MuleSoft Accelerator for Retail: Real-time inventory management

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Nisha Nizamuddin
Senior Manager, Software Engineering, MuleSoft


Learn how to enable real-time inventory management at the customer level with MuleSoft Accelerator for Retail.

Building an informative shopping experience is crucial in today's competitive marketplace. Watch our demo and find out how MuleSoft Accelerator for Retail helps retailers sync inventory positions across multiple systems — including commerce and ERP. This enables retailers to offer customers and employees real-time stock information, reinforces headless omnichannel interaction, and reduces the risks associated with overselling.

Nisha Nizamuddin (00:07):
My name is Nisha Nizamuddin. I'm a senior engineering manager at MuleSoft and a part of our solutions team. Today, we are going to discuss how to enable real-time inventory management with MuleSoft Accelerator for Retail. Over the years, retailers have developed multiple ways of managing and reporting available inventory. However, as the business grows and particularly in today's world, where we see severe shortage of goods and inefficiency in the supply chain, it has become critical to get inventory data in real-time to increase customer satisfaction and hold trust for your brand. Consider a scenario where a retailer has a ready, able, and a willing customer who places an order for a product who's inventory is inaccurately listed. Because data across all systems is not synchronized, you risk losing them because there wasn't adequate stock for that product. Inaccurate inventory data not only impacts the immediate sale, but also has a negative impact on future sales and brand loyalty due to poor customer experience.

Nisha Nizamuddin (01:16):
Even before the pandemic, out of stocks were staggering $1 trillion problem, and nearly three fourth of the retail industrialists have indicated lack of real-time inventory visibility as a top obstacle to overcome. A single source of truth is essential for cross-organization collaboration in this emerging omnichannel market. Let's go through an example to see how MuleSoft accelerator for retail can enable a single source of truth for your inventory data. For this demo, we will use Samantha as a shopper. Samantha has planned to go hiking in Vermont for the weekend. And on the day of her departure, she realizes that her winter jacket has worn out and she needs a new one. She starts browsing through Northern Trail Outfitters website to check if there are any jackets available that she can purchase online and pick up from a nearby store before leaving. She finds a warm quilted jacket that she likes, selects the appropriate size and quantity, and proceeds to check its availability at the nearby stores.

Nisha Nizamuddin (02:22):
She enters the ZIP Code and has an ability to increase the perimeter to get more store options. As you can see, Sam is not only able to see the store details such as name, address, and operating hours, but is also able to check whether the jacket is in stock or not. She's also able to see the real stock count for the jacket at each store. She selects the store most convenient to her. Adds the product to the cart and proceeds to check out. Before Sam completes the checkout process, let's take a look at the inventory information from the backend systems. First let's open this product profile in Salesforce Service Cloud. As a customer service representative, you can look up the same product and check the real-time inventory data at each store with a new lightning web component. Next, let's take a look at the same product on an ERP system.

Nisha Nizamuddin (03:15):
For this demo, we will be using SAP S/4HANA. We will take advantage of the product ID graph built using MuleSoft accelerator for retails product sync solution to locate the identifier for this product in SAP. Using the safety stock configuration in the ERP we have set 10 units at the level of safety stock that is maintained to mitigate the risk of overselling caused by the simultaneous processing of incoming orders. Placing all three system next to one another, we see that stock count is synchronized across all systems. Now, let's go ahead and place Samantha's order. Once the order is placed, we expect the stock count to be updated to ensure accurate inventory information is available throughout the system in real-time., Since the order is now placed, we will go back to all three systems together and examine the stock count. You can observe that the stock has been updated and we are able to see the most up-to-date information across all the channels.

Nisha Nizamuddin (04:19):
Building an informative user experience is crucial in today's competitive market. But the great thing about making data easily accessible across all the channels is that it also creates a better 360 degree experience. This solution helps retailers reinforce omnichannel interactions, as well as reduce the risk of overselling. So, where can you find the accelerator for retail? The answer is Anypoint Exchange. Anypoint Exchange is the app store for all integration resources. It can host the assets created by an organization and comes with assets provided by MuleSoft. To locate the accelerator, simply search for accelerator or retail using the search bar. Here is the MuleSoft accelerator for retail. Let's click on it. When you open the main page. Notice that accelerator provides support for many use cases that enable key retail processes. Here is the real-time inventory assets we saw a few minutes ago. As you scroll down, you can see reference diagrams and detailed documentation for implementation.

Nisha Nizamuddin (05:22):
You saw the assets in an app. Let's see how to put it in action. When you click on the API spec, you will get to the RAML specification of the selected API. Here, you can notice the different endpoints and the methods available within the API. The corresponding implementation template provides a scaffolding of a Mule application to implement this API. It follows all of meals of best practices. That means all the hard work is already done for you.

Nisha Nizamuddin (05:47):
Let's open this template in Anypoint Studio and see how it looks. As the template opens at Anypoint Studio, notice the structure and organization of the project. The code follows are the best practices around error handling, logging, and reconnection strategy. With the process API in this real-time inventory implementation, you can see how the data is synchronized and updated across the downstream system for each retail location. And once the template is all configured with your environment, you can deployed it in the cloud or on premise. With the API specs and implementation templates provided in the retail accelerator, peers can not only build an API for displaying inventory data on e-commerce and service systems in weeks, but they can also use this data to engage consumers on marketplaces and social media platform much faster than ever before.

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