This is a unique moment in time for the retail industry: The holiday season is almost here, and inflation continues to be a dominant concern for retailers and consumers alike. How consumers will spend, and what goods they will spend on, is the biggest question for retailers — especially as they sit on a historic $732 billion of excess pandemic-era inventory.
Last year, inventory shortages were the biggest concern for retailers and consumers. As a result, consumers did their holiday shopping early to ensure they got what they needed, and retailers overcorrected on stockpiling inventory to meet demand. This year, consumers will pare back discretionary spending and hold out for more discounts and sales, while some retailers started their holiday promotions early to help address their inventory challenges.
At the NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show Innovation Lab, visionary startups will feature technology in areas including machine learning, blockchain, artificial intelligence and more. Here’s a look at some Innovation Lab companies helping retailers address their inventory challenges this holiday season and in the year ahead.
Syrup Tech is an AI-powered predictive software for inventory decisions. It empowers merchandising and planning teams with allocation, ordering and planning recommendations — with the goal of powering next-generation inventory systems and help commerce move toward being a waste-free industry. Syrup Tech works with fast-growing brands such as Reformation and Desigual, which are seeing in-stock rates increase by more than 10%-20%, on-hand inventory levels go down by less than 20%-30%, and gross margins increase by more than 5 percentage points.
Pull Logic is a logistics and supply chain SaaS platform that utilizes AI and machine learning data to help retailers prevent lost sales due to supply chain issues. Pull Logic’s “Product Availability Network” and its substitution engine learns over time and has been proven to increase sales up to 30% due to higher sales conversion rates with no increase of inventory or salespeople. The Pull Logic system is based on the research of Dr. Benoit Montreuil, head of the Supply Chain and Logistics Institute at Georgia Tech.
Learn more about what's in store for the 2023 Innovation Lab at NRF Retail's Big Show.
Max Retail is an excess inventory selling platform. The patented technology connects unsold inventory to a global network of online and offline retailers — and ultimately accelerates sales for brands and retailers by bringing supply together with demand at each stage of a product’s lifecycle. For ecommerce retailers and marketplaces, Max Retail supplies drop-ship inventory across a variety of categories and price points. For end-of-season inventory, the platform supplies bulk inventory at liquidation pricing to physical off-price retailers, helping companies stay lean.
Digit7 develops innovative digital solutions for business owners and has built an array of products that simplify the retail experience and enhance operational efficiencies. Two of these solutions are DigitShelves, smart shelves for in-store, live inventory management, and GlideRobo, a smart drone solution for warehouse inventory management that can efficiently operate in non-GPS indoor environments. The DigitShelves technology can detect product movement, update inventory and communicate live with the inventory management system. GlideRobo can perform surveillance and deployment activities and ultimately deliver actionable insights.
Nexite is a merchandise platform that connects physical merchandise to the cloud, providing retailers an automated, in-store solution to drive sales and offer new customer experiences. Using real-time merchandise performance, availability and location data, Nexite helps retailers localize merchandise assortments and inventory allocation. The data is also used to create live heat maps to optimize space utilization and visual merchandising compliance. Nexite’s solution also includes secure frictionless commerce to reduce loss while enhancing the customer experience with post-purchase applications and digital product content.
Want to see the Innovation Lab technologies in action? Register for NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show, January 15 –17 in New York City.