What a store might know about YOU…

Many companies are using technological tools that change the way inventory management is conducted. In our fast paced, global market, companies cannot have idle assets and goods piling up. Inventory carrying costs can significantly impact the bottom line and congest cash flow operations. Accurately forecasting sales and demand is important in order to approximate the appropriate production volume to avoid these costs. How does a business deal with being too optimistic with its forecast and produce too much? It must find the most efficient ways to sell these extra units in the shortest amount of time. What type of technology is there that can solve the dilemma?


The Washington Post had an article covering one of the possible solutions. A law school graduate and entrepreneur, Fuentes, explored ideas on how to improve processes and sales within the retail store he worked for. He collaborated with his supervisor and executives regarding the problems he saw and how he can help them move products faster out of inventory.


Fuentes began experimenting with his new ideas with customers and said that he could possibly discount a particular item in two to three weeks and contact them if they were interested. He then tracked who wanted to be contacted and what item they were interested in buying at the discounted price. Before a product goes on clearance, it can be sold to some who is already interested. This system inspired Fuentes to create Lemur IMS. He describes it as, “An inventory management system for big-box retailers that connects local customers with local, slow-moving inventory.” He found this to be especially helpful to smaller stores that needed an edge to compete with larger stores in the community.


The Lemur IMS is effective because it increases revenue and more importantly, delivers personal attention and offers customers the products they want at a better price. This is fantastic because it decreases the amount of customers that turn to alternative competitors for lower prices or easier accessibility for the specific product they are interested in. If they like a product but do not want to pay that price, the store can offer to contact the person if the product is available at a lower price later.


A relevant trend and (obvious) concept that is providing customers with greater value is customization.  Lemur can be used on a tablet app, which is customized for each specific retailer. It can even go to the extent of tracking, “who is interesting in what product, at what time of the year and at what price.” Fuentes mentions that his tool for managing inventory is unique because, “It looks at all aspects of inventory information, not just velocity, cost, and revenue.” This deeper approach seems to be very effective. What other systems are available? What competitive advantages do they offer companies’ operations and inventory management?


4 thoughts on “What a store might know about YOU…

  1. This post is fascinating and the idea is really kind of genius! There are many times when I am shopping, especially during the holiday season and consistently return back to a store to check on the price of an item. I know many people that carefully watch item’s prices online or in ads so that they can wait for the opportunity buy at a price cut. However, if stores were to contact customers when a product is at their lowest then this would create major customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. This would not only benefit the customer, but the seller as well. The bottom line would improve because the company would not be left with as many excess products and they would be able to meet consumer’s demand more efficiently and effectively.

  2. I haven’t seen or heard of other systems like this Lemur. It seems like it is a combination of technology and high end retail customer service, where valued clients are contacted when brands or designs come in that they have been historically attracted to. This system however, attempts to show the customers how important they are as well as helping achieve affordability; it’s pretty innovative. However, I feel that there could be some privacy concerns here. A customer decides to be contacted about a specific item, but the store will eventually use that and other information to market other products in which that customer has never shown a specific interest. What companies do with client information has had a fair amount of publicity in recent years, and this system could run into similar problems if not handled correctly.

  3. I think this product is a great tool for retailers to increase profit while learning more information about their customers. It seems like Lemur would be able to reduce the extra inventory because it gives customers incentive to come back into the store. I know that if I wanted a product and I got an alert that it went on sale that I would most likely head back to the store to buy the product. The store may also be selling more because once they get those customers to come in with the sale prices, the customers may buy other products not on sale. This is almost similiar to the advertising tatics that grocery stores use by featuring products that many customers buy on sale to get them into the store to buy other products at full price. Retailers will not only increase profit but may also gain more brand loyalty to their store and learn more information on the customers.

  4. In today’s competitive market, businesses must manage their inventory effectively. I think the inventor of this product is very creative. He tried to solve an existing problem that directly effect company’s revenue. It is true that a good inventory control may eliminate inventory cost problem. However, the inventory control system is not always perfect. This is why IMS seems to be an effective tool that allows businesses to control their inventory level, which will decrease their holding cost of inventory, and it also allow them to sell their products above clearance priced items. Moreover, I think this product helps businesses create a long-term relationship with customers. As a customer, I like this concept because I would like to be informed when the product that I like is available at lower price. This way it helps me save time and money since I do not have to keep checking the price of the product and able to pay for it at a lower price.

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