Australian discount pharmaceutical chain Chemist Warehouse has announced a pilot with a NZ retail AI start-up to better understand customer shopping trends around vitamins and medicine.

The new partnership will see the discount retailer partner with Insite AI to use advanced data and intelligence to help with merchandising, buying and selling at its more than 450 outlets.

Shaveer Mirpuri, CEO of Goat Ventures and Chairperson of Insite AI told Retailbiz that the company provides advanced analytics to help retailers with merchandising, stocktake, price setting, and more.

“Insite AI provides large physical retailers intelligent recommendations ahead of time to make quality buying and planning decisions. The area of merchandising covers new product introductions, range lifecycle management, tailoring allocations to stores, forecasting stock quantities, price setting and phasing, and much more.”

Just yesterday the startup announced its latest round of capital, an injection of $1.8m from Goat Ventures, along with a collaboration with PwC Australia as an exclusive distributor to deploy AI within large retailers’ operations.

Mirpuri says the software gives retailers actionable intelligence into supply chain and operations, giving them a competitive edge when it comes to understanding their customers’ needs and shopping habits.

“Chemist Warehouse will use Insite AI within their business to augment their buyers and planners with confidence and intelligence. They will also be piloting the findings to better anticipate customer needs and tastes across their 450+ stores,” he said.

“This is about ensuring customers will see their desired product at their preferred store and at the right time. Store operations benefit from having more precise recommendations ahead of time to guide them through operational complexities to achieve this.”

The pilot will see Chemist Warehouse pilot the software to intelligently support the buying and planning of vitamins and non-prescription medicines.

This advanced intelligence will allow the chain to strategically buy and plan, which will in-turn impact revenue and profitability and directly affect margins, the percentage of sell-through, minimising supply chain costs and better maintaining stock levels, Mirpuri says.

It’s this industry intelligence that Mirpuri says is absolutely crucial to help retailers gain a competitive edge in the current environment.

“The current industry status quo is to make these decisions based on gut-feel insights, reliance on internal senior experts and spreadsheets. Sometimes, data science and software are utilised, but there’s still a struggle to provide relevant recommendations given the vast complexities of retailing practice. We believe advanced machine learning can improve these processes by working with the “art” or “processes” of retailing.”