*This article is based on our research and market feedback.
Regular sales promotions are an indispensable tool for stimulating sales and, therefore, an integral part of any retail business. Regardless of the reason for the promotional activity, whether it is the seasonal attraction of customers, a dead-stock sale, or participation in a supplier’s bonus program, the retailer expects sales growth, increased in-store traffic, and profit. The process always involves managers from different departments (e.g., sales, marketing, purchasing, etc.) and working with many different sources of data and navigating the conflicting needs of multiple departments necessarily turns regular sale promotions into a complicated task. If you further complicate it by adding a number of categories, SKUs, outlets, and their formats, as often is the case in large chains, the task of effectively conducting promotions becomes, to put it mildly, daunting.
According to research by Gartner, companies now spend more than 20% of their profits on promo support. That is why more and more companies are moving away from spreadsheets and manual control to automated technologies based on artificial intelligence. Not doing so risks errors and the cost of errors is relatively high.
What are the requirements for effective trade promotion management (TPM) software?
- Accurate forecasting which accounts for price changes, seasonality, weekday-related demand variation and other relevant factors. It allows retailers to optimize inventory levels and run promotional campaigns as efficiently as possible .Real-time KPI monitoring.
- In-depth analytics using historical data, tracking the current effectiveness of the trade promotion, and sorting out “bugs” after the promotion ends.
- Real-time KPI monitoring. The presence of informative dashboards greatly facilitates the assessment of the effectiveness of the ongoing campaign and makes it possible to respond to deviations quickly.
- The ability to build a holistic process of promotion management: from planning and preparation for promotions to high-quality implementation and the subsequent evaluation.
Based on the above requirements and users’ reviews, here is a list of the TOP 5 most popular trade promotion management software in 2023.
LEAFIO AI Trade Promotion Software
LEAFIO has been implementing cloud-based retail solutions for over a decade and accumulated experience in implementation and use while working with more than 160 companies worldwide.
The functional block LEAFIO Trade Promotion Software allows retailers to prepare for future promotions promptly, receive calculated promotional forecasts, adapt the stock to actual promotional sales, provide the chain with a minimum required stock, and analyze the promotion effectiveness.
LEAFIO’s trade promotion management system includes a number of practical, functional elements:
- A convenient promo calendar that visualizes all past, current, and future promotional activities makes it possible to track analytics on key promotion indicators quickly.
- The module for preparing the upcoming promos based on AI algorithms, which provides the most accurate forecast of promotional sales. It considers various demand factors, product categories, additional displays, demand cannibalization and halo effect, mechanics and advertising of the planned promotion, etc. The system also calculates the order dates for timely preparation for the launch of promotions in each store.
- Adequate promotional sales support that is ensured by the system’s algorithms that track actual sales and adjust target inventory levels as quickly as possible.
- The promotion completion function, which provides different strategies for regular promotions, closeouts, takeaway promotions, and soft-sell additional vendor places when the promotion ends.
- Effectiveness evaluation of the campaign carried out by daily and follow-up processing of the plan or fact of sales, turnover, overstock level, availability, and lost sales during the activity and after it is over.
LEAFIO’s TPM system offers the most comprehensive functionality, but the reason that it leads this list is its customer relations policy:
- LEAFIO continues to demonstrate a flexible approach in all stages of interaction: from the sales, implementation, and subsequent consultation on the product to setting up additional options fitting the needs of each business.
- To ensure an immediate economic effect for the client, LEAFIO’s project team is directly bound to the financial result arising from the implementation of the product.
- Conducting regular meetings with customers after the implementation period not only provides ongoing support and assistance in solving the customers’ current problems but also allows familiarization with quarterly updates.
- By purchasing this product, the retailer gains a long-term partnership and consulting services since the business model of acquiring a cloud solution with a monthly subscription determines the developer’s constant interest in making the product bring maximum economic benefit to the client.
The implementation period of this solution takes about 6 months. Unlike the “bulky and clumsy” systems built in previous decades, LEAFIO is incredibly flexible, which has been met with enthusiasm from users who have switched to this software from other similar solutions. Despite the brilliant process logic “under the hood,” the system interface is convenient and intuitive. The cloud solution LEAFIO Promotion Intelligence is suitable for retail businesses of any size and an unlimited number of users. The product’s price derives from the number of stores and the size of the assortment of the particular retailer. It is an excellent example of a great ratio of broad functionality for a reasonable price. That is what makes this software different from other similar solutions on the market.
RELEX Solutions is a distributor of cloud solutions for retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturing companies. The module for managing sales promotions allows one to carry out trade promotions with a high degree of product availability and the absence of excess stocks.
The AI-based system allows users to:
- predict the impact of trade promotions on both “brick-and-mortar” and online locations to ensure successful automatic replenishment;
- manage the entire process of planning and conducting trade promotions in one system using the same data: from product definition and advertising mechanics to forecasting, inventory management, and planograms;
- take into account all relevant factors influencing demand forecasts, including price, type of trade promotion, display in the store, marketing, expiration dates, as well as cannibalization and halo effects;
- track the promo’s effectiveness thanks to a high-quality built-in analytics system that makes a daily forecast of the fulfillment of the main indicators of the effectiveness of the trade promotion.
- set individual criteria for managing exceptions so automatic alerts can signal current deviations in implementing KPI plans.
In general, users respond positively to RELEX Solutions. They also note the ease of use of the interface and the ability to configure all the necessary analytics (capterra.com). At the same time, there are severe concerns about the inability to change the structure of the system’s calendar so that it follows the financial calendar used by the company, which often seriously inconveniences its users . The RELEX platform provides accurate forecasts for products with a year or more sales history. However, users note that forecasts for new products tend to be inaccurate. (trustradius.com) The system is designed for a number of users ranging from 2 to 1000+, which makes it suitable for both large and small companies. Although, it is also noted that the price, as well as a rather long and laborious training period, can be most affordable for larger corporations.
Symphony Retail AI promotion optimization
Symphony RetailAi has positioned itself as a company that has been implementing innovative solutions based on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and voice control technologies for more than 30 years. The company focuses on improving the efficiency of various operations in companies in the FMCG and CPG sectors. Symphony RetailAI solutions provide today's retailers with prescriptive information and guidance. Pre-packaged AI solutions leverage the predictive intelligence of CINDE and the power of the Eureka platform.
The product for planning and support of trade promotions from Symphony RetailAi performs several functions that are necessary to fulfill this task effectively:
- Planning and forecasting trade promotional activities using AI, which allows you to recommend promotion plans appropriate to the current situation and not just repeat or adjust last year's goals.
- Analysis of “what if” scenarios where the selection of decision parameters and process constraints allows managers to combine human intelligence with artificial intelligence to select the best possible actions.
- Improved collaboration mechanism between the retailer and suppliers. An integrated audit trail for plans, events, and trade promotions also provides extensive reporting by category and department.
- An integrated calendar-based approach improves visualization and decision-making, while critical but repetitive tasks are simplified with an automatic distribution engine that uses business rules to improve performance.
While the company is an established and experienced player in the retail business processes optimization market, it should be noted that their TPM product is the only on-site solution on this list. Despite the fact that its developers thought the software’s architecture through as well as possible, the limitation is bound to affect the flexibility and the adaptability of the system. Furthermore, after-sales customer support is rendered nearly impossible when using such a product. The lack of full or even limited customer support after implementation is a significant disadvantage in today’s dynamically developing environment, which is certainly not helped by the relatively high price of the product.
Anaplan trade promotion management software
Anaplan has branded itself as one of the leading providers of cloud-based software for business planning and achieving better results. Among the developer's tools is the trade promotion software that performs calculations and builds flexible models according to the changing needs of retailers or manufacturers. Anaplan offers collaborative planning at aggregate and detailed levels to optimize promotion management and planners can add promotions and campaigns and customize them.
The software’s features include:
- Promotion planning – clear alignment of costs for planning promotions and campaigns, taking into account demand signals, periods, and geography;
- Procurement data exchange between suppliers and external partners, which helps to find ways to optimize funds and speed up the planning process;
- Identification of ineffective promotions – tracking promotion costs, assessing the return on investment in promotions based on historical and actual data;
- Visualization of analytical data – generation of reports with zero latency and interactive demonstration of dynamics. Dashboards for KPIs, demand plans, and actual data;
- Creation and modification of master data in real time for customers, promotions, and products.
Ultimately, the tool provides data on the effectiveness of spending on promotions and sales to increase ROI. Users like the modern UX and responsiveness of Anaplan Trade Promotion Management software (Trustradius). They say that it is a good solution for planning promotions, promotional campaigns, and other similar activities in large chains. At the same time, customers tend to complain about the high cost of implementation and the lack of opportunities to test the tool (G2).
PROMOMASH is a comprehensive platform for organizing the management of CPG brand promotion processes in the retail sector. It is worth noting that it aims at this particular niche. The software makes it possible to plan, analyze, and optimize advertising campaigns, sales, marketing in general as well as at each point of sale separately.
PROMOMASH’s products include a software solution for optimizing trade promotion costs. Trade Promotion Management and Deduction Management allow you to detail trade expenses and profitability, which is the basis for further improvement of results.
Some of the available features of the system:
- Trade promotion management: planning and creation of promotions from start to finish using any available tactics;
- Detailed cost forecasting: reviewing the entire promotion program along with the marketing activities envisaged in it;
- Tracking actual results and budget as up-to-date data becomes available;
- Performing a final analysis based on all the received reports.
The program also offers a campaign builder: the ability to set up recurring promotion schemes based on known tactics. All promotions are organized in a single calendar.
Additional options include:
- Field marketing management: close control over every aspect of promotion, regardless of where the interaction with the customer takes place;
- Field sales management. the ability to strategically plan the level of attendance at outlets and track performance.
Customers appreciate PROMOMASH’S support and detailed reports that help them estimate the cost of product promotion (G2). Users say that the developers are responsive to their needs and adapt solutions flexibly. At the same time, there are concerns that the implementation of the platform's tools is unaffordable for local and other small brands (Capterra).
Experienced providers from different countries are widely represented in the trade promotion management software market. However, we believe that when choosing a system like that, it is crucial to focus on building a long-term relationship with the provider. The retail market is dynamic and you need to receive timely updates and expert advice in order to squeeze as much benefit from the solution as possible. When choosing between on-premise and cloud-based solutions, it is highly advisable to opt for the latter. Cloud-based solutions are much more flexible and can adapt to specific business without incurring additional costs. Therefore, our advice is to weigh the pros and cons of each solution carefully and focus on long-term support and adaptability so that you are able to navigate the market of today as well as the market of tomorrow.