New image recognition app can identify on-shelf availability in 5 seconds  

An AI-based SaaS startup Inspector Cloud has launched an app to speed up image recognition in retail. With this new solution, sales reps and merchandisers can identify products on the shelf and receive recommendations in 3-5 seconds.   

Inspector Cloud is developing a digital platform that enables FMCG companies to enhance on-shelf stock performance. Using eleven different neural networks, the solution recognizes goods and collects data. 

The system then provides reports, including in-store execution, competitor analysis, and other key indicators. Inspector Cloud also lets merchandisers and sales reps save time on store visits: there’s no need for manual operations.    

“Many companies have been waiting for a new functionality like this,” said Alex Berenov, CEO and co-founder of Inspector Cloud. “We’ve already kickstarted six pilot projects since our launch.”

Currently, around 30,000 merchandisers and sales reps are using Inspector Cloud in Latin America, Asia, and Europe. The solution processes over 50,000,000 images monthly. The new app will expand access, allowing more smaller-scale food producers to benefit from the developing technology.  

“Our cloud-based solution can be used with the Internet and enables the system to recognize an image in 1-2 minutes,” said Pavel Boyko, CTO and co-founder of Inspector Cloud. “The new on-device recognition solution takes only seconds, and merchandisers can use the application without mobile Internet or WiFi to process images, receive retail insights, and get recommendations.”    

 Since its launch in 2016, Inspector Cloud has raised a total investment of $1.25 million and is part of the Y Combinator Summer 2021 batch. A few big FMCG companies, including PepsiCo, Unilever, Nestle, and Mars Petcare have been using the startup’s cloud solution. 

Predictive merchandising is one of the most promising segments of the AI retail market, according to a new report published by Meticulous Research. There’s a growing demand for better inventory management, as well as a need to enhance customer experience and enable data-driven insights.  

 AI in retail is expected to grow at a CAGR of 34.4%, reaching 19.9 billion by 2027. Key players operating in the space include, Google, Intel, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Oracle, SAP, Salesforce, and others. But the field is dynamic — new players and solutions are emerging.

For example, in early February, Onebeat, an AI-powered startup helping retailers and brands analyze their customers’ needs, received an initial $5 million round of funding. Pivot, a Miami-based startup allowing brands to pick the ideal location and in-store space to showcase their merchandise, raised a pre-seed venture capital round.

With the comeback for physical stores, AI-based predictive merchandising is becoming the technology of the future. Also, according to IBM, 72% of customers shop offline, despite the preponderance of online-only options. Reasons given include touching and feeling products before buying them online. AI could help companies increase efficiency with better inventory management, improved customer experience, and data-driven insights.

Angela Scott-Briggs

Editor, | Interested in Innovations in Business, Finance, and Technology .

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Angela Scott-Briggs

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