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Real-time Inventory Check



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As a high end retailer, Lane Crawford carries extremely limited inventory of their items. Some of their luxury goods items only have one physical copy in store. Though this may not necessarily effect in-store customer experience and sales, it creates problems when designing a rich online shopping experience. Imagine you have ordered a product online, but later find out that the order was rejected because the product was out of stock. Lane Crawford wanted to make absolutely sure this horrible customer experience scenario didn’t happen, so when they approached us with the issue, we were excited to be able to fix this problem in a new and creative way.

The issue with creating an online store with an inventory this small lies with communication. Add the fact that Lane Crawford stores are located in Asia with an online consumer base around the world, and we have a clear problem. What we needed to build was an ingenious, creative way for stores to communicate with one another and with online orders to have real-time updates on inventory status on products. With today’s mobile platforms, it’s easier than ever to accomplish global connectivity, and mobile is exactly the route which we at Desato decided to go to in order to solve this dilemma.


To get around the issue of real-time inventory updates, Desato and Lane Crawford created an iPhone app for store employees and cashiers to use at every location. The commerce system we designed contains all information on where each item is located. When an online user adds the item to their cart, a message is sent to the store where the item is currently located. A store representative would then receive the message, take the item that is being purchased off the store shelf and set it aside. The individual store representative can then communicate whether the item has been reserved or that it is not available by simply clicking a button in the app. The message is then sent back to the website, where the status of the product is updated in real-time in the user’s cart.