BWG Foods, has become the first grocery retailer in Ireland to spearhead an intelligent ordering platform, ShopLink Pro, developed by US-based AI leader R4 Technologies, as part of a new pilot scheme taking place across its retail network.
The retailer and wholesaler noted that traditional ordering platforms rely on past data, creating a replenishment-based order by analysing what has sold, taking into account safety stock in order to predict what retailers should purchase.
However, this pioneering solution, built onto BWG Foods’ award-winning ecommerce system, ShopLink Pro, continually uses predictive intelligence to make daily forecasts for retailers based on what consumers will wish to purchase in the future, it said.
ShopLink Pro Trial
ShopLink Pro will be trialled in 22 stores within the BWG Foods retail estate and on successful completion, the business will look to provide the solution to independent retailers across its network of more than 1,000 Spar, Eurospar, Mace, Londis, and XL stores nationwide.
According to BWG, overlaying an artificial intelligence (AI) module to the existing retail platform, ShopLink Pro processes the EPOS Data from the full retail network while gathering 240 additional data points, from weather and local events to social media as well as demographic and census data.
The system uses the data to compile an analysis of predicted consumer demand for in-store products, allowing for smarter forecasting of stock requirements, it explained.
Additionally, the solution takes into account business promotions and category management to deliver a 21-day, 14 day and seven-day sales forecast.
Commenting on the launch of the solution, Chris Donnelly, chief information officer, BWG Foods said, “ShopLink Pro has the potential to be a real game changer for our retailers in 2022, transforming how they manage their offerings by understanding what their customers will wish to purchase in the near future.
"This is a really exciting proposition that brings an added layer of intelligence to better understand what our customers are looking for across different regions and environments in Ireland at any given time," he added.
Supply Chain Benefits
Retailers will benefit from the creation of a fully automated daily replenishment order of goods, and the system also suggests new products to specific stores to enhance their sales and meet local consumer needs, BWG said.
Using the most advanced AI platform and suite of algorithms available in the market, R4 have designed the solution to support cost savings in the retail sector, deliver more effective category management and ensure retailers can consistently meet the demand of customers by taking advantage of opportunities arising locally.
ShopLink Pro will also provide BWG Foods with a complete view of the demand for products across its supply chain in a way that was never available previously.
The solution will be fully integrated with the retailers’ existing ShopLink platform, following an upskilling programme for retailers to get the best from the solution.
Donnelly highlighted, "There is huge potential for this solution to transform our operations in relation to category management and product waste, logistics, stock management and to create a genuinely tailored in-store experience that is capable of changing with demand with intelligent predictions and forecasting."
"It also has the potential to change the consumer’s shopping experience with offerings that are highly tailored to their unique needs, ultimately leading to better satisfied customers,” he concluded.