June 02 - 05, 2020
The Sheraton Seattle
Trax is Using AI and Mobile Technology to Help Stores Manage Inventory
Brought to you by WBR Insights
Artificial intelligence and mobile technology are offering tangible benefits to businesses operating in almost all industries. Tech startup Trax is putting it to work helping brick and mortar retailers more efficiently manage their stock levels.
Founded in 2010, Singapore-based retail tech innovator, Trax has been making serious waves in the brick and mortar retail space with its AI-powered inventory management system.
One area in which brick and mortar retailers often struggle is when it comes to managing accurate inventory levels. With products being delivered, discarded, purchased, or even stolen on a day-to-day basis, keeping up with constantly fluctuating stock levels can be a nightmare for the average retailer. And this doesn't even consider the logistical challenges of carrying out regular audits, stock takes, and other related administrative tasks.
Inaccurate inventory levels can result in several occurrences which severely damage businesses, from incorrect profit forecasts to dissatisfied customers who are unable to acquire the products they want.
Trax uses image recognition software to help solve these problems. Using digital cameras, Trax's innovative solution offers an elegant method of recording inventory levels which doesn't involve labor or time-intensive traditional stocktaking methods.
"At some point during the day, you'd have an associate walk through the store looking for holes and then maybe scanning them with a scanner," said Trax's General Manager of Global Retail, David Gottlieb. "This often ate up substantial chunks of time, particularly for retailers with large stores or a wide range of inventory. Trax's system aims to cut down on the time required to perform shelf management tasks by using a camera for real-time shelf monitoring. It relies on AI-based image recognition to identify changes in stock, helping ensure that retailers obtain an accurate account of which products they have to sell or need to reorder."
However, the images recorded by Trax's technology can be used for more than just inventory availability. They are stored on Trax's own servers and help to create a massive resource of customer and product information. This data can then be analyzed and put to work for the benefit of the business by informing new policies and processes.
With this data in place, Trax image recognition technology augments brick and mortar retailers' knowledge and experience and helps them deduce which customers are buying which products, in what volume, and how frequently.
"It is not just the image recognition technology we are offering," added Gottlieb. "We are storing data on multiple levels - raw data generated from the images, the key performance indicator data, and then meta data, the master data."
Like many tech startups of its ilk, Trax isn't content to rest on its laurels for too long, and it's already working on new ways to make its technology even more useful.
The next step in the Trax plan is to give customers the ability to access its image recognition technology to help them enjoy more fulfilling shopping experiences. Taking the form of a mobile app which is presently under development, this innovation will enable customers to search and filter for items in a real-world retail location.
"Trax is currently working on expanding its service to a mobile app which customers could use to obtain real-time information on a desired product's availability," said Gottlieb. "They could then know where the items were in the real store location, and they would know the content of the items. These mobile app development efforts are part of a larger vision, one to build on the foundation of an AI- and machine learning-enhanced digitized store."
Expanding the function of its tech to customers as well as retailers is a great way for Trax to simultaneously add even more value to its offering and unique experiences to consumers.
The kind of AI-powered technology being developed by innovative startups like Trax is helping to transform the brick and mortar retail world. As these technologies become ever more sophisticated and popular, we can expect to see further exciting applications and functions being added in the future.
"This makes Trax yet another example of how companies are noting the importance of investing in digital capabilities and, in this case, image recognition technology," said Trax in a blog post. "Retailers are hoping to capitalize on AI and machine learning to make the consumer experience more seamless and omnichannel-capable than ever, thereby offering consumers the connected and convenient shopping experiences they crave."
AI and image recognition inventory management technology are set to be a hot topic at Future Stores Seattle 2019, being held in June, at The Sheraton, Seattle.
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