Metcash engages Complexica to bring the smarts

ALM using AI to improve promotional campaign success

Metcash has implemented Complexica's artificial intelligence (AI)-powered Promotional Campaign Manager (PCM) to bring a little more ‘smarts’ to its promotional and retailer profitability.

Phase one is complete, after the agreement was signed last year, within Metcash’s liquor division, Australian Liquor Marketers (ALM), which operates out of 15 distribution centres in Australia and New Zealand. In July, Complexica and ALM will kick off phase two of the project, which will introduce advanced prediction and optimisation capabilities into the deployed system.  

Complexica's PCM provides functionality for planning and analysing retail promotional campaigns, as well as predicting and optimising their effectiveness. Powered by Complexica’s Artificial Intelligence engine, Larry the Digital Analyst, PCM uses internal and external data to provide practical decision support for promotional activities.

General manager of merchandising at ALM, Joel Zamek, told CMO the project was born out of the need to improve its retail promotions offering.

“Within ALM is a component of the business called Independent Brands Australia, and we run all the promotional programs for about 1500 retailers. This was really about improving our offer and making some fact-based decisions,” he said. "We previously used gut feel and retailer input to make decisions around promotions, so it was about bringing some smarts into that space to improve our retailer profitability."

Prior to phase one, ALM was not using any technology of this task, rather, it was using spreadsheets, which was time consuming and error-prone. Phase one involved streamlining and removing spreadsheets to improve workflow. Phase two will involve integrating data feeds and implementation of the AI. The task has involved about six months of pre-work and PCM has been running for about six months.

As well as error rates going down significantly, Zamek said the team is involved in less labour-intensive work. In addition, promotions are easily trackable and managed in one piece of software.

"It’s streamlined everything and brought in great accountability to the teams,” Zamek said. “Next, we will be optimising promotional programs, engaging with states and retailers, taking feedback and manipulating programs from there. The AI will bring some fact-based and real time data to it so we can better predict. We have previously been guilty of spending a lot of time looking back in our business. We want to look forward."

Already, ALM has deployed seven people out of its team onto other projects, "a valuable resource now going into other parts of the business, with retailer dollar optimisation results", Zamek continued. “With any tech, we want it to enhance what we do, not replace people. This tool is going to free people up to make better decisions.”

Zamek was particularly appreciative of how Complexica made an effort to understand the ALM business and tailor the solution to suit. The next phase of work will allow ALM to build promotional programs using advanced prediction and optimisation algorithms, aimed at ensuring the best possible outcomes for retailers.

“We looked at various tools, but a lot didn’t have the ability to tailor into our business, but Complexica did," he explained. “In the next five years, it will become table stakes to use this kind of technology. If you’ re not setting up your business to operate in this way, you’ll be left behind. A lot of businesses in this highly competitive area don’t operate as technically as they could. We know, as more innovation enters the market, we’ll get left behind if we don’t keep up."

With annual revenues in excess of $3.4 billion, ALM is Australia’s largest broad-range liquor wholesaler, supplying over 12,000 liquor-licensed premises throughout Australia. ALM supports more than 2700 independently owned stores operating under the IBA banner group. Well-known IBA brands include Cellarbrations, the Bottle-O, IGA Liquor, Thirsty Camel and Porters Liquor.

Complexica aims to replace spreadsheets with a cloud-based system that provides multi-user access to centralised slotting boards, forward plans and dashboard analytics. It also offers predictive capabilities to forecast and measure the value of plans based on volume, revenue and margin; optimisation capabilities to produce optimised promotional plans based on a variety of constraints and objectives; and automate data loading, handling and manipulation. 

"PCM is used by ALM to centralise and automate a wide variety of complex analytical tasks associated with the process of building effective promotional campaigns for more than 2700 retail stores," said Complexica director of strategic accounts and customer success, Mike Costa.

 PCM interfaces with ALM’s internal systems, so that staff can build promotional campaigns and pricing on a product, product group, and region level. The deployment of phase two functionality will enable the business to create optimised plans and prioritise their promotional banner store activities."

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Taking performance cues from east Asian markets

As the ‘Asian century’ becomes ever more prevalent and the Fourth Industrial Revolution gathers speed, marketers are having to surf a tidal wave of creative destruction. The choice is stark: Embrace change, or resign yourself to a Darwinian fate.

Dr Chris Baumann

Associate professor, Macquarie University

Searching for social and marketing data

Many marketers, agencies - and everyone in between - get caught up on bubble references and data points. They’ll use Facebook best practice as the only best practice for Facebook executions and only consider metrics and responses of the one channel they’re expected to deliver on.

Isaac Lai

Connections strategy lead, VMLY&R Sydney

Why Australia needs more leaders

A few weeks ago, our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison took it upon himself to tell companies and their CEOs where to go when it came to societal issues. It wasn’t an organisation’s place to get involved. Instead, he said it should be left to governments to solve societies challenges.

Dan Banyard

Managing director, Edentify

Thanks for sharing! Terracotta Jewellery Online Shopping Ethnic Jewellery Online Shopping

Cotton Sarees Online

How data is driving the customers of a lifetime for BaubleBar

Read more

Informative blog. Xero is a well-known revolutionized accounting software, specifically developed to provide best User Experience and mak...

NavkarConsultancyServices

Xero evolves to fit a changing marketplace

Read more

>Writes article about how to show diversity in an authentic way>All featured opinions are from white women

Jennifer Metcalfe

Food for Thought: How can brands show diversity in an authentic way?

Read more

Excellent post, congratulations !!! - Prof Paulo Coelho | https://www.drpaulocoelho.c...

Prof Paulo Coelho

The B2C and B2B marketing transformation helping Invisalign win more smiles

Read more

Great article - but regarding "For a team to achieve their full potential, Edmonson also advises leaders balance psychological safety wi...

Sim

3 skills you need to drive better collaboration - Business leadership - CMO Australia

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in