River Island partners with Nextail to roll out AI across entire store network


River Island has undergone huge tech transformations in the last few years, rebuilding its infrastructure to tackle fashion’s changing landscape. Its latest move is to introduce artificial intelligence into its merchandising operations through Nextail’s platform.

At a time when many apparel retailers are battling with overstocking and shifting shopping habits, the 30-year-old retailer has been overhauling its IT and data infrastructure and embracing cloud technology for core processes to help overcome these issues. 

Now, its ready to take the next step. Using Nextail’s prescriptive analytics, River Island is empowered to initiate a dynamic approach to merchandising. The end goal is to improve the customer experience by providing better product availability.

By using Nextail’s software, River Island will have more powerful forecasting and decision-making capabilities which will enable decision-making at SKU and store-level. Thanks to machine learning, the retailer will now be able to anticipate and act quickly on changes in demand.

River Island is constantly finding fresh ways to delight its shopper, with a high volume of new products arriving weekly. It’s that speed of product introduction which demands and will benefit most from the dynamism of Nextail’s technology. 

Behind River Island’s tech transformation is CIO Doug Gardner, who has been fundamental in creating an agile framework to all technology used across the business. As a business, River Island is in a phenomenal position to adopt new technologies and quickly benefit from them. This fact has lended nicely to the River Island/ Nextail partnership which has been able to kick off at record speed. 

“The main return on investment of cloud computing, artificial intelligence and automation is not about cost savings is more about enabling River Island to be an agile organisation that is able to adapt rapidly” said Gardner.

This latest wave of innovation places River Island in good stead for the boom that Mintel predicts for the UK womenswear market. The market research agency suggests 14% growth in the next three years, to £33.5bn.  

Key Insights

  • Speed of ‘super-fast fashion’ means sales can be lost in overlooking the allocation and replenishment of successful products and lines.
  • To deliver its trend-forward offering, River Island deploys merchandising technology across its international store network.
  • River Island’s bold moves place it in good stead to capitalise on projected 14% growth in UK womenswear.