Navigating Legal Demands in the Modern Retail Landscape

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This isn’t your grandfather’s retail business. The retail industry people knew and loved has completely changed. The brick-and-mortar shops of yesteryear have given way to more modern and convenient online alternatives, as retailers seek new ways to engage with customers and evolve their businesses alongside consumer preferences.

For retailers, multichannel retail—in-store, online, partner selling, and other options—is a boon to the bottom line and an ideal way to reach customers where they live and grow the business without having to necessarily invest in the trappings of an in-store only model. It’s efficient, cost-effective, and a requirement for today’s retailers in the eyes of consumers.

But for retailers’ legal teams, the proliferation of more sales channels is what nightmares are made of. More sales channels mean more risk, more opportunities for little things to slip through the cracks and become big things, and more documents to manage (usually by hand). PwC estimates that the average large retail business manages between 20,000 and 40,000 contracts per year, putting incredible strain on legal teams to cross every “t,” dot every “i,” and make sure the contracts are air-tight.

Yet, despite the obvious importance of contract management, many organizations still rely on the old way of managing them instead of exploring different approaches that could make their jobs–and their lives–better.

In fact, nearly one-quarter of all legal departments employ a contract playbook governing everything from contract request processes, tracking and managing terms, and measuring compliance. But more than half of them are paper versions stored in binders, leading to as much as 15% of all contracts getting lost in transit, terms and conditions not properly monitored, and noncompliance and performance violations of stated agreements–the very things legal teams aim to prevent.

Why you need contract management for your retail legal team

For retail legal teams seeking a more efficient, cost-effective, and frankly less maddening method for managing contracts, automated contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions are a godsend. Automated contract management solutions eliminate the labor-and time-intensive manual processes plaguing so many legal teams and streamline processes for creating, storing, and managing massive volumes of contracts.

With integrated workflows, alerts and notifications, and template-based terms and conditions clauses, retail organizations can shorten contract negotiation by up to 50% and overall contract cycles by as much as 60%. Add in electronic signature capabilities, and you can expect to further cut contract execution timelines from an average of nearly a month to five days or even less.

Not only do CLM solutions improve efficiency and productivity, but they also help legal teams increase visibility into all the company’s legal agreements, improve compliance to manage risk, and assert greater control over how, when, and by whom contracts are handled.
To learn more about how intelligent automation and CLM solutions can make your legal team more efficient and better protect your retail business from risk, download our latest ebook, “The Legal Team’s Business Case for Contract Management in Retail.

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