The results of a major survey of retail IT directors from around the world shows that many companies have been caught short when it comes to being able to maximise the benefit they get from running promotions.

Of all the applications that retailers run they are the least happy with their pricing and promotions systems.

This was one of the revelations in the Global Retail CIO Survey 2009 from Aldata and IBM. Conducted by Martec International, the research has found that retailers who have deployed these systems in the main are running in-house developed applications, and they are not up to scratch with what is on the market now.

Some 73 per cent of those interviewed are running promotions management systems, but far fewer have taken the next step with technology to assure they get the most business benefit from the promotions that they chose to run.

Promotions optimisation tops the list of applications that they would like to implement. Only 30 per cent are using it now, with 16 per cent planning to upgrade what they are running, and a further 30 per cent plan to implement a promotions optimisation system for the first time within the next three years.

While the planning helps you decide when to do a promotion, the optimisation part should be answering the more fundamental questions of what the promotion should be and where it will be profitable to offer it.

With pricing and promotions the top tactic that many retailers are currently employing for tackling falling sales, and trying to tempt shoppers to their stores, it is clear that this should be an area for investment.

It’s a shame that it has taken such a slide in the economy for them to realise that their promotions strategies up until now have not been up to scratch.