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Comment: Why campaign management systems help retailers stay in the sales race by Sanjeev Kumar of The Delta Group

It’s no secret that competition on the high street is fierce and shows no signs of slowing. Retail brands are under pressure to find ways to attract customers in store and, more importantly, secure valuable sales. Price promotions continue to dominate the market – a battle that’s been particularly well-documented among the big six supermarkets as each tries to offer customers a better deal than their competitors.

This involves up to date on competitor activity, but the real challenge now comes in the form of responding to this at a moment’s notice. For instance, if one retailer hears that a competitor is running a promotion they need to be capable of reacting quickly so they don’t lose out. Price comparison is part and parcel of consumer behaviour today. If a customer looking for a Smart TV finds it on special offer by a particular retailer, they are likely to purchase from that company. Competitors will be eager to implement their own Smart TV promotion as quickly as possible to match it but, despite responding rapidly, the promotion still needs to be compliant, consistent, on-brand and valid.

Investing in a campaign management system is critical to enabling brands to achieve this and vital to helping retailer remain in the race. An instant reaction to competitors is necessary but traditionally promotions have taken much longer to land, particularly if the retailer has multiple sites. Campaign management systems can prevent this delay – and it all comes down to enabling in-store printing.

If a retailer finds a competitor running a particular promotion in the morning it needs to be capable of having a rival offer running by that afternoon at the latest, with the promotional material in-store to make customers aware of the offer.

Campaign management systems provide stores with the tools and infrastructure to do this. Details about each individual site are held centrally on the system; from the dimensions of the shop floor, currency requirements, information that needs to be included on the creative to meet specific standards and regulations, or the variety of languages that text needs to be written in.

Having this data available means that when new promotional material is required quickly, decision-making can be done at speed and remotely, which means the correct creative can be finalised and emailed to the shop easily. All that’s left for those in store is to print the material and put it in the correct place on the shop floor, following an implementation guide within the management system.

For brands, this provides the reassurance that promotions are compliant, meeting health and safety and legal benchmarks and that there is consistency across the store estate. For retailers with multiple outlets this is particularly important so consumers receive the same experience no matter which store they are in.  Beyond this, the campaign management system brings environmental benefits as it works out exactly how much paper is needed to print the display tickets for each store.

For retailers today, having the capability to respond quickly is vital if they are going to continue to attract and retain customers. Investing in a campaign management system enables this instant reaction but, more importantly, ensures promotions are on-brand, compliant, consistent and legal. With retailers now able to have rival promotions in-store within an hour, the competition within the retail sector is set to increase further.

Sanjeev Kumar is IT director of The Delta Group