an order on the app, rather than popping into a convenience store, and receiving products delivered within an hour.”

He added that the baskets from the Amazon orders are mostly top-up shops, which are more popular in convenience stores.

“Processing and delivering orders placed on apps can be picked up by independents. If you look at the takeaway market, similar platforms have supported the growth of independents.,” Dobson said.

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