UK retail sales fell a record 5.1% in March as many stores shut up shop in the face of the coronavirus lockdown. The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the steepest sales fall since it started collecting the data in 1996.
Martin Rand is the CEO and Co-Founder of Pactum, an AI negotiatior which is being used by huge companies like WALMART, to automate personalised negotiations with thousands of suppliers and vendors in tandem.
He believes that although there is a dark cloud hanging over retail, AI negotiation offers a ray of sunlight. Please see his full comment on the story below.
Martin Rand, CEO & Co-Founder, Pactum said, “There’s certainly a dark cloud hanging over retail currently, as evidenced by these latest figures from the ONS, but there is also a ray of sunlight. Despite the challenges and hardships, the crisis has presented for the industry, UK retailers should not waste opportunities during the pandemic.
“This is a perfect time for companies to adopt novel technologies like AI, which can assist retailers in dealing with the current struggle around their relationships with suppliers and partners. At the heart of this challenge is negotiating and renegotiating a massive number of supplier agreements. UK retailers should take a leaf out of some US companies’ books.
“For example, WALMART are now using AI to automate personalised negotiations with their thousands of worldwide suppliers and vendor partners.
“AI powered negotiations can enable UK retailers to renegotiate a huge number of supplier agreements, giving them the power to react to demand and changing economic circumstances far quicker than normal. In the context of the UK retail industry, retailers will be able to plan far more effectively in response to projections like those made by the ONS.
“In addition to this, it means they can ensure their supply chains don’t go underwater, by easing contract terms for their suppliers, all powered automatically by AI negotiation, which is a method more likely to achieve mutually beneficial agreements than human negotiators. Supporting these supply chains in this way means that those retailers won’t need to build supply chains from the ground up again once the crisis recedes.
“AI negotiation is one piece of the puzzle, but it will certainly help retailers during this difficult transition, as they realign their business models in light of this pandemic, and prepare for when this is all over.”