Woolworths to pilot SAP promotions software

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Woolworths to pilot SAP promotions software

Beefs up multi-channel strategy.

Woolworths has revealed plans to trial SAP promotions management for retail 7.1 in its petrol business "in the near future".

The planned rollout represents the next phase of the retail giant's Galaxy transformation, which is in its third of five years.

The rollout is significant because it makes Woolworths one of - if not the - first companies worldwide to bed down the latest version of the promotions management software, which was announced in January this year.

SAP said the software makes promotions management "a precise science" and can be used to create multi-channel campaigns.

The vendor said that version 7.1 of the software has a forecasting engine that analyses point-of-sale data to determine what promotion would be most profitable "before a tactic is executed".

Promotions management is set for rollout in Woolworths' petrol, supermarket and liquor businesses.

"I understand a trial in petrol will commence in the near future but we are not in a position to discuss timings or rollout plans at this point," a Woolworths spokeswoman told iTnews.

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Woolworths executives spent a large portion of the company's investor day a fortnight ago talking up the retailer's multi-channel prospects.

Liquor group general manager Steven Greentree said he didn't think there was another business in the Woolworths group that was "as multi-channeled" as Liquor.

He said the liquor division used social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter, to garner consumer preferences faster than traditional market research could ever deliver.

Woolworths CEO Grant O'Brien said the company's "most obvious growth ambition is to be Australia's undisputed leader in multi-channel retailing".

"That means having the winning combination of bricks and mortar, with a versatile online platform, which delivers real, incremental growth," O'Brien said.

"The future demands that we provide the opportunity for customers to shop as they do today, but also shop online either from home or on their smart phones, and that they can literally tap and take, or have it delivered."

O'Brien produced sales figures for the 12 months to September 2011 that showed multi-channel customer spend was 70 percent higher than customers who only spent money in physical stores.

He made no secret that Woolworths wanted to build better relationships with customers and to become better at direct marketing - something that the planned rollout of SAP promotions management supports.

Woolworths recently appointed Penny Winn to head up its multichannel work.

The company said it is on time and on budget with the Galaxy IT transformation.

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