The Future of Inventory

This Inventory Blog Series has introduced and reiterated the importance of updating technologies and investing in a real-time inventory management system for retailers to gain visibility and control. Staying up to date with technology in the retail industry is crucial for successful retailers and happy customers.

The future of inventory is going to be flooded with updates in technology. From virtual reality, to artificial intelligence, to digital signage, and even inventory-less stores, there are constant iterations made in this industry to accelerate business and attract customers. And it’s only growing from here.

Inventory management systems have become more real-time, giving retailers more data about demographics, spending habits, shopping preferences, and more. With this constant increase in visibility, retailers aim to better their accuracy with their inventory, and continue to appeal to their consumers.

Take Nordstrom, for example. Nordstrom has recently introduced a new inventory strategy – only with no inventory. They’ve introduced a store concept called Nordstrom Local, a tiny space where instead of focusing on the inventory, they focus on the customers. Customers crave fast and convenient methods of shopping, and Nordstrom took that and ran with it. The store has alteration services, personal styling, nail salons, beverages, online order pick ups, just no inventory. By introducing this store concept, they are proving their loyalty to their customers and giving them what they really want.

Nordstrom isn’t going to be the only one to take this jump with new inventory strategies. Business Insider stated that 65% of retailers will invest in AI specifically for inventory and supply chain automation by 2021 (see image below). Retail Dive also discussed the future of artificial intelligence in retail, stating that “about 54% of retailers surveyed by SLI Systems stated that they already use or plan to add artificial intelligence technology in the future, with 20% them expecting to add AI within the next 12 months”.

So with these upcoming innovations in the retail industry, not only will retailers gain more visibility into their inventory management systems, but they will also further attract consumers. The retail industry is hungry for the utmost convenience, from the consumer side and from the business side, so retailers are working to fulfill the craving. Between no-inventory stores, and AI for supply chain they’ve already taken the leap. And there’s no stopping there.