In retail, excess inventory is not exactly anyone’s idea of good news since, according to Ronen Lazar, co-Founder and CEO of INTURN, done badly “it can cripple a brand’s equity and eat up its margins.”
But in the age of automation, the good news is that brands don’t have to deal with excess inventory poorly. And handled properly, retailers can successfully manage their way out of an off season and effectively get a second bite at the revenue apple.
“Excess inventory is an opportunity disguised as a problem,” Lazar told PYMNTS in an interview.
But that opportunity has not been properly capitalized on according to Lazar because off-price retail has been slow out of the gate when it comes to the sort of automation that has become common across the rest of the retail industry, which has left a paper-dominated, inefficient process that is more or less loss-leading by design.
”The space has not seen innovation since Microsoft released Excel. INTURN was created to address this lack of innovation and illustrate the massive monetary opportunity of proper inventory management and visibility,” Lazar explained.
To address the innovation gap, INTURN is a B2B platform that connects inventory sellers and buyers in private online showrooms after both have mutually agreed to opt in.
For sellers, Lazar noted, that platform offers an easy way to digitize and manage online inventory in a controlled way.
“INTURN allows sellers to digitally upload their inventory data and instantly create an online inventory management system. This system gives them the ability to create digital private showrooms for specific buyers with content-rich product offers.”
Moreover, he noted, because the platform also provides real-time data analytics, sellers can better customize their offerings and “be proactive with their markdowns and selling patterns, leading ultimately to larger recovery margins.”
Buyers, Lazar says, enjoy greater operational efficiencies and better access to curated offers for their brands, not to mention a more transparent system to make decisions in.
“The images and additional product information allow brands to actually know what they are buying and thus make better purchasing decisions.”
And apart from bringing buyers and sellers in the resale market together in a more productive way, Lazar noted that because INTURN has streamlined the purchase order creation process with automation, it can save both sides of the transaction time and manual labor cost.
“The result is a solution that provides retailers a chance to find more inventory and brands a chance to find the ideal retailer faster — while delivering a powerful opportunity for both sides to increase profitability,” Lazar noted.
And it is an opportunity that INTURN is looking to expand more globally. An effort recently aided by 22.5 million Series B financing round led by B Capital Group. B Capital was founded by Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin and Raj Ganguly.
“It’s rare to find a company transforming an industry at the scale and adoption rate that INTURN is across both large and small businesses. We’re very excited to partner with INTURN to further geographic expansion across all retail categories,” Ganguly said.
“It’s incredible to watch buyers and sellers thoughtfully improve their businesses using INTURN’s platform. INTURN is proving to be essential to retail success,” said Bryan Ciambella, principal at B Capital Group.
The new round of funding, which brings INTURN's total raised funds to around $36 million, will go toward global expansion. Lazar noted that the firm, has just opened an office in the EU. It will be specifically focused on expanding that market along with the EU as a whole. He also lauded his new investors’ contributions to that vision of growth.
“B Capital and its partners, the Boston Consulting Group, bring deep retail technology expertise and the widest global network, which is already accelerating INTURN’s expansion,” Lazar said.
And that expansion, he said, will be the focus of the rest of 2017 – both geographically and across more categories.
Because excess inventory is a problem everywhere – and in all corners of retail. The goods news is that it does have to be a problem– the channels exist to replug that merchandise into the marketplace for sale, and the technology exists to make the transition smooth.
“Excess inventory handled properly can turn a bad season into a successful one.”