The first time a customer logs into Coles Online, they can create and save shopping lists for future use by searching, adding and removing items.

Though they may be new to Coles Online, the customer may have previously shopped at Coles supermarkets. And, if they were a member of the retail giant’s flybuys loyalty scheme, the company already knew their purchase habits.

“Now, if someone puts their flybuys number in, we bring in everything that they've bought in the past, and that cuts the time it takes them to do their first order on Coles Online by about 80 percent,” chief information officer Roger Sniezek says

“That seems relatively innocuous but joins a lot of stuff together [in the background].”

Coles Supermarkets is on a four-year transformation it calls ‘Smart Selling’, automating manual handling, optimising every part of its supply chain, and promising “extensive” use of data analytics and AI to anticipate evolving customer needs.

“We're trying to make life easier for customers and inspire them with great solutions,” Sniezek says.

“You want to allow them to do things as fast as they possibly can.”

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