Get the Distribution of Items Across Stores Right, Using Artificial Intelligence

Due to such ever more demanding customer, running a supply chain on mere gut feeling is -and sure will continue to be- a recipe for disaster. Remember, lower supply chain costs increase a retailers bottom line without even selling more items.

It is time to take better decision with regard to the distribution of stock across your different sales channels, avoiding out-of-stock and overstock situations and reducing those supply chain costs.

About the client

The client is a mid-size fashion retailer in Belgium. The past few years, it has built a firm online presence, alongside its offline presence, combining an expanding webshop, with twenty brick-and-mortar stores.

The executive management understood the need to swap mere gut feeling for data-driven decision-making. To have machine prediction assist when making decisions (AI-driven business analytics) or drive an entire process on its own (AI-driven business process automation) to ensure a robust & resilient supply chain.


Preventing out-of-stock situations

Managing inventory has always been a time-intensive and cumbersome process for any retailer. As a result of digital disruption, it is however become more important than ever to ensure that sufficient items are in store when a sales opportunity presents itself. The potential customer, anxious for a fresh pair of trousers or footwear, has become less forgiving for finding his favourite items out of stock. Provided with the ability to shop online or check where to find these shoes close by, such a sale opportunity can be lost in a blink of an eye.

Preventing overstock situations

Hoarding and piling-up inventory has never been the right answer to ensure a customer walks out of the store happy and satisfied, nor will it ever be. The challenge is therefore twofold and equally entails safeguarding excessive inventory from piling up in one or more stores due to differences in sales.

Key Challenges Solved

  • Preventing out-of-stock situations
  • Preventing overstock situations
  • Significantly reducing supply chain costs


1. A sales-forecasting algorithm that helps to decide how to distribute items across sales channels.

We provided the client’s team with an application running a custom-made algorithm which predicts what will be selling where. It assists the Inventory Management Team in deciding what amount of items, should be distributed to a given sales channel (online & offline).

2. One-click redistribution of stock

Moreover, an additional feature of the tool periodically analyses the inventory levels for each product, in each store. For all 300.000 products a unique inventory profile was created, allowing the system to determine the exact inventory shift required.

The tool safeguards an ideal range of stock based on sales data and suggests what inventory should be moved and to what sales channel. When the application proposes a shift, a single push of a button allows the team to transfer the order directly into the companies’ enterprise resource planning tool, activating the inventory transfer between stores or warehouses.

3. The path to automated distribution of items across sales channels

The combination of multiple data sources allows the application to go further than mere analysis of sales data. By recording current actions, the system is able to learn, predict future fluctuations and automate actions accordingly.

It sets the organization on a path to assisted initial distribution of items by human decision-makers and a fully automated redistribution by a machine, making autonomous decisions.


  • Shops encountered fewer out-of-stock situations, growing the number of in-store sales (5% - 10% increase in revenue) and satisfied customers.
  • Shops piled-up lesser stock, lowering the impact of unsold items on financials.
  • Time required to count stock and ensure redistribution of items were substantially reduced, leading to reduced costs and increased revenue.
  • One-click solution on top of existing enterprise resource planning tool.

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