Retail sales slump shows need for further innovation, Blue Yonder
The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium covering the period from October to December, highlight the urgent need for retailers to invest in innovative technology that can help them operate efficiently and profitably.
Uwe Weiss, CEO at Blue Yonder, comments: “We all know that a number of factors have been putting significant strain on the UK retail market, including Brexit, the depreciation in the value of sterling, rising inflation and stagnant wage growth. However, two things will be critical for retailers to ensure that they remain profitable throughout this difficult period: maximising efficiency and maintaining customer loyalty. Retailers simply cannot afford to waste stock, whether that is food that spoils before it can be sold, or branded goods that are out of season or out of date before they reach the shelves. If consumers cannot see some of their favourite products on the shelves, there is a risk that they turn to their rivals, and that customer loyalty can be hard to win back.”
The need to keep products on their shelves, balanced with maintaining a profitable and efficient business, is a common challenge for retailers. This is where technology can give them a competitive edge, insulate them against the UK’s economic downturn and retain their customer base. Retailers have access to vast reams of data, including their own internal data such as past sales patterns and customer footfall, and external information such as public holidays and the weather.
Weiss adds: “When this data is combined with advanced AI technology, stock replenishment optimisation solutions can then accurately predict customer demand and automate stock level decisions, across thousands of product categories and hundreds of stores. By using the data at their disposal to optimise their stock levels, retailers can ensure that they are not left with stock that they cannot sell, a burden on their balance sheet, and that they can maximise the profitability of these products, helping their bottomline.”