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Redefining the Retail Merchant Role when Planning Promotions

Redefining The Retail Merchant Role When Planning Promotions

A key player in the success of a promotion is the merchant. Without understanding the product, customer needs, and business objectives, the likelihood of a promotion positively impacting your retail business is slim. 


As data continues to evolve, stores continue to grow in size, and customers have more complex expectations, the role of the merchant within promotion planning will become increasingly difficult to manage.


Throughout this blog, learn more about how a Promotion Solution can redefine the merchant role.

Table of Contents

The typical role of a merchant

The role of a merchant is arguably one of the most important players for retailers. At its core, a merchant serves to deliver the retailer’s value to customers with the expectation to impact sales, margins, and brand loyalty.


3 characteristics of a merchant include:


  1. Great eye and experience within product categories
  2. Deep understanding of their customers 
  3. Exposure to organizational objectives and KPIs
The typical role of a merchant

Pain points a merchant experiences when planning promotions

When planning promotions, merchants often run into the same roadblocks that limit them from turning out effective promotions. 


Here are the most common (and important) pain points: 


  1. Manually entering data
  2. Ineffective communication with other departments
  3. Not using advanced technology to track and analyze promotion performance

1- Manually entering data


  • Merging the data is time-intensive. Merchants do not have the proper bandwidth to achieve this task in a timely manner. 
  • Promotional data is stored in disparate spreadsheets, which makes seeing a complete view of promotions unavailable to merchants and leadership. 
  • Spreadsheets are typically managed in different ways, making it difficult for leadership to compare promotions across categories.
Entering data

2- Ineffective communication with other departments

  • Not utilizing a system that supports collaborative planning. There are multiple groups involved (merchandising, marketing, supply chain) all of which use different sheets, ways of documenting, etc. 
  • Difficult to integrate category objectives into marketing plans (Campaigns & Events) 
  • Due to not having access to planned and historical promotional data, it becomes difficult to have effective vendor collaboration and negotiations 
  • Decision-making takes longer than anticipated, typically resulting in relying on past promotions
Ineffective communication with other departments

3- Not using advanced technology to track and analyze promotion performance

  • Unable to effectively visualize the impact of promotions and events 
  • Not utilizing forecasting or analytics in planning promotions. 
  • Basing promotions on a gut feeling or just a repeat of last year/season. 
  • Relying heavily on overall sales to determine the best promotion.
track and analyze promotion performance

Merchant role reimagined with a promotion solution

Though merchants have managed to stay afloat with current processes and systems, the future of technology, data, and customer expectations are going to force retailers to invest in solutions to keep up with the competition.

With a promotion solution, merchants can expect to have:


  1. A single platform for all promotional management
  2. Access to planned and historical promotional/events data 
  3. Accurate promotional forecasting 
  4. Improved collaboration and negotiation with marketing, supply chain, and vendors. 
  5. AI/ML capabilities that automate and take care of the data 

By investing in a promotion solution, the new role of the merchant will be solely focused on delivering the retailer’s purpose to consumers! (what it was ultimately intended for!) 

Less sifting through data, spreadsheets, and emails, and more time focusing on hitting KPIs. 

investing in a promotion solution benefits

Introducing Cognira’s AI Promotion Solution

We understand that a merchant’s role is vital for meeting promotion objectives, which is why we created a single solution that leverages data science and AI to effectively manage, collaborate, and analyze promotions throughout the entire end-to-end lifecycle. 

Learn more about our solution here: https://cognira.com/promotion-management-solution-for-retail/

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