In the current consumer-centric, omnichannel environment, retailers and apparel brands have made concerted efforts to streamline processes and improve workflow — especially as e-commerce sales continue to experience robust growth across the industry.
Inventory control is also becoming key. Inturn, an inventory solution company, enables brands and retailers to sell excess inventory via its business-to-business software platform. Built for buyers and sellers, the platform is designed to address multiple inventory challenges by automating inventory workflow and optimizing the complete process from conception to completion. The company’s solution is the first platform designed exclusively for management and sale of off-price inventory, according to the firm. It allows brands to buy more strategically by streamlining inventory processes, gleaning insights from real-time data, assessing product profitability and accessing purchase and negotiation history.
Prior to Inturn, brands and retailers were accustomed to the lengthy and painstaking process of entering data by hand into Excel spreadsheets. Manually inputting images, color codes, product descriptions, material codes, countries of origin, sizes and quantity of sizes, among other categories, was wholly inefficient. “We’re addressing the complexities and inefficiencies of the way brands and retailers sell and buy inventory,” said Ronen Lazar, a co-founder and chief executive officer of Inturn.
Approximately 20 percent of inventory is sold at a discount, only yielding about 7 percent of total revenue when goods are finally sold, which represents two-thirds of their initial value dropping off, the brand said. Moreover, $1.1 trillion in cash is tied up in inventory, which equates to 7 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, according to researchers at REL. And 46 percent of small to midsize businesses forego tracking inventory or use a manual method, said a separate report by Wasp Barcode Technologies.
Inturn’s proprietary solution defragments data, provides real-time inventory updates, simplifies financial and management processes, automatically downloads files and final transaction information and helps create a criterion for reporting metrics, ranging from product category margins to transaction duration. Buyers that use Inturn’s solution have bought up to 25 percent more units and spent 80 percent less time evaluating and purchasing inventory, the company reports. “What [the solution] effectively translates into is a repositioning of peoples’ time that in the past was wasted on manual hours to actually focus on the business,” Lazar said.
Lazar classifies the platform into three chief components: workflow optimization, liquidity and intelligence. The first step is to enhance overall productivity: “We allow the suppliers to very sufficiently aggregate all of their relevant data and visuals related to the product to have it all sitting in one place,” Lazar said. After data is uploaded to Inturn, re-allocation and assortment building tools are available to package inventory offers for specific buyers, who then view the inventory in a private showroom.
Through its solution, brands and retailers can increase liquidity for their inventory. “We developed different strategies that allow both sides to operate more effectively,” Lazar said. “Think about outerwear as an example. Nobody wants to buy outerwear in the summer, so the earlier in the season you get it out into the market, the more value it is to the consumer and the more you can actually charge as a result.”
Inturn analyzes its customers’ systems and data structures in order to “normalize” their data and enable them to use Inturn without requiring systems integration. “One of the challenges in this space is that there’s very little consistency between one brand and another or one retailer and another, and even between the two counter parties. Inturn allows its customers to really drive that consistent process with a level of oversight that hasn’t been achieved before,” Lazar explained. “Even when they understand what they’re looking at, they have to quantify the geometrics to really understand the true value of the goods and how much they can sell it for and how much [someone] will buy it for.”
Lazar told WWD, “It’s all one very large equation.” He said, “It all really rolls back into having access to the right product as early as possible in the season, being able to access opportunities for the right price and once you do that, having the right tools in place, to position the right product, in the right retail stores, to the right consumers, at the right price.”
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