Inventory Management

This article outlines how Emcien can drive a product recommendation engine automatically with historical sales data.

Align your data with a use case

Note: This procedure uses the Retail Sales example data set. Your data should be similar to the example data, particularly the structure of a transaction_id or something similar to connect the items in each purchase.

If your data doesn’t follow this same structure consult the Receipt Format page before contacting Emcien Support.

This data set contains retail transactions in the receipt format. While more difficult to manipulate, the receipt format is particularly helpful for sales data because it allows you to attach multiple items from the same category to each transaction through the transaction_id. This feature makes the receipt format ideal for basket analysis.

The sample data set contains five columns: the transaction_id, item_id, transaction_date, item_name, and item_category. Only the transaction_id and item_id are required fields, but the added transaction_date, item_name, and item_category give added information to be included in the analysis.

Note that the receipt format does not permit user-defined column headings. Some retail data sets include additional columns that relate more to the product than to the purchase, like product margin. These columns can be moved or rolled into the receipt format using the transaction_id. 

If your data looks similar to the Receipt Data format, you may only have to rename the column headers or change the column order. Other data will require more work. If you need assistance with the format, first refer to

You can upload data files to Emcien using SFTP and your preferred FTP client, such as FileZilla or Cyberduck.

To connect to Emcien using your FTP client, use the following credentials:

  • Host:
  • Username: {Your Emcien Feeds server Username}
  • Password: {Your Emcien Feeds server Password}

  1. Using your preferred Internet Browser, navigate to the Emcien Sign In page:

  2. On the Home page click Retail Sales.

The Dashboard page for the Retail Sales data set is displayed. On the Dashboard page you can view the number of connected data values, the number of transactions analyzed, and more. 

The interactive graphic on the home screen is the Connections Map, a representation of the analyzed data displayed by connectivity. 

The green and blue column on the left represents the connections identified as relevant patterns in the data set. Mousing over each section will display examples of the corresponding clusters. These include Core Connections, Typical Connections, and Noisy Connections, and each set is isolated for different purposes. 

Clicking each of these sections will bring up a list of those connections.

From the Dashboard Home Page you can also click on Perspectives to see these connections listed in greater detail. 

Core Clusters are the connections that are central to understanding the data. In retail data these will be the items that often sell together and are sold together frequently. 

Non-Obvious Clusters represent connections that don't occur frequently but their individual items rarely occur independently of the others. These are important for inventory management because these pairs can be helpful in avoiding shortages or excess inventory.

Disconnected Items are particularly helpful for inventory planning because they represent the items that don't have any meaningful connections with other items. These are excellent candidates for inventory reduction. If an item on this list is low margin or has high storage cots it can be considered for reduction.

Another feature that can be helpful for inventory management is the Substitutions feature. 

Emcien software automatically identifies te individual items that “act” like other items in the data set. In retail and sales data these are the items that are purchased with the same group of items but are rarely, if ever, seen together.

These are often similar items, competing products, or the same item but in a different size.This is an opportunity to remove the less profitable item.

Each of these product relationships can be analyzed automatically to identify hidden carrying costs and opportunities for bundling and more efficient product planning. For help using Emcien to optimize your inventory you can contact your Services team member directly or email us at [email protected] and we will connect you with a services professional.