Promotions can make or break a retailer. They’re a powerful tool that can impact up to 84% of consumers’ buying decisions, but if not done right, they may hurt a business’s revenue more than they help. Regardless, one thing remains true: Companies need promotions to stay competitive, improve their brand image, and keep customers loyal. The right promotions can be a huge asset to sales and revenue, but retailers must overcome several challenges in making promotions in order to make them. Let’s explore the most common challenges regarding promotions and how to address them to make your next promotion truly powerful and profitable.
Not too long ago, promotions were relatively simple: Choose a product, lower the price, and make it known there is a sale. Today, promotions tend to be far more complicated than that. Several discounts or special offers need to be intelligently bundled, the right time needs to be chosen, and risks need to be taken regarding profit margin slashes that can seem daunting. Worse yet, when it comes down to individual transactions, a company’s sales infrastructure might not be able to support multiple, complex promo offers in one go, leaving customers flustered and sales unrealized.
Promotions typically need to be carried out fluidly across several channels (online, in-store, etc.). Everything from marketing to sales and service needs to be uniformly conducted across these multiple points of sale, and the data entry required to do so can be difficult. Manual management of cross-channel promotions can take time and be prone to error, especially if the retailer is not equipped with the right technology to support cross-channel or omnichannel promotional activities, which is often the case. This can limit a company in terms of its promotional strategy and inhibit the way in which they can reach their target audience.
Customer Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs are a powerful and proven method to keep customers coming back and maintain regular sales. It is perhaps one of the trendiest promotional strategies retailers are using right now, but that doesn’t make it easy to do. You could have a very creative, customer-oriented and forward-thinking loyalty program full of great offers, but how can you track its effectiveness? Is it really improving sales? How can you know whether it is hurting or helping your brand image? Without proper data on customer loyalty programs, retailers are in the dark regarding the success of their promotional strategy, often not knowing that they need to alter their course until the damage has already been done.
Overcoming Common Promotional Challenges
All three of these common promotion campaign difficulties have the same root issues: lack of proper technology and tools. Simply put, for a modern and effective promotional campaign, you need modern and effective solutions to manage them. Luckily for retailers, these solutions exist: trade promotion management and trade promotion optimization (specifically trade promotion optimization is useful in making an effective promotion strategy). Both solutions can be done via AI-powered price optimization software and other advanced pricing technology.
Trade Promotion Management (TPM) vs. Trade Promotion Optimization (TPO)
Both TPM and TPO can be conducted by the same professionals using similar technology. The key difference lies within their purpose and methodology. TPM revolves primarily around the execution of and monitoring of promotions. This involves identifying necessary resources to create and run a promotion and analyzing the results of the promotion through sales and operational data.
Alternatively, TPO is more immersed in the world of AI, using advanced algorithms and a plethora of historical data to process, analyze, predict and perfect future promotions. Essentially, instead of monitoring and focusing on a current promotion exclusively, TPO seeks to use past information to make current and future promotional events optimized and backed by hard science. Both TPM and TPO are effective methods for retailers to make their promotional strategies as foolproof as possible, turning otherwise complex obstacles into manageable steps within a process backed by data and technology.
Though promotions may be getting more complex and retailers face undeniable challenges when planning and executing them, TPM and TPO have come to their rescue in the form of advanced pricing software and AI. Thanks to TPM and TPO, retailers can rest easy knowing their promotional challenges can be easily overcome and that their strategies are well-thought-out, analyzed, and executed to ensure customer loyalty and satisfaction, and above all, profit and sales.