Narrowing the Inventory Gap
The Home Depot is applying computer vision technology to “narrow the gap” between its in-stock inventory — when the retailer’s systems indicate a product is in-store — and its on-shelf inventory — products on shelf and available for sale to the customer. It’s been “bullish” on the rollout of computer vision technology to help with this, Ann-Marie Campbell, EVP, U.S. stores and international operations, noted during the company’s Q2 2023 earnings call.
“All year, this technology bridges the longstanding gap between what is listed ‘in stock’ and what is actually available and easily findable,” says Fritts. “Computer vision is more accurate and faster than the human eye, saving time and providing a more seamless, interconnected shopping experience. Since rollout, we have seen meaningful improvements in on-shelf availability, higher customer service scores, and increased associate engagement and productivity. We also believe this will help in-stock accuracy moving forward.”
Inventory management is a year-round challenge that is exacerbated during the holiday season.
Heading into 2024, Fritts advises retailers should approach emerging technology from their unique perspective and evaluate whether it’s an irrelevant hype cycle or a solution they need.
“That being said, computer vision offers many capabilities most retailers would benefit from during this time, such as real-time inventory visibility and precise location data, which can be applied in many ways,” he adds. “Computer vision is set to transform inventory management, ushering in an era where retailers can reduce time on mundane tasks and be more confident in the amount and location of inventory, both of which improve customer interactions.”