Oracle plans to release three major retail software applications on Monday.

The applications all stem from acquisitions Oracle has made in recent years, transforming the enterprise software and database company into a major retail technology player.

Oracle Retail Merchandising Standard Edition is a simplified, lower-cost version of the company’s existing merchandising system from Retek. It offers a smaller set of core features, including inventory, pricing, location, replenishment and sales audit, plus a standard way to configure and integrate the software. Both versions of the software use the same code, so customers can upgrade from one to the other, said Dave Boyce, senior vice president of business development for the Oracle Retail Global Business Unit.

“If a retailer is willing to do it the standard way, it can reduce implementation time by up to 40 percent and cost by up to 40 percent,” said Boyce. In addition, the software can run on PC-based servers as well as more expensive systems, thus saving hardware costs.

A software license starts at $1 million, depending on configuration. A typical customer would have $250 million or more in sales.

Building on its acquisition of ProfitLogic, Oracle readied Retail Promotion Planning and Optimization. The new software, which was in beta testing with two users when Oracle acquired ProfitLogic, helps retailers get the best results from special promotions on key items rather than end-of-season markdowns.

The existing ProfitLogic software — used by such retailers as Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney and Gap — recommends prices based on remaining inventory and how many selling weeks are left in the season, said Boyce. The new software looks at ad budgets and other factors to predict the impact of a single special discounted item.

For example, if the marketing department chooses to feature a hot item such as a ski jacket from a premium brand, the software might predict sales will double on a 20 percent discount and spur additional sales on full-price hats and gloves.

The software helps retailers get a net positive on all promotions by taking into consideration cannibalization and halo effects, said Boyce.

Retail Returns Management, which had been in development when Oracle acquired 360Commerce, helps manage the returns process at the cash register so honest customers aren’t inconvenienced and criminals aren’t refunded for merchandise they never bought. The software is Java-based, so it can run on PCs or terminals, which is helpful for multichannel and multibrand retailers, said Boyce.

This story first appeared in the January 12, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Oracle declined to specify a price range for its software, which will be unveiled at the National Retail Federation conference in New York Monday.

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