Unified Price & Promotions
Unified pricing & promotions are essential for businesses that operate across multiple channels and need to ensure a consistent customer experience. Without a unified approach to price & promotions, businesses may struggle to maintain brand experience across channels or realize the full potential margin or sales. With the acceleration and proliferation of more digital touch points, coupled with in-person shopping, demands have increased to achieve a unified price & promotions strategy.
Order Management Systems have increased dramatically in the omnichannel world. Any unified price & promotion strategy should start by determining if the OMS can be used as a central authority, and to what extent. If the OMS can serve as the central authority of execution (calculation of price & promotion), then priority should be on selecting a price & promotion tool that integrates well with the OMS. Alternatively, other options below will need to be explored.
Planning & forecasting tools in the price & promotions space have improved drastically with the acceleration of advanced data science. These solutions can deliver upfront forecast & calendaring of activity to facilitate a direct output of executable events. This could greatly improve insights & planning along with an increase of margin & sales.
Omnichannel pricing & promotion solutions that offer both the management as well as the calculation engine provide the greatest coverage of capabilities and alignment to delivering on a unified approach. A unified price & promotion engine offers the goal of reducing data entry duplication, increasing data integrity, better consistency of outcomes, and greater efficiency in head office as well as in store.
Integration plays a critical role in the success of any price & promotion strategy. In the absence of a single price & promotion engine, integration must bridge the gap between disparate systems to create any semblance of consistency. Focus on designing the integrations and up-front business processes to align to an approach that brings alignment to price & promotions in down-stream systems. For example, don’t allow promotions of type X if they are not supported by sub-system Y & Z.
Machine learning is well positioned to analyze and make determinations based on historical or real-time price & promotion data. There are many products and partners that are focused on this specific capability that can unlock value in weeks, not months. ML is uniquely positioned and capable of consuming and acting deterministically off the vast explosion of data across the various channels of retail operations, whereas other approaches may take significant time, money, and resources to deliver equivalent outcomes.
Unified price & promotional capabilities can be aligned to three broad touch points: planning, management, and execution. These touch points are where business capabilities intersect with market product offerings in the form of deployable solutions. There are no providers on the market that provide all 3 of the touch points, 1 to 2 should be expected. As a result, it is important that retailers understand what their priorities are in each of these areas and align requirements to that business case.