Talk to an Expert

    Stronger supplier engagement through AI tools

    = Summary: Ed Betts explains that the time to reach for advanced tools is now – and the opportunity to optimise retail processes does not have to be disruptive or difficult

    Managing supplier interactions can be a minefield. Each vendor comes with different demands and expectations; every product line, promotion and media campaign stretches retail teams further. Finding the space required to jump on growth opportunities is difficult because major suppliers dominate, potentially alienating the smaller suppliers that could present incremental growth opportunities.

    Every retailer must approach the next few years with evolution in mind. Suppliers expect sharper engagement, and they deserve it. By embracing today’s keystone technology – elements like artificial intelligence (AI), process automation, and big data – retailers on the cutting edge will unlock the core of algorithmic retailing.

    Download the whitepaper: The Digital Transformation of Supplier Collaboration

    AI step-by-step

    Embracing the power of AI, machine learning, and retail algorithms does not mean refactoring every business process at once, neither does it mean ceding control to a monolithic AI engine. The process of rolling out AI tools can be done one step at a time, focusing on areas which make the biggest difference.

    There’s also no loss of control involved. Business operations and supplier relationships remain in the hands of the retailer: AI tools are about smoothing and streamlining processes, discovering and presenting relevant data to help difficult decisions become easier to make. Built-in guard rails ensure retailers get the results they want within clear boundaries and allow AI tools to work within a retailer’s aims in terms of profits, uplift, and margins.

    Powerful planning opportunities

    Every aspect of a business could benefit from an upgrade. AI-driven Joint Business Planning tools, for example, strengthen one’s ability to build long-term stability by aiding the construction of regulation-compliant, data-driven activity plans, and can contribute directly to sales and operational planning.

    AI tools could help bring assortment planning into focus, automatically highlighting opportunities which might otherwise have been missed; they might allow for promotions to be planned early, with full knowledge of available funds. AI is, put simply, an optimisation wherever it ends up.

    Tracking and reporting as standard

    With today’s cutting-edge tools in place, key staff become free to focus on strategy, not bureaucracy. AI-driven negotiation ensures every party gets the deal they’re looking for. Algorithmic analysis tracks potential vendor funds or deal availability automatically, helping build a promotional advantage. The right tools and data boost the certainty and rigidity of one’s decisions, and create agility too.

    Awareness is key. The data alignment which comes with AI analysis makes the whole business aware of current and future opportunities. Supplier offerings and new funding opportunities can be tracked and brought forward as soon as they appear; alerts and notifications can be AI driven to ensure they are not only made but seen. And a business must run smoothly: AI tools could drive assortment control, optimise promotional decisions or even generate region-specific media which does not fall foul of regulatory differences.

    Knowing exactly how a promotion has performed will inform the next. Smart tools can create these post-promotion reports, of course, but they can also feed from them, taking past performance into account and providing relevant feedback when a business comes to consider its next steps.

    Next-generation supplier management

    What might be most surprising is that this is not a futuristic view. It’s not a prediction. The technology is ready to go, it can be incorporated into one’s business today, and retailers cannot afford to lag behind.

    In a market where volatility has become the norm, managing supplier interactions has never been more crucial. Legacy systems simply cannot adapt quickly enough to the demands placed on them. Retailers must marshal every possible tool to ensure suppliers are not only happy but offering the best deal they can.

    Integrating foundational AI capabilities – even through one or two modular AI tools – can make a marked difference. It’s a step in the right direction, and a building block towards moving one’s business to the powerful business-wide algorithmic retailing models which represent the true next generation of doing business. Make the change, and your suppliers will thank you.

    Download The Digital Transformation of Supplier Collaboration whitepaper to understand the steps that should be taken to ensure retail success against a backdrop of market uncertainty.

    More from Uncategorised

    • Retail Express was recognised among a shortlist of vendors in the 2022 report.

      News | Press Release

      Retail Express was recognised among a shortlist of vendors in the 2022 report.

      28th July 2022 | 1 min read Retail Express listed as a Sample Vendor in the Gartner Market Guide for Retail Unified Price, Promotion and Markdown Optimisation Applications — Long Life Cycle – July 2022 Retail Express was recognised among a shortlist of vendors in the 2022 report. July 2022 – Retail Express, a leading provider of merchandising solutions, today announced that it has been identified as …

      Learn more
    • Partnership with Visma Retail AS

      News | Press Release

      Partnership with Visma Retail AS

      30th October 2012 | 2 min read Leeds UK – Retail Express Retail Express’ recently announced second-generation merchandising suite RE 2.0 has now been fully integrated into the Visma Retail Suite to offer an industry-leading ERP solution for retail. The combined suite will offer Retailers an end-to-end solution unlike any on the market today. RE 2.0 ultra accurate demand management and forecasting technology will seamlessly drive all …

      Learn more
    • Sales Analytics

      Category Management | Press Release

      Sales Analytics

      16th September 2016 | 1 min read Retail Express is pleased to announce the extension of its Category Management / Merchandise Management solution with the provision of SALES, PROFIT & VOLUME Analytics with a series of new facilities that provides on demand ABC Analysis for Sales, Profit, Unit Volumes and Margin with YEAR TO YEAR RANKINGS by FORMAL ABC Structures or customized on demand User definitions at …

      Learn more
    • Supply Chain Forecasting Datasheet

      AI (Artificial Intelligence) | Data sheets

      Supply Chain Forecasting Datasheet

      Understanding the varying demand patterns caused by price, promotional and advertising effects is where the Retail Express forecasting platform excels and is crucial to accurately forecasting future demand. Learn how our solution tracks changes in demand from regular prices, promotions, ads, displays etc. and can accurately forecast the effects of those changes.

      Learn more

    Download Whitepaper