Urban Outfitters Harnesses AI to Fuel Merchandising Efficiencies


Fashion group URBN is hopping aboard the artificial intelligence train, adopting the technology within its merchandise planning platform. 

The parent company of Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, FP Movement, Anthropologie Weddings, Terrain, Menus & Venues, and Nuuly will implement o9 Solutions’ merchandising financial planning, assortment planning, demand planning, allocation, and replenishment solutions with a view to avoiding stockouts and optimize decision-making across its extensive portfolio of global brands.

URBN also seeks to use the solution to leverage predictive analytics and proactively position inventory to respond and meet rapidly-changing consumer demand. The solution will enable greater visibility into product availability and allow the companies to make use of AI-driven allocation and replenishment optimization techniques and tools. 

Commenting on the news, URBN CIO Rob Frieman said the partnership was designed to “position URBN for long-term sustainable and profitable growth” and “digitally transform our end-to-end merchandising strategy.”

“We look forward to working with o9’s superior technology and highly knowledgeable and experienced team to ensure we continue to meet the demand of our customers and grow market share across all of our brands,” Frieman added. 

Retail’s AI-Adoption Explosion 

The number of retailers utilizing AI and machine learning technologies has grown exponentially in just the last few months, particularly in the apparel and fashion space. Most recently, luxury brand Karl Lagerfeld rolled out plans to automate allocation processes across its network, tapping artificial intelligence to streamline inventory management.

In June, online resale marketplace Mercari revealed it was tapping into machine learning technology to make transactions more personalized and convenient for shoppers. This news came soon after the retailer detailed plans to adopt conversational AI technologies in its proprietary shopping assistant, Merchat AI – a conversational shopping bot that leverages large language models to process listings and deliver personalized recommendations based on customer prompts.

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