Holiday season planning has become incredibly more sophisticated over the years; variety in promotions compounded with multiple channels and ever-changing customer expectations. It is fascinating to see how supply chain and more so demand planning can become a differentiating factor in such a situation.


For many managers in retail, promotions are an addiction: they know they are bad for them, but it is simply too difficult to change. While some retailers have moved away from the old days of flash promotions in favour of an everyday Low Prices Strategy, it seems the vast majority cannot seem to kick the habit. Ultimately, when the pressure is on, retailers still return to their old ways.

 With more complex promotions to manage than ever before, what can retailers do to keep bargain-hungry customers happy while still ensuring the promotional activity adds value?

 When the concept of "Black Friday" or "Boxing Day sales" first landed in Canadian stores, retailers enjoyed a welcome boost in sales. The problem is that customers have now got a taste for promotions and are simply no longer willing to pay full price for anything. Given that the average consumer is unlikely to fork out for an item unless there is at least a 25 percent discount on offer, it's virtually impossible for retailers not to have some form of promotional activity in place. Ultimately, these promotional events are the monsters that retailers created; now, they must do whatever they can to tame these beasts and optimize their approach to promotions management!

 According to research, sales of promotional items now actually outnumber sales of items at full price. Given the importance of promotions coupled with the unavoidable disruption that comes as a consequence, local supply chain teams must manage promotional activity effectively.

Put: Ordering too much stock in advance of a promotion or inadequate replenishment during a promotion will tie up valuable working capital and could cause high levels of obsolesce at the end of the promotion. Equally, ordering at the wrong time or not ordering enough in the first place will result in lost sales opportunities and disappointed customers.

Slimstock Canada, along with Supply Chain Canada, had the pleasure to host a knowledge session on the topic Promotions Management to spread knowledge and share insights to manage the challenge of inventory management during the holiday season.


In our straightforward presentation to better promotions management, we explore how retailers can maximize the value of promotions while simultaneously protecting margins.